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Surge® Platinum MasterCard® Credit Card: [Up to $2,000 Credit Limit After 6 Months]
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card
Last Update : Jul/17/2015

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required


At A Glance

The Surge Mastercard from Continental Finance (and issued by Celtic Bank) is one of the few credit cards that will double your initial credit limit after you make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time. The starting credit limit will either be $300, $500, $750 and $1,000. So your credit limit will double to from $600 to $2,000 after 6 months. Aside from the credit limit increase, Surge has modern features like giving you a free Vantage 3.0 from Experian and mobile app. This card will appeal to rebuilders who want an unsecured credit card with a track record and clear path to a credit limit increase.


Card Details

Annual Fee $75 to $99
Monthly Fee None for first year, then $0 to $10 a month
APR 25.99% to 29.99%
Late Fee Up to $38
Cash Advance APR 29.99%


Annual Fee - During the first year, the annual fee will range between $75 and $99. From the second year onwards, the annual fee will be $99.

Monthly Maintenance Fee - During the first year, Surge credit card will not charge any monthly fee. From the second year onwards, there will be a monthly fee between $0 to $10 a month. So you might not get charged a monthly fee at all. This is a change from their previous terms where they charge a fixed monthly fee of $10 a month. This is welcome news for applicants.

APR - The APR ranges from 24.99% to 29.99%.

Starting Credit Limit - The starting credit limit ranges between $300 to $1,000. You may be offered a starting credit limit of $300, 500, $750 or $1,000.

Double Your Credit Line After Six Months - Your credit limit will double after six months if you pay your first six bill payments on time. That means a starting limit of between $300 - $1,000 will double to between $600 and $2,000.

Cash Advance APR and Fees - The cash advance APR is 24.99% to 29.99%. The cash advance fee is the greater of 5% of the cash advance or $5. There are a couple of rules that you should be aware of. Firstly, NO cash advance is allowed within the first 95 days.

Foreign Transaction Fee - You will get one between 0% to 3%. So you might actually get a version with no foreign transaction fee.

Free Vantage 3.0 Score from Experian - Card members will get access to a free Vantage 3.0 score from Experian if they sign up for e-statements.


Implications of Range of Fees and Rates

As the Surge credit card has a range of fees, it means that if you are on the "upper end of the credit spectrum", are are likely to get a card offer with better terms. For example, if your credit score are in the mid 600 range and your income is good, you could be offered a card with just has an annual fee, no monthly fees, $1,000 starting credit limit and no foreign transaction fee. And if you pay your minimum payment for the first 6 months on time, it will double to $2,000.

If however, your credit score is in the "lower end of the bad credit spectrum" (say around 525 credit score), you are more likely to have to pay both an annual fee and monthly fee and your starting credit limit is likely to be only $300.

Here are some possible terms that you may be offered:

  • Starting credit limit of $1,000, a $99 annual fee and a 25.9% APR.
  • $700 starting credit limit, a $99 annual fee and no monthly fee with a 25.9% APR.
  • $500 starting credit limit, a $99 annual fee and a monthly fee of $10 a month from the second year onwards, and a 29.9% APR.
  • $300 starting credit limit, a $75 annual fee for the first year followed by a $99 annual fee from the second year onwards. There is also a $10 monthly fee from the second year onwards. The APR is 29.99%.


Competition

Card Annual Fee Upfront Fee Monthly Fee APR Starting Limit
Surge Mastercard $75 - $95 1st Year
Then $99
N.A. $0 - 10/month 24.99% - 29.99% $300 - $1,000
Fit Mastercard $75 $89 $0 1st Year
Then $6.25/month
29.99% $400
Reflex Mastercard 75 - $95 1st Year
Then $99
N.A. $0 - 10/month 24.99% - 29.99% $300 - $1,000
Merrick Bank $0 to $72 N.A. N.A. 19.45% - 28.45% $500-$1,350
Mission Lane Visa $59 N.A. N.A. 29.99% $300-$1,000
Revvi Visa $75 1st Year
Then $48
$89 $0 1st Year
Then $6.25/month
34.99% $300
First Access Visa $75 1st Year
Then $48
$95 $0 1st Year
Then $6.25/month
34.99% $300
First Digital Mastercard $75 1st Year
Then $48
$95 N.A. 19.49% to 35.99% $300
Total Visa $75 1st Year
Then $48
$89 $0 1st Year
Then $6.25/month
34.99% $300


Surge Mastercard is one of the unique credit cards that guarantee that your credit limit will double just after 6 months of paying the minimum payment on time. So we'll compare this card with other which offer the same feature.

Compared with other Continental Finance credit cards

Continental Finance has two credit cards that will double your credit limit after 6 months of paying your minimum payments on time. The two cards are the Reflex Mastercard and the Fit Mastercard. I am going to focus on Reflex Mastercard because it has similar fees and rates as the Surge Mastercard (see table above).

Compared to other cards that double your limit

Aside from Continental Finance credit cards, there are a couple of cards that will increase your credit limits after paying on time for a number of months. One such card is the Merrick Bank Double Your Line Visa. The starting limit ranges from $550 to $1,300 (slightly different from Surge - $300 to $1,000). After paying the minimum payment on time for the first 7 months, your credit limit will double to between $1,100 to $2,700. The 7 month on-time payment requirement is a month longer than Surge credit card 6 month requirement. Merrick Bank's annual fee of $0-$72 is lower than the Surge credit card and they also do not charge any monthly fee. However, you need a credit score of at least 620 to have a chance of approval so if your scores are lower than that, the Surge Mastercard is probably a better bet.

