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Surge Mastercard Review: For Those Who Need to Rebuild Their Credit

If you need access to credit, having a poor credit score can feel like a hopeless situation. And while it will certainly take some time, diligence, and patience to repair your credit score, it is possible to emerge out the other side. In the meantime, you’ll want to find a credit card designed for individuals with poor credit. If you’ve been denied card after card, the Surge Mastercard may be your answer.

Whereas most credit cards for those with poor credit are secured credit cards, the Surge Mastercard is like any other standard credit card on the market. Once you get approved for the card, you’ll gain access to an initial credit limit ranging from $300 to $1,000. Over time, you can double your credit limit, so long as you demonstrate good credit habits that increase your credit score.

Let’s analyze the Surge Mastercard and compare it to a few secured credit cards on the market, to help you find the right product for you.

Overview of the Surge Mastercard

Individuals with poor credit often won’t qualify for standard credit cards, as the bank sees a financial risk in offering up a credit line. As a result, these consumers may choose to instead apply for a secured credit card, which is unlike a standard credit card.

Secured cards require applicants to put down an initial deposit, which determines how much available credit they can access. For instance, putting a $500 deposit to open your account gives you a $500 credit limit. If you keep your account in good standing, this deposit is fully refundable once you close your card.

The Surge Mastercard is unique as it’s still a traditional credit card and therefore doesn’t require a security deposit. Yet, it offers approval for those with poor credit.

However, there are still considerable fees, which we’ve noted in the next section.

  • Best for – Consumers who want access to credit but have less-than-ideal credit scores.
  • Sign-up bonus – None.
  • Rewards – None.
  • Foreign transaction fee – 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Cash advance fee – Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Annual fee – $125 in the first year, then $95 each following year.

Surge Mastercard Pros & Cons


  • Traditional credit card with easy approval — The Surge Mastercard doesn’t require a deposit like a secured credit card and is accessible for those looking to repair their credit.
  • Incentives for good credit card habits — You’ll get an initial credit limit of $300 to $1,000, which can then double after six on-time minimum monthly payments.
  • Repair your credit over time — You can check your free monthly credit score on your e-statement to see how it’s improving after each payment period.


  • Costly annual fee — The Surge Mastercard charges a $125 annual fee in the initial year of account opening, then $95 for subsequent years.
  • Pesky fees to be wary of — The potential monthly maintenance fee, purchase and cash advance APR, and foreign transaction fees can certainly add up over time.
  • Limited cardholder benefits — This card does not offer rewards or other perks found on other cards.

In-Depth Analysis of the Surge Mastercard


The Surge Mastercard is intended for consumers whose primary goal is to build up their credit score. As a result, this card does not offer any cash back rewards.


The annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases is quite high compared to other cards on the market. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you’re committed to making on-time payments, in full, to avoid this hefty APR.

Note that your payment due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing cycle, and you’ll avoid interest charges if you’re able to pay off your entire account balance before it’s due.

The Surge Mastercard does not allow for balance transfers (moving your balance from one credit card to another account). If your primary goal is to reduce debt on existing credit cards, check out our list of the best balance transfer credit cards instead.

Credit limit

When you first open your account, you’ll gain access to a credit limit of $300 to $1,000. After six monthly minimum payments on time, your initial credit limit will double, up to $2,000.

Having access to more credit will help lower your credit utilization ratio and also raise your credit score.

Annual fee

The annual fee is $125 the first year and $95 each following year.

This can be quite pricey, especially considering that many secured credit cards come with $0 annual fees. However, the main draw of the Surge Mastercard is that you don’t have to put an initial deposit down — which will inevitably cost you at least a few hundred dollars upfront.

Other fees

The Surge Mastercard comes with other fees that you’ll want to make note of:

  • Foreign transaction fee – 3% of every transaction made in a different currency than U.S. dollars.
  • Potential monthly maintenance fee – Up to $10 per month (or $120 annually), depending on the cardholder.
  • Cash advance fee – Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Cash advance APR – See terms.
  • Late payment – Up to $39.
  • Returned payment – Up to $39.

