Credit cards are one of the most effective tools for helping you not only use accessible credit, as opposed to loans which tend to be much harder to apply for and to get, but they can also help you build credit. There is a range of different types of credit cards: unsecured, partially secured, and secured credit cards.
Choosing the right credit card is all about your needs, how you intend to use it, and what you want to use it for. If you have a good credit score and you want the best interest, an unsecured credit card might be the best option for you. If you have a poor credit score and you want to start building it, unsecured credit cards allow you to do that by providing a security deposit instead of relying on your credit score. Still, there is a variety of cards fitting each type, and researching the market can help you find the best fit for you.
Surge is a hybrid credit card, which means that it offers secured, partially secured, and unsecured credit cards to customers depending on their credit history and scores. Here, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of the cards, how to make the best use of them, and whether you should consider applying in the first place.
About The Surge Credit Card
The Surge Credit Card comes from Continental Finance. If you have heard of them before, it’s probably not for good reasons. The Verve, Cerulean, and Matrix cards were also by them and they have had a mixed reception, at best, from their customers.
As mentioned, the Surge Credit Card is a hybrid credit card. It offers different cards depending on your credit. Its secured credit card is the most readily available options for those who have a poor credit score. If you want to build your credit, you make a security deposit of around $500 to $700, which can be increased to $2,000 after 90 days of use without late payments. Unlike other secured credit cards, however, the Surge Credit Card offers no interest on your deposit. When you get your deposit back, it is exactly the amount you gave them in the first place. There Is no rewards scheme currently in place with the Surge Credit Card, but this may change with time so it’s important to check their terms for the latest details.
The spending limits for the card match your security deposit and differ for the secured cards. What’s more, Surge reports your credit use to all three major credit bureaus, which can help you build a good credit history so long as you are able to fulfill the contract and make all payments on time.
Related: Primor Credit Card Review
The important details
Here are some of the key details, including rates and fees, of the Surge Credit Card:
- Credit limit: $500 – $2,000
- APR: A variable rate of 29.99%
- APR for cash advances: 29.99%
- Transaction fee: 5%
- Annual fee: $125 for the first year after receiving the card, and $96 for all following years
- Monthly service fee: $10 per month, totaling at $120 for the year, waived for the first 12 months
- Additional card fee: $30
- Foreign transaction fee: 3%
- Late fee: Up to $38 for each offense
The pros of the Surge Credit Card
All credit cards have their pros and cons, and the Surge Credit Card is no exception. When choosing a card, you want to make sure that the pros apply to how you’re most likely to use it, so let’s start with those.
- Easy access to credit applicable to most people, even those with very bad credit ratings. An effective solution for those who have trouble applying for other credit cards.
- Reports card use to all three major credit bureaus, meaning it can be an effective tool for rebuilding your credit or starting your credit history from scratch. This depends, of course, on your ability to pay the fees, maintain your balance, and use the card responsibly.
- A quick and easy online application process. Because the Surge is a hybrid credit card, it is very likely to end in a successful application regardless of your current credit standing, so there is no risk of receiving a bad entry on your credit report.
- The free online account access is open 24/7 and makes it convenient and accessible to see your balance, next payment date, and other important details.
- You won’t be charged more on cash advances, unlike some other cards, which match the APR of 29.99%. Still a relatively high APR, however.
The cons of the Surge Credit Card
Continental Finance have received a bad from their past credit cards, which were widely considered sub-par. Can the same be said of the Surge Credit Card? Let’s take a look at the cons to find out:
- The APR is very high, even for a sub-prime and secured card. 39.99% is much higher than the industry average which tends to be between 10% and 20%. If you want to use this card to improve your credit, it’s wise to not have a standing balance at the end of every month.
- The fees are just as badly positioned compared to competitors. For instance, the annual fee starts at $125 and evens out at $96 for all years following the first year. Other secured cards in the same market offer fees of around $35 on average.
- Other fees, including one-time card fees, monthly service fees, and transaction fees can quickly add up. By the time you get your deposit back on an unsecured card, you may have spent a significant sum of it already. The high rates and fees could lead some of the most vulnerable customers into credit card debt if they are not careful with how they use this card.
- Even if you apply successfully and make a deposit for a secured credit, it can take up to 10 days for you to receive your card. This can make customers uneasy, as they may feel like they have made the payment without anything to show for it and other providers tend to be quicker.
- If you’re looking for an unsecured account, it’s worth noting that you may not potentially be given one by Surge. It is only potentially an unsecured account and you may be required to make a security deposit, which can be a nasty surprise for some users.
- A low credit limit with slow limit increases means that it can offer enough credit to cover small financial emergencies, but not much more beyond.
- Unlike its competitors, the Surge Credit Card offers no rewards, either free or earned. There’s no cash back, no points, no miles, or any other rewards system that we know of.
- The first annual fee of $125 is immediately billed to you. This means that if you’re on a secured card requiring a deposit of $500, you will be required to cough up $625 immediately. For those who have recently escaped credit card debt and are looking to rebuild their score, this could be much more than they could afford.
Tips for the using the Surge Credit Card
To make sure that you are getting the best credit card for you, you need to ensure that you’re able to use it effectively. The Surge credit card can help you build your credit score, but here are a few tips when using it.
- Avoid having a balance on the card. The incredibly high APRs can quickly have you paying much more. If you need to use it, then make sure you have the balance entirely cleared by the end of the month.
- Avoid making any cash transfers on this card if you want to stay clear of the APR.
- Be prepared for the fees, and the possibility that you might not get the offer the unsecured card that you applied for, but instead be told the minimum deposit necessary to receive a secured card, instead.
Before signing onto any credit card, ensure that you’re able to use it responsibly.
Related: Open Sky Credit Card Review
The bottom line
The Surge Credit Card does offer those with a poor credit score the opportunity to rebuild and move onto better credit cards. What’s more, all their fees and terms are laid out very clearly on the site and both the application and approval process are quick and easy. Checking your card status online is particularly convenient too.
Unfortunately, even by sub-prime credit card standards, the rates and fees are incredibly high. If you do end up using the Surge Credit Card, it’s very much advised that you avoid carrying a high balance on the card, as the high APR can quickly prove to be more expensive than the card is worth. What’s more, there are no rewards, so there is literally no incentive to use the card regularly. Keep a low balance and ensure that it’s cleared by the end of the month.
There are better secured cards available, but if you need an unsecured card and Surge is the only option available to you, it is still a useful tool for building your credit until you can move on to better and brighter options.