This rewards card from Upgrade pays you 2.2% back on all purchases

Why we like this card: The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa works like a credit card/loan hybrid that allows cardholders to pay off their debt in predictable monthly payments while offering an impressive flat cash back rate.


  • One of the highest flat cash back rate on the market
  • Welcome bonus
  • Fixed interest


  • No introductory APR
  • Limited cash back redemption options

Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®: Overview


  • Intro: N/A
  • Purchase: 14.99%—29.99% fixed
  • Balance transfer: N/A
  • Cash advance: N/A
  • Penalty: N/A

Annual fee: $0

Foreign transaction fee: up to 3%

Late payment fee: None

Balance transfer fee: up to 5%

Cash advance fee: up to 5%

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa isn’t your typical credit card. It works as a credit card/loan hybrid that also allows you to earn an unlimited 2.2% cash back on purchases, which is one of the highest flat rates available today. The card also comes with no annual fee, late payment fee, or penalty APR.

Typically, credit cards come with a revolving line of credit. Compounding interest is added to any unpaid balance at the end of the billing cycle. If you carry a balance month to month, interest is calculated on your total owed balance, which includes the interest you haven’t paid off.

However, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa works differently than most other credit cards. If you have an unpaid balance on the Upgrade card at the end of the billing cycle, it’s turned into an installment loan-like payment plan with a fixed interest rate and payment term of 24, 36 or 60 months. These fixed monthly payments can help you avoid accumulating interest while you take time to pay down what you owe. You’ll still have a predetermined credit limit like a traditional credit card, but Upgrade will set your payment installment plan terms and APR according to factors such as your credit score and history.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa: Rewards

The rewards structure for the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa is fairly straightforward: All purchases accrue unlimited 2.2% cash back. However, you earn this cash back when you pay off your purchases, not when you first make them. 

New customers can also earn a $200 bonus by opening a Rewards Checking Plus account and making three debit card transactions within 60 days.

How to redeem Upgrade Cash rewards

Cash back that you’ve accrued is generally applied to your balance after your next scheduled monthly payment. If you don’t have a balance, you can choose to have cash back applied as a deposit into your bank account on file instead. 

Is the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa right for you?

If you anticipate needing to borrow a large amount of money—up to $25,000—the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa may be a good alternative to a personal loan.

Credit cards similar to the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa

If you’re looking for a lucrative flat-rate cash back card, there are other options to consider before making a decision.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card vs. Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card is similar to the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa in that it offers a flat cash back rate. It’s slightly less at 2%, but still above average for similar cards on the market. The Active Cash card also comes with no annual fee. You can also earn a $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first three months after opening an account.

Citi® Double Cash Card vs. Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa

The Citi® Double Cash Card also offers a flat cash back rate of 2%—1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay, on every purchase. It also offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (after that, the variable APR will be 19.24%–29.24%, based on your creditworthiness). The Citi® Double Cash Card does not charge an annual fee.

Frequently asked questions

What is the credit limit for the Upgrade Unlimited Cash Rewards Visa?

Upgrade offers a personal line of credit with a limit of $500 to $25,000, which you can access with a Visa card. 

What are the disadvantages of the Upgrade card?

The main disadvantage of the Upgrade card is that monthly payments are fixed, so you don’t have the option to pay a smaller amount in certain months when cash flow is tighter.

Does upgrade do a hard pull?

Yes, if you submit an application for an Upgrade card or loan, they will perform a hard credit inquiry. This could have a temporary and minimal negative impact on your credit score.

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

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