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Surge Secured Mastercard Review: Designed to Help Rebuild Credit

Our review of the Surge Secured Mastercard looks at how the card program, fees, and benefits are designed to help build good credit.
(3 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

If you have bad credit or no credit at all, getting approved for a credit card might be challenging. That's where secured credit cards come in.

Secured cards are designed for people with poor or limited credit history. These cards typically require a cash deposit to open, which may or may not be refundable.

The Surge Secured Mastercard is one option to consider if you're new to building credit or hoping to rebuild poor credit history.

With this card, you may be required to offer a security deposit, depending on your creditworthiness.

Using the card responsibly could help you build credit over time. But is it the best secured credit card out there?

Our review of the Surge Secured Mastercard can help you decide if it's right for you.

Surge Secured Mastercard Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Easy pre-qualification with no impact to your credit score
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Credit lines ranging from $300 to $1,000
  • Potential credit limit increases available
  • Annual fee of up to $99
  • Monthly maintenance fees may also apply
  • High regular variable APR

Main Highlight: Build or Rebuild Credit History

The Surge Secured Mastercard is meant to be used to build credit history.

This card reports to each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

So assuming you're using the card responsibly, you could improve your credit score over time. That means paying on time and keeping a low balance.

You can get pre-qualified for this card without impacting your credit score. Ordinarily, applying for a secured (or unsecured) credit card would require a hard credit pull.

When you're approved, you can get an initial credit limit of $300 to $1,000.

According to the fine print, some people who are approved for this card may be required to pay a security deposit. Surge doesn't specify how much this deposit is or whether it's refundable.

Credit limit increases

After six months, Surge can review your account activity to see if you qualify for a credit limit increase. This decision is based on your income and other credit approval guidelines.

This card is suited for people with less-than-perfect credit or no credit. So if you have fair credit or bad credit you could qualify.

If you're hoping to trade up to a premium unsecured card at some point, the Surge Secured Mastercard can help with establishing good credit history.

Other Card Benefits

The Surge Secured Mastercard is intended to be used for building credit.

With that being said, there aren't a lot of extra bells and whistles with this card. But here's what you do get:

  • Mastercard zero liability fraud protection in case your card is lost or stolen
  • Free monthly credit score access
  • Online and mobile account management access

So there are no travel benefits included and you don't get things like extended warranty protection or purchase protection.

Overall, it's a very basic card in terms of added features and benefits.

Still:

It is all you need to focus on using the card responsibly -- with the end-goal of improving your credit score.

Card Fees

The Surge Secured Mastercard does charge an annual fee.

This fee ranges from $75 to $99 the first year. Your initial fee is based on creditworthiness.

After the first year, the fee is $99. So you have to consider how comfortable you are paying a fee, especially since you aren't earning any rewards on purchases.

Aside from that, the Surge Mastercard may apply a monthly maintenance fee.

This fee ranges from $0 to $120 annually and it's billed in monthly installments. Whether you have to pay this fee is also based on creditworthiness.

The annual fee is billed upfront when your account is opened.

So if you start off with a $300 credit limit and you have a $75 annual fee the first year, your available credit would be $225 initially.

You do, however, have a chance to opt out of opening the account and paying these fees. You can do so if you have not used the card to make a purchase or paid any other required fees.

Compared to Other Secured Credit Cards

The Surge Secured Mastercard could help you reestablish credit history or start building it for the first time. But it's helpful to shop around and see what other cards for bad credit or no credit have to offer.

To make that easier, we've chosen three cards to compare it to.

Capital One Platinum Secured

Capital One Platinum Secured Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Start with a refundable minimum security deposit as low as $49
  • Automatic credit line reviews
  • No annual fee
  • High purchase APR

The Capital One Platinum Secured is suited for people who want to rebuild their credit history.

You can get pre-approved without impacting your credit score. Once you're approved, you'll pay a deposit of $49, $99 or $200 to open an account.

If you make the minimum deposit, your initial credit line is $200. But you can increase your credit limit by making a bigger deposit.

This deposit is refundable as a statement credit. To get your deposit refunded back to you, you'll need to use the card responsibly.

Capital One offers automatic credit line reviews as well. And you have access to CreditWise credit monitoring for free.

There's no annual fee for this card, which is an advantage compared to the Surge Secured Mastercard.

Read our full review of Capital One Platinum Secured.

Citi Secured Mastercard

Citi Secured MasterCard Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Good for people who have poor credit or want to start building credit
  • No annual fee
  • Minimum deposit of $200, up to $2,500
  • Free monthly FICO credit scores
  • No rewards or cash back offers

The Citi Secured Mastercard is specifically designed for people who are new to using credit or who want to rebuild credit.

There's a minimum $200 security deposit required to open an account. But it's possible to get a credit limit of up to $2,500.

Approval decisions and credit limits are based on your income, debt and credit scores.

This card helps you to build credit by reporting to three major credit bureaus. And free monthly FICO credit score access is included as a card member benefit.

There's no annual fee for this card but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. And you won't be able to earn rewards on purchases.

Read our full review of the Citi Secured Mastercard.

OpenSky Secured Visa

OpenSky Secured Visa Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Good for people who want a secured credit card without having a bank account
  • Can deposit money into the account via wire transfer or money order
  • No pull on your credit report
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus so it can increase your credit score
  • No rewards or cash back offers
  • $35 annual fee

The OpenSky Secured Visa is another card that's suited for credit building.

This card also has a $200 minimum security deposit requirement. But the deposit is refundable.

There's no credit check to apply. So if you have no credit at all or just really bad credit, it's still possible to qualify for this card.

The OpenSky Secured Visa can help you build credit, since account activity is reported to the credit bureaus.

This card also offers a Facebook group where you can connect with other cardholders and get credit-building tips.

In terms of fees, there's a $35 annual fee for this card. And there's a 3% foreign transaction fee as well.

Read our full review of the OpenSky Secured Visa.

Final Verdict: Should You Apply for the Surge Secured Mastercard?

The Surge Secured Mastercard is aimed at helping people to repair bad credit and create a positive credit history.

This card could be right for you if:

  • You have bad credit or negative credit history that includes judgments, collections or even bankruptcy
  • You have a limited credit history or none at all and want to start building credit
  • You have cash to pay a security deposit if one is required

The biggest drawback of this card is the cost. Between the annual fee and a monthly maintenance fee, you're paying a premium just to have it.

Other secured credit cards, by comparison, can charge lower annual fees or none at all.

There's also the regular variable purchase APR to keep in mind. It's on the higher side so carrying a balance on this card month to month could easily get expensive.

Bottom line, if you can qualify for a secured card that doesn't charge an annual fee or monthly fee, it may be worth looking into. And bonus points if you're able to find a secured card that also pays you back with cash, miles or points.

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