Upgrade Card
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By : Mr Credit Card

What Is So Unique About the Upgrade Card?

The Upgrade Card is probably the most unique card because it is both a Visa credit card and a personal line of credit. You can either use it at any store where Visa is accepted and/or you can also drawn down a line of credit to your bank account. No other credit financial instrument in the market has such a dual purpose product. The Visa Credit Card is issued by Sutton Bank while the personal line of credit is issued by Cross River Bank. We will now explain how this works but first, let's list it's basic terms and conditions.
 

Card Details

Annual Fee $0
Monthly Maintenance Fee N.A.
Regular APR 6.99% to 29.99%*V
Payback Period 12, 24 36 or 48 Months
Late Fee $0
Return Payment Fee $0
Balance Transfer Fee $0
Cash Advance Fee $0

 

How Does It Work

As we have just mentioned, the Upgrade Card is both a credit card and a personal line of credit. When you apply for the card, Upgrade says there will only be an intial soft pull and not a hard inquiry on your credit reports. Once you are approved, a hard pull will be performed and based on that, you will be given an interest rate and a payment period. The interest rate will apply to both credit card balances and any draws from your personal line of credit. The payment period will also apply to both credit card balances and any draws from your line of credit. You will also be given a line of credit (which is for both your personal line of credit and credit card).

How is Upgrade Card Different From Regular Credit Cards?

While the Upgrade personal line of credit operates the same way as regular line of credit, the credit card is different from regular credit cards in some significant ways.

Firstly, on a regular credit card, you can either choose to pay the minimum payment on your balance or pay in full every month. For the Upgrade Card, your interest and principal payment will be based on your repayment period. If you repayment is 24 months, it will be different from someone else who has a 36 month repayment period.

Upgrade argues that for those who carry a balance, having a fixed repayment period is better than having the flexibility to just pay the minimum period because you will save on interest payments if you have a set time to pay off your credit card balance.

Reports As Installment Loan - One very important thing to note is that though upgrade is both a credit card and a personal line of credit, it is reported as an installment loan in your credit report and not as a credit card. You can understand why this is the case because the repayment plan for your credit card balances works exactly like an installment loan.
 

Real Example of How It Works

Let us assume that you apply for the card and you get approved for $10,000 line of credit, your interest rate is 10% and your payment period is 2 years.

Let's assume that in the first month, you decided to draw $1,000 from your personal line of credit. The $1,000 will be deposited in your bank account and you are free to use it as you see fit. This $1,000 that you drew down needs to be paid in 2 years. In your next billing statement, you will see a bill for the interest/amortization payment. And that amount will continue for 2 years until the $1,000 is paid off.

Let's assume in the 2nd month that you decided to draw another $1,000 from your personal line of credit. The $1,000 will once again be deposited into your bank account. Once, this tranche of the $1,000 draw down will have to be paid in 2 years. In your second billing statement, you will be billed interest/amortization on both tranches that you drew down.

Now let's assume that in the third month you decided to start using the Upgrade Card as a regular credit card. You charge $100 in a grocery store. Like the two pervious examples of draw downs from the personal line of credit, this $100 will have to be paid over 2 years. Your next billing statement will consist of interest/amortization payments from the two $1,000 draw and the $100 credit card charge.
 

What if you want to pay down your principal?

Your billing statement will show all the interest and principal payments you have to pay for the month. It is a all your interest and principal payments for the various draws and credit balances (all based of 2 years of payment period) are added up and combined in your billing statement. The question many of you will ask if what if you want to pay off more principal? Or what if you want to pay off your credit card balance in full but just pay the interest and principal on the personal line of credit draw as per the payment schedule? Well, if you want to pre-pay the principal, you actually have to call Upgrade's customer service and tell them which tranche of your personal line of credit or credit card balance you want to apply the principal payment to. There is no penalty for pre-payment.

It is very important to know this, especially for those of you who are used to paying your credit card balance full and use autopay, because this card is really different from regular credit cards.
 

