The Surge Mastercard, issued by Celtic Bank and serviced by Continental Finance, is designed to help people with bad credit or no credit at all start building their credit.
An unsecured starter card
Celtic Bank considers individuals with less-than-stellar credit. Besides, it does report payment history to all three main consumer credit bureaus. However, the point where the Surge Mastercard really stands out is that it claims to offer a way for you to get your hands on an unsecured credit card with a $500 credit limit.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the bank will approve you for the unsecured version of the Surge Mastercard. Depending on your creditworthiness, it may offer you a secured card instead. The thing is: without the guarantee of an unsecured card, the Surge Mastercard loses almost all of its appeal.
Accepting people with bad credit makes the card more expensive. The Surge Mastercard charges an eye-popping $125 annual fee your first year (after that the annual fee is $96). Doing the quick math, $125 is 25% of the card’s $500 credit limit. This is a pretty high percentage of your credit limit. And it gets worse. After your first year, the Surge Mastercard charges a $10 monthly maintenance fee once cardholders enter their second year.
The Surge Mastercard does reduce its annual fee to $96 in the second year. However, you’ll still pay $91 more in the combined annual fee and monthly maintenance fees in your second year than in your first year with the card. If you want to add an authorized user on the account, there’s a one-time fee for that too. It will cost you $30 per authorized user.
Sky-high interest rate
The card charges a variable 29.90% annual percentage rate on purchases. If you do decide to apply for it and you’re approved, we recommend that you don’t carry a balance.
Unclear upgrade path
The credit card in question offers no such guidelines for how or when it considers upgrading its secured cards to unsecured status. In the card’s agreement terms, Continental Finance states that your account will be reviewed for a credit limit increase after it’s been open for at least six months.
The Surge Mastercard should be considered only after you’ve reviewed other options on the market. Compare offers for cards for bad credit or secured credit cards to start. If you’re not sold after researching your other options, the card could be an option to consider and could help you build credit in the short term.