Updated: Nov 28, 2020
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Surge Mastercard Review. Unsecured Card to Build Credit.


Bottom line: Surge Mastercard from Celtic Bank belongs to the group of credit-builder or starter credit cards. If you plan on building your credit from scratch or improve your current one, this card can help you do it. Surge Credit Card is an unsecured Mastercard, and it comes with a $300-750 limit. However, it has the right to refuse your application for an unsecured credit card and issue you a secured card instead. In any case, it’s a go-to credit card for many people with a thin credit file of bad credit. As long as you pay your monthly bills on time and use the card regularly, you’ll be able to improve credit history in the short term.


Surge Mastercard® Credit Card

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card
Min. Credit Required: Fair*
3.2 /5
203 Users

at Celtic Bank Secured website

Surge Credit Card Offer Details

  • The card is issued by Celtic Bank and serviced by Continental Finance. It’s a financial product developed for people who quickly need to build credit. While it’s advertised as a credit card for people with less than perfect credit, it’s not strictly reserved for them. People with good credit scores can also apply for it, too.
  • The card has outstanding online support. The application process is quick and easy. It’s completely handled by an online application wizard. The applicants also receive the results online, which removes the extra time-consuming steps.
  • Unlike some other credit-builder cards that are known to report to one or two credit bureaus, this one reports to all 3 main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). RELATED: Cards Reporting Credit (Explained)
  • Another interesting detail about this offer is that it advertises as an unsecured card with a $300-750 credit limit. On the other hand, it reserves the right to issue you a secured credit card if, after reviewing your application, they deem you not trustworthy enough. If you get approved for the secured version of the credit card, you will be required to deposit a sum that could be as much as $750.
  • The credit limit is, in fact, smaller, at least for the first month. The moment you get the card in your name the Continental Finance will assess the first year’s annual fee, and your credit limit will be reduced by it.
  • You also have the option to add authorized users to your Surge account. But to do it, you will have to pay a fee.
Leverage the quick application process to get access to the Mastercard when your credit history is not as pristine as you would like it to be. Use the card regularly the first year to build your credit and then cancel your card to avoid paying the annual fee for the next year and monthly maintenance fee. You will save quite a bit.

What Are Surge Mastercard Benefits?

  • Rewards Profile – Unfortunately, if you are looking for big fat rewards and cashback, we will have to disappoint you. The credit card comes with none of the rewards that can benefit you. The bank’s strongest advertising point is that they report to all three credit bureaus, thus allowing customers to build or improve credit faster.
  • Perks – We have to point out that the application process is quite convenient and fast. You can do it online and be done in under 10 minutes. You can also log in online to check your balance, history of payments, and pending transactions. Using the card will update your credit score history at Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit bureaus.
  • Annual Fee – It comes with a high annual fee. The annual fee for the first year is over one hundred dollars. The customers who decide to keep it for more than a year will have to continue paying the annual fee. But it’s slightly more affordable after the first year. You should also know that after the first year, the card starts charging a monthly maintenance fee. (See No Annual Fee Cards)
  • Introductory Offer –  the credit card comes with the initial unsecured credit limit of $500. This is not guaranteed, though. The bank will assess your creditworthiness. If you don’t meet the requirements for the unsecured credit card, you will get the secured card and have to pay a deposit of up to $750. When it comes to introductory bonus points and intro APR rates, there are none. (See Card Offers with 0% Intro Rate)
  • Variable APR – Variable APR that comes with this credit-score builder credit card is quite high. The cards charge a variable higher annual percentage rate on all purchases you make with this card. This is way above the average variable APR offered by other starter credit cards.
The card comes with a 25-day grace period. This period starts the moment the last billing cycle closes. Make sure to pay off your statement balance during the grace period to avoid paying huge interest charges.

What Are Surge Card Advantages?

  • The extremely fast and convenient application process
  • Ability to check balance and transactions online
  • Good for customers with limited or poor credit score
  • Reports customers’ payment history to all three major credit bureaus

What Are Surge Mastercard Disadvantages?

  • Very high annual fee
  • Monthly maintenance fee kicks in with the start of 2nd year
  • High variable APR
  • It’s not 100% unsecured credit card as advertised (people with a bad credit score will most likely have to pay a deposit)

Why Do We Like Surge Credit Card?

There are a lot of contenders in the credit-builder credit card niche. Yet, this credit card still manages to measure up to its competition. The thing we like the most about this card is that it reports its customers’ payment history to all three major consumer credit bureaus.

Starter Card to Build Credit History

Using this card regularly and paying off your statement balance in time will help you quickly improve your credit or build it from the ground up. It may take up to six months before you can see the results, which is quite a short time period, given the fact that we are talking about something as important as a credit.

Fast & Easy Pre-qualification

The next thing we liked is how convenient the application process is. Everything is handled online. The entire application process can be completed in several minutes. Once your pre-qualification has been reviewed, you will get a response via email.

