Surge Mastercard Credit Card Review: High Fees Make Building Credit Costly

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The Surge Mastercard® Credit Card is an unsecured credit card for people with bad credit or a limited credit history, issued by Continental Finance and Celtic Bank. Because it’s an unsecured card, you won’t have to submit a deposit upfront. However, this card’s high ongoing fees can quickly add up. 

With any card for building credit, you should prioritize responsible credit use. Your Surge Credit Card usage and on-time payments are reported to the three credit bureaus monthly, which can help you increase your credit score over time.

At a Glance

  • Starting credit limit of $300 to $1,000
  • Annual fee of $75 to $99 
  • Monthly maintenance fee of $0 to $10 per month, starting after the first 12 months
  • Reports to credit bureaus monthly
  • 25.90%-29.99% variable APR

Pros

  • Credit-building tool for those with imperfect credit

  • Potential credit line increase after six months

Cons

  • $75 to $99 annual fee required

  • Additional monthly maintenance fee up to $10 per month

  • Very high APR

Additional Card Details

Since the Surge Credit Card is for people with bad credit or little credit history, it doesn’t offer many benefits beyond monthly reporting to the three credit bureaus. 

Because it’s unsecured, you don’t have to put down a cash deposit like you would with a secured credit card. This can be helpful if you know you can make on-time payments each month, but don’t have the cash upfront to secure a deposit. 

The most important thing to understand about this card before applying for it is its fee schedule. Not only will you be assigned an annual fee between $75 and $99, but you may also take on a monthly maintenance fee starting after your first 12 months. The issuer assigns this fee based on your creditworthiness. It can range from $0 to $10 per month, potentially adding another $120 to your annual total.

Your starting credit limit will range between $300 and $1,000, and you can request a higher credit limit after just six months. You also get a free monthly credit score when you enroll in e-statements, which can help you track your credit progress over time.

Should You Get the Surge Credit Card?

There are many better options for building credit than the Surge Credit Card — both secured and unsecured. Despite avoiding the deposit required with a secured credit card, you may end up paying much more over time with this card, even if you practice perfect credit use and never subject balances to this card’s high APR. 

Say, for example, you’re assigned a $99 annual fee, an additional $10 monthly maintenance fee starting the second year, and it takes you two years to build a score high enough to qualify for another credit card. If you close this card after that time, you would have paid a total $318 over the lifetime of the card.

You’re better off saving that amount upfront and putting it toward a refundable security deposit on a secured credit card. This way, you could rest assured you’ll receive your deposit back after you’ve used the card to increase your score, as long as you close the card in good standing.

One thing we do like about this card is the potential credit limit increase you can get after six months. However, the issuer only reviews your account after this time at your request — other credit-building cards, like Capital One Platinum Credit Card, offer automatic credit line reviews after the same time period. 

With that being said, the Surge Credit Card could make sense if you have fair or poor credit and you really want an unsecured credit card — especially if you qualify for the lower annual fee and no monthly maintenance fee. This card does help you build credit through responsible credit use, which can increase your chances of approval for better credit cards in the future. But it shouldn’t be your first option. See the terms you might qualify for by checking your prequalification offers on the issuer’s site before you commit to an application and undergo a hard credit check.

How to Use the Surge Credit Card

To get the best use out of this card as a credit-building tool, use it for small purchases you can pay off each month. If you carry a balance, the incredibly high APR this card charges can make those balances quickly add up to long-term debt.

Make sure you pay your credit card bill early or on time each month, and keep your credit utilization low for the best possible impact on your credit score.

The Surge Credit Card comes with an initial credit limit of $300 to $1,000, so you’ll need to be extra careful about your spending to improve your credit. Credit utilization is one of the most influential factors in your credit score, and experts recommend maintaining a utilization rate below 30% (and ideally below 10%). If your credit limit is $500, for example, your balance should stay below $150 each month.

If you do decide to get the Surge Credit Card, use it only as long as you need to improve your score and qualify for better, more affordable cards.

Surge Credit Card Compared to Other Cards

  • Intro bonus:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    See Terms*
  • Regular APR:
    See Terms*
  • Recommended credit:
    (No Credit History)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (3.6/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    26.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    (No Credit History)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Editor’s Score: (2.7/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0 – $99
  • Regular APR:
    17.99% to 23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    300-670 (Bad to Fair)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.

Bottom Line

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

You can get approved for the Surge Mastercard Credit Card with less-than-great credit, and use it to begin building better credit habits. However, the fees for this card are high, making it more costly than other cards for improving credit.

Before you apply, consider credit card options for bad credit that might cost you less over the long run, including secured credit cards. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Surge Credit Card give credit line increases?

After you’re approved for the Surge Credit Card and use it responsibly for six months, you may be eligible for a credit line increase.

Is the Surge Credit Card a secured credit card?

The Surge Credit Card is an unsecured credit card, meaning you don’t have to put down a cash deposit as collateral.

What is the annual fee on the Surge Credit Card?

The Surge Credit Card charges an annual fee between $75 and $99. You may also be assessed a monthly maintenance fee of up to $10 (after the first 12 months from account opening).