Surge Credit Card Review

We’ve all been there – maybe you made some bad decisions early in your credit career, or just couldn’t handle the responsibility of unsecured credit. As a result, you ended up with bad credit. Luckily, there are secured credit cards like the Surge Credit Card to help you out, and get your credit back to where it used to be.

The Surge Credit Card, like most secured cards, are essentially high-interest, high-fee credit cards that are nonetheless offered to people with subpar credit so they can beef up their score after a rough patch. This comes from Continental Finance, the company that also provides the Verve, Cerulean and Matrix Cards, making this their entry into the world of subprime cards.

The barrier to entry for this card is low – with few exceptions, you can get approved for the Surge card within ten minutes – and, given time and good spending, you can show you can be trusted with a card again. In this respect, the Surge Card can be used in the right circumstances as a lifeline for those with poor credit.

As a secured card, the Surge Credit Card is fairly unremarkable, but for a high credit limit for a card of this type that might give those with poor credit a little wiggle room right out of the gate. However, that’s also coupled with an unforgiving APR and a large annual fee that will cut into whatever good faith payments you’re trying to make.

The Surge Credit Card is meant to be nothing more than a temporary step in one’s journey to restore their credit. It may have some robust features for that purpose alone, but in almost any other circumstance there are better cards to choose from.

Our Overall Rating

As secured credit cards go, the Surge Credit Card isn’t too bad. It allows basically anyone with a checking account to get it, giving you an easy way to gain a new credit card and build up your credit as needed. Just be sure to pay off your balances on time, and you can establish a history of good credit that will allow you access to better cards.

That being said, it is simply not feasible to get this card unless it is your absolute last option. It’s a subprime credit card, which means it charges an exorbitant near-30% interest rate for purchases – it’s good for building credit, but terrible if you already have it. Along with the huge annual fee and the subsequent monthly maintenance fees, all that lost money can add up.

Between that, the low initial credit limit, and no chance for rewards, it’s best to stay away from this unless you need it. Use it in the way it was intended: spend on it, pay your balances off on time, and keep checking in with your credit score until you can upgrade to a mid-tier unsecured credit card. After that, drop this card like a bad habit.

Where it Wins

Allows you to rebuild your credit. The Surge Mastercard is essentially built for one single purpose – to help people with poor credit have an easily accessible way to bring it back up to speed. In that respect, it works; the Surge Credit Card lets you sign up in seconds, as long as you have a checking account to link to it, and lets you use and pay it off like a regular card.

Offers a competitive credit limit for subprime credit cards. Most of the time, subprime credit cards like these won’t give you much to spend beyond what you put down in the form of a security deposit. However, the Surge card (with exceptions) also provides up to $500 in credit, allowing you to pay for expenses as needed.

Surge Credit Card Rewards & Benefits

Rebuild your credit. Like we said, the main gimmick behind the Surge Credit Card is that it lets people with poor credit get the chance to use a credit card responsibly and bring their score back up. As a transitional card, it’s a really smart move – you can access it more easily than other cards with stricter requirements, then improve your standing with careful use.

Initial credit limit of $500 (depending on the individual). Unlike most secured credit cards, the Surge Credit Card also allows you a whopping $500 credit limit on top of whatever you pay into it. This is especially helpful if you run into spending emergencies while building your credit back up – just make sure to pay it off to keep that upward trajectory.

Monthly reports to all three major credit bureaus. This is important for credit building, as it will allow you to benefit from responsible spending and payments quickly. Just keep paying off your balances on time, and you’ll see your numbers go up month by month.

Surge Credit Card Costs & Fees

3% foreign transaction fee. You may not use the Surge Credit Card for a lot of international travel; otherwise, you would likely select one or more of the high-end travel rewards cards on the market. However, if you do use this, you will have to reckon with the 3% foreign transaction fee – it’s a common rate among most credit cards, but still something to keep in mind.

$96 annual fee. The Surge card’s treatment of annual fees is rather interesting – for the first year, you pay a one-time annual fee of $125. After that, once your second year starts, you pay a $96 annual fee, which is still pretty substantial, and can really cut into your savings.

$120 annual maintenance fee. In addition to the revised annual fee, the second year also sees you paying an additional $10 a month in maintenance fees, leading up to an extra $120 per year. This is quite a lot to ask for, especially for people with little credit who comprise the Surge card’s primary audience.

29.99% variable APR. Simply put, this is a sky-high interest rate; it’s really rare to get an APR any higher than this. However, that’s the name of the game with subprime credit cards like Surge – they get to charge you really high interest rates in exchange for the opportunity to have a credit card at all.

Who is this card best for?

Like most secured credit cards, the Surge Credit Card is best for those cardholders who have bad credit, and are looking to build it back up. With virtually unlimited approval, the Surge is the card you go to if you need to get your credit back and must resort to building it back piece by piece.

However, if your credit is good enough that you can get unsecured credit cards, there could be some better options out there. The huge APR and unforgiving annual fees aren’t worth the trouble, and you’ll likely be able to get better deals with virtually any other credit card out there. Simply put, the Surge Credit Card is ideal for those who have nowhere else to turn for their credit needs.

How to Apply

Applying for Surge is deceptively easy – just head to Surge’s application portal and fill out the form provided. The information is fairly straightforward; just your name, address, phone numbers, the amount of time you’ve spent at your current residence, and more.

Also, you’ll need to let them know whether you have an active checking account, and give some information to them about that account. It’s a relatively painless application process, and will take you less than ten minutes to complete. From there, they call you to verify the number you’ve provided, and you’re all set.  

Surge Credit Card Alternatives

Capital One Secured Mastercard. While this is also a secured card, Capital One’s equivalent offers no annual fee, and a slightly lower APR of 24.99%. Also, as a prepaid card, it will allow you only to charge what you put in. However, if your credit’s bad enough, you might not qualify for this one.

Discover it Secured Card. Even with bad credit, it’s a good idea to get a credit card that will give you some rewards. The Discover it Secured Card combines no annual fee with cash back on every purchase, which is a nice way to pay you back further for continuing to build your credit. There’s no annual fee for this one, either.

Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card. As secured credit cards go, this one has a fairly competitive APR – 20.49% – plus all the credit history and security deposit-based credit line features you can expect of a credit-building card. Furthermore, its $25 annual fee is cheap compared to the fortune you’d pay in keeping the Surge card around.