These fees can certainly add up, so you’ll want to avoid using your card internationally, missing a payment, or taking out a cash advance on this card. The bank may charge a maintenance fee after it assesses your credit portfolio, but you’ll be notified of any ancillary charges to your account.

Other benefits

While there are no “traditional” rewards-earning opportunities on the Surge Mastercard, there are other benefits for cardholders:

  • Zero fraud liability to protect you against unauthorized charges made on your Surge credit card.
  • Ability to check your free monthly credit score when you enroll in e-statements, to see how it increases over time, plus monthly reporting to all three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax).

Surge Mastercard vs. the Competition

Unlike most credit cards for those with poor credit, the Surge Mastercard doesn’t require an upfront security deposit. However, it does carry an annual fee — something that two of its main competitors, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® and the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, don’t.

Here’s how else the competition stacks up:

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Security deposit: Must put down between $200 to $2,500.

While the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is also designed for individuals with bad credit, it requires an initial security deposit to open your account. You’ll need to put down between $200 and $2,500, which may not be realistic for some consumers.

However, the benefits of the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is that there’s no annual fee and a lower APR. This card also allows you to conduct balance transfers if needed — but you’ll be charged the current APR for transfers completed within two months from the account opening, as well as a balance transfer fee.

If you’re looking for transparent pricing and can afford to put down a few hundred (or a few thousand) dollars as your security deposit, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® may be the better option for you. However, if you like the automatic credit limit increase opportunity and the fact that it’s not a secured credit card, opt for the Surge Mastercard.

Card info has been independently collected by MoneyUnder30 to help consumers better compare cards. The financial institution did not provide or approve card details.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Security deposit: $49, $99, or $200 minimum deposit.

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is a considerable option since cardholders only need to put down a deposit of $49 to $200. No matter the initial amount, you’ll automatically be offered an initial credit line of $200.

A huge benefit of the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is that you can raise this initial credit line in two ways. First, you can deposit more than the minimum amount, up to a maximum limit of $1,000. This may be a more affordable option for consumers who can’t afford to put hundreds of dollars down from the get-go.

Finally, this card also incentivizes on-time payments. You could earn your deposit back with great credit habits and be upgraded to an unsecured (standard) Platinum card — also with no annual fee.

Should You Get the Surge Mastercard?

The Surge Mastercard is one of the most accessible credit cards on the market. It’s designed for those who need credit to build up their score and payment history. By practicing responsible credit habits after six months, you’ll automatically double your credit limit.

However, if you currently carry credit card debt, the Surge Mastercard likely won’t be the best option since you can’t conduct any balance transfers. Instead, look for a balance transfer credit card that offers a 0% intro APR offer, which you can then utilize to minimize interest charges and work toward paying off your statement.

The downside of the Surge Mastercard is that there are many potential fees to pay. But the upside is that it’s a standard credit card and does not require a security deposit to open your account, so you’ll have to weigh the cost of the fees to this benefit.

How Do You Apply for the Surge Mastercard?

If you’re ready to apply for the Surge Mastercard, you’ll need to provide basic information such as your full name, social security number, date of birth, and a physical address.

For most applicants, you should receive an instant decision that will provide information on your initial credit limit. You’ll get your new Surge Mastercard in the mail within three business days, and there will be information on the back of your card to activate your card.

If you do not get approved instantly, it may take up to 30 days to provide a final decision.


The Surge Mastercard isn’t meant as a long-term solution, but it offers applicants the chance to have easy access to credit. And unlike a secured credit card, you don’t need to put down a security deposit to apply.

Still, the ongoing fees on the card are hefty, and the perks are quite limited. Therefore, you’ll want to be diligent about making on-time payments and switching to a no-annual-fee card after building up sufficient credit history.

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