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Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®

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By : Mr Credit Card

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa - Line of Credit with 3% Cash Back

The Upgrade Triple Cash Card is in my opinion a must have card for everyone. This is a very bold statement and to understand why, you first have to understand how this card works. The Upgrade Triple Cash Card works like a line of credit of a typical installment loan. When you use your Upgrade Triple Cash credit card, your payment plan will be based on a fixed maturity and interest rate. This card will come in handy when emergency expenses crop up and rather than dipping into your emergency funds, you can to pay it off over time but with a fixed maturity date if you choose to. As this card gives you 3% cash back on home, auto and health related expenses, this card will come extremely handy when for example when you basement floods and you need to replace carpets and get it dried, or when your car breaks down and you know you are going to get a hefty bill from the mechanic. Best of all, once you are approved, you are given a virtual card so you can use it as a credit card or transfer cash to your checking account immediately.

In this review, I will explain this card in detail and also highlight the application process. Unlike other credit card issuers, Upgrade may require that you provide and send over more information. Please read until the end to make sure you are familiar with the application process and know what to expect.

How Does Upgrade Triple Cash Work?

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa works more like an personal line of credit. To explain this clearly, let me first explain how a regular credit card works.

Let us use the following example. When you charge an amount (say $5,000) to a regular credit card, you will have a $5,000 balance at the end of the month. You can either pay it off, pay the minimum amount or anything in between. With the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards, it works slightly differently.

When you are approved for an Upgrade Card, you will be given a credit limit, a loan term and the APR (or interest rate). Let use an example to illustrate (and I'll use the same example from their website). For example, let's assume you are approved for a $5,000 credit limit with a 36 month term and a 19.99% APR. So if you charge $5,000 to your card, you have to pay $187.90 for 36 months. If you have a higher credit line and charge another amount, that amount will be calculated and you have have 36 months to pay off that amount as well. Each transaction that you make on the card will be treated like an individual installment loan to be paid off with a fixed scheduled loan payment. your monthly payment will be a summation of all monthly payments you owe on your different "draws" (the terms commonly used on lines of credit). You can also pay off your draw in full anytime without any prepayment fee through your online portal.

As such, Upgrade reports as an installment loan rather than a credit card in your credit report. They do not report report any credit utilization like a normal credit card.

But the most interesting thing about this card is that you can earn 3% cash back on Home, Auto and Health spending. No other traditional line of credit that we know of which you can get from banks offer such rewards.

Card Details

Cash Back Program 3% on Home, Auto and Health Related Expenses
1% on other regular expenses
Annual Fee $0*
Regular APR 14.99% to 29.99%
Credit Limits $500 - $25,000

Annual Fee - There is no annual fee for this credit card. This is significant because most line of credit requires an annual fee to maintain that line of credit. Upgrade card has no annual fee.

Regular APR - 14.99% to 29.99%

Maturity - 24-72 months.

Credit Limits - Most of you will be given a credit limit of between $500 and $25,000. A large part of this depends on your income. There will be a few of you that will be offered higher credit lines of up to $50,000.

Credit Report - Upgrades reports as a installment loan in your credit reports (which is different from a credit line). Hence, credit utilization is not reported and not a factor.

Cash Rewards Program

upgrade triple cash back program upgrade triple cash back program

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards allows you to earn cash back on your spending. You can earn 3% cash back on the following:

  • 3% on Home Related Purchases - As you can see in the screen shot above, this includes things like Hardware, Home supply, Landscaping Services, Heating, Plumbing, A/C. They also gave examples of merchants which includes Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Wayfair, IKEA etc.

  • 3% on Auto Related Purchases - You also get 3% cash back from auto related purchases like Automotive parts, Car dealers, Car washes, Tires, Towing Services. Merchant examples include Tractor Supply Co, Discount Tire, Firestone,, Mavis Tire.

  • 3% on Health Related Purchases - You also earn 3% cash back on health related purchases. These include Health and Beauty Spas, Gym membership, Exercise equipments. Examples of merchants in this category include Walgreens, CVS, Academy Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods,

  • 1% on all other regular purchases - You will earn 1% cash back on all other regular purchases

Comparing Upgrade With Other Line of Credit and Installment Loans

Because the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa works more like an installment loan and line of credit than a regular credit card, I am going to compare it with other installment loans or line of credit.

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards vs Traditional Lines of Credit

Like we mentioned earlier, whether you charge something to your Upgrade credit card or take out a personal line of credit and get the cash into your bank account, this card works exactly like a traditional line of credit in that you have to pay it back within a specified maturity and a fixed interest rate (just like a line of credit).

Upgrade is better in two ways. Though most line of credit will not charge an origination fee, you might have to pay an annual fee to "maintain that line of credit". With Upgrade, there is no annual fee at all.

The second way this card is better than a traditional line of credit is that you can earn 3% cash back if you spend on eligible home, auto and health related expenses. There is no traditional line of credit that allows that.

