Surge Mastercard®

3.4 out of 5

The Surge credit card is designed for people with poor or damaged credit. It’s one of the rare unsecured credit cards that offer relatively easy approval for people with impaired credit. The fees that come with the card are high, but they are lower than those of some other unsecured credit cards for bad credit.

3 out of 5
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All credit types welcome to apply

Credit limit increase is as little as six months

See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact on your credit score

Mastercard Zero Fraud Liability Protection


High APR

Annual fee of $75 for the first year, and $99 after that ($300 credit limit)

The Surge Mastercard® is an unsecured credit card designed for people with bad credit. Qualification is relatively easy and there is no deposit required. You get a credit card that you can use anywhere where Mastercard® is accepted, with all of the convenience of any other credit card.

As with most unsecured cards for bad credit, you also get very high fees and a very high interest rate. You will have to decide whether the convenience of a credit card outweighs the high cost. Many users will be better off with a no-fee or low-fee credit card.

The Surge Mastercard® can help you build credit if you manage your card well. It can also help you damage your credit if you don’t manage it well.

What Makes Surge Mastercard® Different?

The Surge Mastercard® is an unsecured card that allows people with poor credit to obtain a credit card without having to make a deposit.

The card can help people with bad credit to obtain new credit and rebuild their credit profile. The card reports to all three major credit bureaus.

The initial credit limit ranges from $300 up to $1,000 which is slightly higher than other similar credit cards. You may be able to get a credit limit increase to up to $2,000 after as little as 6 months.

The Surge Mastercard® Credit Card has a lower APR than most other credit cards for bad credit, but it still carries high annual and monthly fees. The good news is that you don’t have to pay the monthly fee for the first 12 months after you open your account. This makes Surge Mastercard® Credit Card one of the cheaper options available for individuals with bad credit, for the first year at least.

Along with reporting to all 3 of your credit bureaus, you will get free access to your VantageScore 3.0 as well as an immediate credit limit increase after making several on-time payments.

About the issuer

Surge Mastercard® is issued by Celtic Bank, a company that specializes in providing access to credit products and services to consumers who are largely overlooked by traditional credit card issuers and local banks. 

Celtic Bank was founded in 2001 and is a leading nationwide small business lender.

Celtic is headquartered in Utah and is a privately owned industrial bank. They are also an SBA Preferred Lender and were named the largest SBA Lender in the nation.

Surge Mastercard® Features

These are some of the basic features of the Surge Mastercard®:

  • Card Type: Unsecured
  • Credit score needed: Poor/Bad credit
  • Initial credit limit: $300-$1,000 (depending on your creditworthiness)
  • Credit limit increase after just 6 months
  • Credit reporting: Reports payment information to all three credit bureaus
  • See if you’re pre-qualified without affecting your credit score
  • Easy to qualify (all credit types accepted)
  • No credit check to apply
  • Mastercard Zero Fraud Liability
  • Manage your account 24/7 with online access

These features make the Surge Mastercard® a useful unsecured credit card for people with impaired credit.

Vantage Score Access With Surge Mastercard®

Another valuable feature of the Surge Mastercard® is that you get access to your VantageScore 3.0. All you need to do is accept electronic statements when signing up for the card and your score will be on your monthly statements. 

This is a neat perk since you’ll be able to see exactly how making on-time payments impacts your credit score each month. The VantageScore 3.0 may differ from the FICO score used by most lenders, but it will give you a basis for tracking your credit.

Surge Mastercard® Rates and Fees

Here’s the breakdown of all the fees and interest charges that come with the Surge credit card: 

  • Interest rate: 29.99% variable APR
  • Cash advance interest rate: 29.99% variable APR
  • Minimum interest charge: None
  • Annual fee: $75 for the first year, and after that $99/year for a $300 credit limit, $125/year for a $500-$1000 credit limit
  • Monthly fee: None for the first year (introductory). After that, $0-$120.00 annually ($10 per month).
  • Additional card fee: $30 (optional)
  • Premium card fee: $9.95 (optional)
  • Rewards: None
  • Cash advance fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Foreign transaction fee: 0-3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Late payment fee: Up to $41
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $41

Keep in mind that the annual fee for the first year will be deducted from your initial credit limit. This means that if you get approved for an initial credit limit of $300 and your annual fee is $99, your initial available credit will be $201.

This also means that your credit utilization ratio, an important component in calculation your credit score, may be high from the moment you get your card. If you can’t pay the fee off immediately you could see your credit score take a hit.

Surge Mastercard® Pros & Cons

All credit types welcome to apply$75 (first year), $99-$125 Annual Fee
No monthly fee for 12 months 29.99% (variable) APR
See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact on your credit score
Up to $1,000, which can double in 6 months
Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian
Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
Fast and easy application process
Mastercard Zero Fraud Liability Protection

Surge Mastercard® Alternatives

The Surge unsecured credit card is a solid option for people who have bad credit or no credit and prefer an unsecured credit card.