Competition

When I review credit cards, I normally have a table listing the key features of the card I am reviewing along with it's competitors. However, because the Upgrades card as a credit card is so different from a regular credit card that I have decided not to do that. If you have been reading this far, you could know by now that if you carry a balance on Upgrade, then you have to pay it off within your payment period (which is part of your terms and conditions when you apply). If you want to pay in full on your credit card balance portion, you do have to call customer service and indicate which balance you want to pay off. This is actually inconvenient especially for those of you who pay in full.

As far a the personal line of credit goes, it functions just like any other one. The one good thing about Upgrade is that there is no annual fee. In contrast, many personal line of credit charge you a small annual fee for the service.
 

Pros and Cons

pros

  • No Annual Fee - For a card that will approve folks in the 620 score range, having no annual fee is quite a rarity. Furthermore, most personal line of credit requires an annual fee as well.


  • Fixed Payoff Period For Credit Card Balances Forces Discipline - One of the unique features of this card is that when you are approved, you are given a period ranging from 12, 24, 36 or 60 months which is the payment period for both your credit card balances and draw downs for your personal line of credit. For those who actually carry a balance on their credit card, this repayment period forces you to pay off your balance within that period and prevents you from accumlating more debt from interest if you just pay your monthly minimum like in a typical credit card.

  • Both a Credit Card and Personal Line of Credit - This card is unique because it is both a credit card and a personal line of credit.

  • No Hard Pull When Applying - Only Soft Pull - Upgrade only does a soft pull when you apply. Your rate, payment period terms and credit limit will be based on that soft pull (as I was told). They do ask for 2 years of income history and may require that you send your W2s over.

  • Chance of having a decent credit line and limit - Depending on your credit score and profile, you could get up to $50,000 in credit line.

  • Potentially Low Interest Rate - Once again, depending on your credit profile, you could get an interest rate in the single digits (which is very rare now on most credit cards).

Cons

  • Have to Pay off Credit Card Balance In a Fixed Period - Unlike regular credit cards, you have to pay off your balance within a fixed period. While (as I mentioned above) this forces one to be disciplined and pay off their balance within a certain period, it is also not as flexible as a regular credit card where you can pay off just the minimum payment when you want.

  • Have to Call Customer Service if you want to Pre-pay Principal Amount - Whether it is a credit card balance or a drawdown for you line of credit, your billing statement will provide you with the amount you to pay each month so that you will pay off your balances within your repayment period. If you want to pay extra to pay down the principal, then you have to actually call customer service and tell which which part of your balance do you want to apply the principal payments to. For those who like to pay in full when they run up a credit card balance, this is very inconvenient.

  • Cannot Be Used at ATMs - Unlike regular credit cards, this one does not allow you to withdraw cash from your ATM. In fact, we do not recommend that you withdraw cash using a credit card from an ATM because you will be charged a cash advanced fee and you will also be charged interest immediately based on the cash advance rate.

Our Take

The Upgrade Credit Card is a truly unique credit card/personal line of credit two-in-one combo. There is no other credit card or personal line of credit that is quite like this. The card functions both as a regular Visa credit card and a personal line of credit. You can use either one or both features.

The second unique feature of this card is that like a typical loan, there is a fixed period which you have to pay off either your credit card charges or line of credit if you draw down (your payoff period is set after you have gotten approved). This will appeal to folks who want to carry a balance on their credit card debt and yet want some financial discipline imposed on themselves so that they can pay it off rather than perpetually just paying off the minimum payment.

Another aspect that I really about this card is that you can apply for this card/line of credit even if you do not have great scores. I was told by customer rep that ,u>you need about a 620 thereabouts. You may not get the best rates or the largest line of credit. If you have excellent credit, then you might get a very good rate and a sizable line of credit (up to $50,000),

This card will appeal to folks who plan to carry a balance on their credit cards and also those who need a personal line of credit in case of any emergency. If this description fits you, then you should seriously consider this credit card because there is no other card on the market that offers a financial instrument that is both a credit card and a personal line of credit. Those who pay off their credit card balances in full will not find this card appealing because you have to call customer service every month to pay in full and you are also better off getting a card with rewards if you are the pay in full type of cardholder.
 
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