The other card that increases credit limit after 6 months is the Mission Lane Visa. Their starting credit limit is quite similar to the Surge credit card ($300 to $1,000). After 6 months of on-time payments, Mission Lane will increase your credit limit. Though it does not explicitly say your credit limit will be doubled, many cardholders have reported a doubling of credit limits. The annual fee of $59 is lower than the Surge credit card and they also do not charge any monthly fee. However, Mission Lane is very strict on an applicant's total debt. If you have no mortgage, your total debt cannot exceed $20,000 and if you have a mortgage, your total debt cannot exceed $80,000. If you cannot meet these total debt criteria, the Surge Mastercard is probably a better bet.

Compared to other credit cards for bad credit

Many credit cards targeting those with bad credit charge an annual fee, monthly fee after the second year and also a one-time application or processing fee. These include cards like Revvi Visa, First Digital Mastercard, Total Visa, First Access Visa (see table above). Surge is better than these cards in that it does not charge any one-time application or processing fee. Furthermore, Surge will double your credit limit after paying the first 6 minimum payments on-time. All these other credit cards simply do not have this feature. I would pick the Surge credit card over these cards.


Pros

  • High Credit Limit - The Surge credit card is one of the few credit cards for bad credit that will give you a starting credit limit of up to $1,000. Recall that you can get either $300, $500, $750 or $1,000 in starting credit limit.

  • Double Your Credit Limit after 6 Months - Surge is also one of the few credit cards that will double your initial credit limit after you pay the first 6 minimum payments on time.

  • Free Vantage Score - Not many credit cards in the bad credit space offer free credit scores. But Surge credit card offers you a free Vantage 3.0 score from Experian if you sign up for e-statements.

  • Reports to all three credit bureaus - Surge Mastercard reports to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

  • Mobile App - While most mainstream credit cards have a mobile app, very few subprime credit cards have one. Surge is one of the few that has a mobile app.


Cons

  • May charge monthly fee from second year - The Surge credit card charges a monthly fee from the second year onwards ranging from $0 to $10 a month. So while you may not have to pay a monthly fee, there is also a chance you will have to.


Our Take: Double Your Credit Limit After 6 Months

The Surge Mastercard is one of the rare credit cards for bad credit that not only has a generous starting credit limit (up to $1,000), but also doubles your credit limit after you pay the first 6 minimum payments on time. Aside from Continental Finance other card (the Reflex Mastercard) and a couple of others, no other credit cards offers a fixed path to doubling your credit limit so soon after you get the card.

The Surge credit card also has modern features you would expect in a mainstream credit card like mobile app and free credit scores. Though there are a couple of credit cards that might have lower fees than Surge, they have stricter approval criteria that only some folks might be able to meet.

After evaluating and reviewing this card, I would give this a 4 star out of 5 for its high starting credit limit, the doubling of the initial starting limit after 6 months, a track record of further credit limit increases, modern features and the ability to get pre-approved with just a soft pull first before you apply. If you have bad credit and are looking for a credit card with a track record of credit limit increases, then the Surge Mastercard is definitely a card to consider.


How to apply?

Below is a screenshot of the Surge Mastercard pre-qualification page. You will have to fill in the usual information about yourself, name, address, email, phone number, SSN and income etc. It will also ask you if you intend to use this card for cash advance. I suggest you say no for this. The basic terms are also listed on the page and you should just go through them. After you press "see my offers", you will know if you have been pre-approved and if so what terms you will be offered. If you are happy with the terms, you should proceed to apply.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Do I have to pay in full or just the minimum payment the first 6 months to get the credit limit increase?

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Do I have to pay in full or just the minimum payment the first 6 months to get the credit limit increase?

You just have to pay the minimum payment on time for the first 6 payments to get your initial credit limit to double. Having said that, we recommend paying your bills in full.

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Can I apply with a co-applicant or as a joint account?

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Can I apply with a co-applicant or as a joint account?

No, you cannot. You can however add an authorized user.

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How long does it take Surge Mastercard to approve my application?

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How long does it take Surge Mastercard to approve my application?

In most cases, the decision is instant. In cases where they need more information, it might take up to 30 days.

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When will I receive my new Surge credit card?

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When will I receive my new Surge credit card?

Your Reflex credit card will be mailed within 3 business days once you are approved.
[Label]How do I get my free credit score?

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How do I activate my Surge credit card?

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How do I activate my Surge credit card?

You can activate it over the phone with the number provided on the sticker on your new card. At this moment, you cannot activate it online. You have 30 days to activate the card.

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Can I get a cash advance with a Surge credit card?

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Can I get a cash advance with a Surge credit card?

Yes you can get a cash advance from an ATM. You can get your cash advance PIN by calling 866-449-4514.

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What is the minimum payment each month for the Surge card?

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What is the minimum payment each month for the Surge card?

The minimum payment is 2% of your outstanding balance, which includes accrued interest and any other fees charged.


Customer Service Information

Phone

Automated Account Information

1-866-449-4514
(Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week)

Customer Service

1-866-449-4514
(Customer Care Specialists are available 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat/EASTERN TIMES)

Payments

1-800-518-6142
(7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat/EASTERN TIMES)

Lost/Stolen Card

1-800-556-5678

Mail

Inquiries Reflex Card
P.O. Box 3220
Buffalo, NY 14240-3220

Payments on Account

Reflex Card
P.O. Box 6812
Carol Stream, IL 60197-6812