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards vs Upgrade Visa Card with Cash Back

Upgrade has another card officially called Upgrade Visa Card with Cash Back Rewards. It is the same as this card in every aspect except the cash rewards program. Whereas the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards is a bonus category cash back card which pays 3% cash back on home, auto and health related expenses, the original Upgrade Visa is a flat rate cash back credit card which gives you 1.5% cash back on all purchases made on the card. Which is a better fit for you depends on what type of expense you expect to spend on your card.

Pros: What We Like

  • 3% Cash Back on Bonus Category - While many credit cards have 3% cash back for various bonus categories, they are usually in the category of grocery, gas stations etc. Very rarely do you see a credit card having bonus categories in home, auto or health related expenses. And since this card works like a personal line of credit, the fact that Upgrades gives 3% cash back is to be applauded because no personal line of credit lets you earn "cash back" simply for using the line of credit.

  • No Annual Fee - While no annual fee credit cards are the norm, most line of credit requires an annual fee to keep the line open and available. So having no annual fee for the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa is great simply because this card is essentially a line of credit.

  • Virtual Card Upon Approval - Once you are approved, you are given a virtual card which you can use immediately. That means you can draw your line of credit and transfer funds to your checking account as soon as you are approved.

Cons: What We Do Not Like

  • Autopay to pay monthly installments by default - As you should know by now, the Upgrade card is actually a line of credit and any charges you make or draws to your checking account is treated like an installment loan to be paid over a fixed period. Hence, your autopay is defaulted to pay off all your monthly installment amounts. If you want to pay off the full balance, you could do so but you have to login into your account and manually pay off any balance from a specific charge on the card.

  • Might have to submit additional documents during application process - As we will highlight later on, some of you might have to submit additional documents when you apply (mainly due to proof of identity, address and income).

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa - Everyone should get it

I've said it in the beginning and I'll say it again here. The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card is a card everyone should have. And the reason is simple, it acts as an emergency personal line of credit that everyone of us will eventually need.

Most financial planners will tell you that you need at least 6 months of emergency cash to get you through should anything happen. But aside from having an emergency cash balance, you should have an emergency line of credit as well. That is because there are some unexpected expenses that crop up now and then that we want to stretch out payments on. While we can use a credit card for that, those who are not disciplined can allow the credit card debt to rack up. Having an emergency line of credit forces you to pay a fixed monthly payment for a certain period so you will eventually pay it off.

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa is a perfect card for such emergency uses. For example, if your basement floods and you need a new carpet and insurance does not cover you adequately, the Upgrade card is perfect for such expenses. You can stretch out your payments over time but there is a date where you will pay it off. Another example would be if your car breaks down the repairs are expensive, you can use the Upgrade card to pay for it and then pay it off over time. In both these examples, you earn 3% cash back.

One thing I would suggest is not to use this card for regular everyday expenses. For example, do not use this card to pay for a sandwich at 7/11 or even your gym membership even though you can earn 3% cash back. The reason is that when you charge your card, Upgrade does not make it easy to pay in full and these are items which you should pay in full for if you use your credit card.

To sum up, the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card is a card that everyone should have. This is not an "everyday spending" card, but rather a card you want to use in emergencies and you want to pay it off like an installment loan over a fixed period with a fixed monthly payment. Expenses like emergency home improvement work or auto repairs fit the bill nicely. Most of us face these type of expenses and for those that want to conserve their cash for these types of expenses, the Upgrade card will come in very handy and useful.

How to Apply For Upgrade Triple Cash?

Upgrade accepts applicants with credit scores between 620 and 720 though the sweet spot is 680 to 720. Your income should be at least $50,000 to apply. Though you could get a large credit limit, most will get a credit line somewhere between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on your income.

The application is a two step process. You first have to provide information like your name, address, income and also create an account via email and a password that you create. After you submit that information, you will be asked to give you Social Security Number. Then you have to SUBMIT the info one more time before you get your credit limit and other terms of your offer. This first step does not involve any hard inquiry (just a soft pull).

After you have got your credit limit, there are three possible outcomes. You might be asked to provide the following information to either verify your identity or to verify income. Some of you do not have to provide any further information and you will be approved very quickly. Those of you with higher credit scores and a clean credit report and are not self employed will probably get away with not having to submit any new information. Some of you might be asked to provide just one or a few of the following info:

  • Photo of Drivers License - front and back
  • pay stub
  • Utility bill
  • Bank Statement
  • 4506-T Form to authorize them to get tax returns from IRS

There are also some of you who might be pre-approved for a certain credit limit and you are allowed to use a portion of that limit immediately and the rest will become available once you have submitted documents that Upgrade has requested.

Note: Upgrade also has special instructions for how to fill in your income level if you are self-employed. You can find out from this link for self-employed applicants.

Below is a screen shot of their application form.

upgrade triple preapproval application page upgrade triple preapproval application page

expand text FAQS

Contact Information

For Payments

For Standard Mail:
Upgrade, Inc.
P.O. Box 52210
Phoenix, AZ 85072-2210

For Courier Deposits (FedEx, UPS, etc.):
Upgrade, Inc.
Attn: Batching Dept. lbx#452210
530 W Alameda Dr.
Suite 105
Tempe, AZ 85282


275 Battery Street, 23rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

Email Address