July 11, 2023

Merchant Services

Surge Credit Card Essentials

Merchant Services

The Surge credit card from Mastercard is one of many credit-building cards on the market. It is designed to be accessible to those with poor or damaged credit. It is essential to understand its strengths and weaknesses and how it stacks up to other cards in the market. 

Where Can I Get a Surge Credit Card?

Celtic Bank and Continental Finance work together to make the Mastercard Surge credit card accessible to users. One of the huge appeals of the card is that it does not require a security deposit. This makes the card a more accessible option for those that do not have readily available funds. 

Strengths of a Surge Credit Card

Automatic Credit Reporting

The Surge credit card presents a great opportunity to build a credit score. All payments on the card are automatically reported to the three main credit bureaus TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. It is important to note that many other cards tailored toward those with bad credit also offer this feature to users

Option to Increase Credit Limit

The initial credit limit for the Surge credit card is $300 to $1000. However, users can see this doubled after six months of on-time payments.

Very Accessible 

The card is designed to be available to those with poor credit scores and allows them to build up their credit scores. It will enable these users to access cards in the future with better terms and lower fees. Once prequalified, the application process to get a Surge credit card is very fast. 

There is no need for a security deposit with a Surge credit card. While it is not a secured credit card like some other credit building cards, it does save users some costs in the short term by not requiring a deposit. Most secured cards require a minimum deposit of $200. 

Weaknesses of a Surge Credit Card


The fees for a Surge credit card are pretty expensive. Annual fees start at least $75 and range to as high as $125. Additionally, monthly maintenance fees can add up to $120 annually in extra fees. If a user misses a payment, they must pay up to $41 in late payment fees. 

The APRs that come with a Surge credit card are among the highest in the market for credit-building cards. They are equal to many penalty APRs from various other cards. This is the trade-off for needing a security deposit, as users face very high APRs and fees

With the limit being as low as $300, these fees can easily take a third of the user's credit limit and dramatically reduce the card's usefulness. The scope of these fees can make it challenging to keep a Surge credit card in the long run, as the fees can begin to outweigh the benefits of this Mastercard. 

No Option for a Better Card

Even if a user shows that they can be relied upon to make payments on time, there is no clear option for them to upgrade to a better card. They can either continue using the Surge credit card and deal with the high fees or close the account. The issue with closing the account is that this can hurt the credit score the user spent so long building up. 

Checking Account Required

While there is no need for a security deposit, users must have their own checking account to use a Surge credit card. This can be an additional barrier to users not using traditional financial services. 

No Rewards 

While users can easily access credit with a Surge credit card, there are no additional rewards for the purchases they make with the card. Users who want rewards with their purchases must find a different option. 

Surge Credit Card and its Alternatives

Indigo Mastercard

This offers many of the same benefits and shortcomings of the Surge Credit Card. Indigo's annual fees are based on a user's creditworthiness, so there is an option for users to decrease their fees over time. It also is a deposit-free card that allows users to quickly and easily sign up. Indigo also includes a monthly credit reporting feature, but the fees are quite steep as with a Surge Mastercard

Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa

This card, unlike Surge, does come with some rewards. For the first $5,000 of eligible purchases on things like groceries and gas, users get 5% cash back. Every other purchase made with this card earns 1% cash back. The Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa comes with the other perks of the Surge Credit Card, like automatic credit reporting. It does come with high fees like Surge. 

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

This is a secured card option, unlike the Surge credit Card. It requires an initial deposit of between $49 and $200, making it less accessible to some potential users. The APRs for Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card are high, like the Surge Mastercard. But because of the deposit, users do not have to pay annual fees. This makes the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card less costly to use when compared to alternatives like the Surge Mastercard. 

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card

This option requires a much large security deposit ranging from $200 to $3000. But this has some important benefits. The annual fees are much lower at just $35, and the APRs are much lower than with the Surge credit card. Additionally, users can access much higher credit limits due to the larger deposit. The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card does have much higher upfront costs but is a solid option for those that need a higher credit limit. 

Final Thoughts

Credit building cards such as the Surge credit card typically do not have ideal terms or fees. This is because they are primarily geared towards those with poor credit. But these cards, like the Surge credit card, are essential for those with poor credit to build up their credit scores. This will make it much easier for these people to be eligible for more sustainable and favorable credit cards in the future.