There are other options available for getting a credit card. There are other ways to establish your credit from scratch, improve your credit score, or rebuild damaged credit. You can even build credit without using a credit card.

You can use these methods as alternatives to the Surge card or alongside it as part of a broader credit-building strategy.

Secured Credit Cards

A secured credit card is one of the best ways for a person with poor or no credit to get a credit card and start building a credit record. The secret to these cards is that you pay a deposit to secure your credit line. The amount of the deposit becomes your credit limit.

Because these cards involve little or no risk to the issuer, it’s easy to qualify and the fees are typically much lower than they are for unsecured cards for bad credit. Some have no fees at all.

If you are looking to start building your credit or need to rebuild your credit, a secured credit card is one of the best tools to use on your journey.

Best Secured Credit Cards

Paying a deposit seems like a burden, but in many cases the fees you will pay for an unsecured card for bad credit will exceed a deposit within a year or two. The deposit is also refundable, and fees are not.

For most people with bad credit a low-fee secured card is the best credit card option.

Unsecured Credit Cards for Poor Credit

Unscredit credit cards do not require a deposit. Unsecured cards for people with bad credit typically come with very high fees and interest rates. Card options for people with poor credit are typically much narrower than those in the good or fair categories, but you can still find a variety of choices. Some may meet your needs as well as or better than the Surge card.

Find the credit cards most likely to accept you with flawed credit. Help repair your poor credit score and compare the best credit cards for bad credit.

Best Credit Cards For Bad Credit

Credit Building Tools

There are many different ways to improve your credit score, other than getting a new credit card. Here are some of our favorites:

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Experian BOOST™ can help you build your credit record with phone and utility payments… and it’s absolutely free!.

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Self online credit builder loans are straightforward to apply for and the application process is easy.

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Steps To Take After You’re Approved

The real work starts once you have been approved for your Surge Mastercard® Credit Card.

Pay Your Balance In Full Every Month

Like most unsecured cards for bad credit, the Surge Mastercard carries a relatively high interest rate. If you pay your balance in full by the end of each statement period, that won’t matter, because you won’t pay interest, unless you use cash advances.

If you carry a balance over to the next statement period the balance will accumulate interest, and it will stack up very quickly. Paying your balance in full every month is one of the keys to keeping a credit card affordable.

Never make just the minimum payment, tempting though it may seem. That is the fastest way to get caught in the credit card debt trap.

Make On Time Payments

Paying on time sounds like a simple thing to do, but we all live in the real world where things almost never go as planned. It’s not always easy.

Even though it’s not easy, it’s extremely important. Late payments trigger late fees, which can be substantial and can add to your financial problems. They may also trigger penalty interest rates.

Late payments will also do serious damage to your credit score. Payment history is the single most important component of your credit score, and even one late payment can knock your score back substantially.

No matter what, avoid late payments.

Keep Credit Utilization Low

Another factor to consider is credit utilization. This is the percentage of your balance that you actually use. Your balance should never be more than 30% of your credit limit, and under 10% is better.

This can be complicated if your credit limit is low. If your credit limit is $1000, you will want to keep your balance under $300, and under $100 would be better. If your limit is $500, you’ll want to keep your balance under $150, or better yet under $75.

This can be hard to do, but if building credit is a priority keeping a low balance is essential. This is one place where the relatively easy limit increases of the Surge card can help you. A higher limit means lower credit utilization, as long as you keep your spending under control.

👉 Here’s a proven way to build credit with a credit card. Put a small recurring expense on your card, like a Netflix subscription or you internet bill. Set up a pull from your checking account to cover the payment, and put the card away. The balance will stay low, the card will stay active, and all payments will be made on time.

This works best with a no-fee card. Using a card with high fees can be a very expensive way to build credit!

Monitor Your Credit

One of the most overlooked areas of building credit is monitoring your credit. This is truly your first line of defense when trying to build or rebuild your credit.

You should try to find a service that allows you to monitor all 3 of your reports.

With Surge Mastercard you can get your VantageScore 3.0 on your monthly statements. But if you would like to have access to your score more often than once per month it might be worth looking elsewhere.

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How To Cancel Your Surge Credit Card

Cancel By Phone:  You can call 1-866-449-4514 to cancel your Surge Card at any time.

Is There A Fee For Closing My Account?

Outside of the fees associated with your remaining balance, there is no fee for closing your account. 

Normally it’s a good idea to keep credit card accounts active as long as possible to build the length of your credit history. The fees on this card are high enough to make that an unattractive option. If you build your credit to the point where you qualify for a lower-fee card closing your account will probably be the best move.

Taking Action On Your Credit

A credit card can be very useful and is an excellent way to build credit if you manage it properly. If you aren’t sure if you have the discipline to handle a credit card you may be better off with other options.

If you do decide on a credit card, you’ll need to select the one that best fits your needs. We’d suggest considering a low-fee or no-fee secured card first, because we don’t like fees. If you do decide on an unsecured card, the Surge Mastercard is a solid option for you to consider.

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