Bad Credit Accepted

There is one more thing that makes this credit card desirable. Consumers with a bad or poor credit score are allowed to apply for it and get it. Even people with no credit history stand in line to be approved for the card.

Possibility to Add Authorized Users

Finally, we see the value of having the option to add authorized users. This will enable you to give authorization to someone you trust and build a more massive payment history, thus improving your standing with credit card bureaus and building you a better credit.

Where Could Surge Card Be Better?

The first thing this credit card can do better is becoming more transparent about not being an exclusive unsecured credit card offer. Getting an unsecured option is not guaranteed to customers.

Not All Can Be Approved for Unsecured Credit

If a customer has a very bad credit rating or no credit history, the chances are that they will get approved for a secured card. This means they will have to make a deposit of up to $750.

No Bonuses or Rewards

The bank is competing against many other credit cards developed to help consumers build and improve their credit. A lot of these cards offer all sorts of bonuses and cashback rewards, whereas this one offers none. That’s something that this credit card can definitely do better.

Fees, Fees, Fees…

We can’t go on about what can be better without taking a look at the annual fee and monthly maintenance fee. The annual fee for this credit card is well above the industry standard. In other words – its high.

If you decide to stay with this card, you will have to pay a slightly less steep annual fee for every following year. But at the start of the 2nd year, a monthly maintenance fee kicks in which quickly adds up to the original annual fee on top of what you’re already paying.

12+ Months to Have Your Credit Limits Reviewed

The Celtic Bank can do a better job of being more to the point when it comes to getting the security deposit back and increasing credit limits. You will have to keep your account open for at least 12 months for the bank to review it, and potentially increase your not-so-big monthly limit.

High APR

The variable APR is also considerably higher than in other credit-build credit card issuers. The APR of this credit card is quite big, and in our humble opinion, this Mastercard could do much better by reducing it to the average industry value.

What Does Surge Credit Card Can be Used for?

Worldwide Acceptance

The Surge credit card can be used on all terminals that accept Mastercards. If you want to build your credit efficiently, you need to plan your expenses in advance. It comes with a $300-750 monthly limit. You can leverage this entire limit to appear as a financially responsible person and improve your credit.

Best for Small Purchases

The best way cardholders can use this card is to charge a number of small purchases each month. It doesn’t matter whether you will use this credit card for grocery shopping or online shopping. The only thing that matters is that you pay off the balance entirely before the billing date.

Improve Credit Ratings

Paying off the balance entirely before the billing date holds several benefits. First, you will avoid carrying a balance from month to month and avoid paying high APR induced interests. And, secondly, the Celtic Bank will report you making on-time payments to the credit bureaus. You will build a positive payment history and improve your credit rating.

There are several things to take into account if you decide to use the card to build your credit. Once you get the card, your credit limit for the first month will be reduced by the annual fee. This is because Continental Finance will charge you an annual fee immediately. During the first month, you will be able to spend almost four hundred dollars as unsecured credit. If you decide to continue using the card for more than one year, you should know that the annual fee goes down a bit.

Can Be Used for Travelling

It supports cash advance and can be used to make payments when traveling.

What Are Other Attractive  Surge Mastercard Features?

Credit Reporting

The Surge Mastercard reports your payment history to three major credit bureaus. If we had to point out one benefit, it would be the ability to build a credit very fast. If you want to build credit in the short term, apply for this card, and make sure to use it regularly.

Pay off your balance in time, and your payment history will be reported to credit bureaus. Rinse and repeat, and you will be able to admire your new credit in just a couple of months.

Fast Preapproval

This credit building card allows consumers to get a decision on their application rather quickly. Once you submit your application, the custom-tailored algorithm will assess it and automatically send you a decision on your application.

If the algorithm is unable to decide, your application will be sent to the Continental Finance Company team for manual assessment. This process can take up to 10 business days to complete.

No Transaction Fees for 12 Months

The card includes no transaction fees for the first 12 months after opening the account. This includes foreign transactions and cash advance fees.

Be very careful with cash advances because they accrue interest the moment you make them. Pay them off as soon as possible to avoid paying interest charges.

What Costs & Fees Should You Expect with Surge Card?

You have to know all the costs and fees involved so that you can plan your budget in advance. Plus, it will help you compare it against the other cards in the credit-builder category and be able to choose the one that comes with the best wins/trade-offs ratio.

  • Annual Fee: Let’s start with the annual fee. The annual fee is quite steep, but this is only for the first year. The card awards the consumers who stay with it by reducing the annual fee slightly, starting with the 2nd year.
  • Additional Card Fee: Your account will be charged a one-time additional card fee if you decide to add authorized users to your account.
  • Foreign Currency Transaction Fee: This fee won’t apply to your purchases in the first 12 months your credit card is issued. Once that period expires, your account will be charged a foreign currency transaction fee. This fee is equal to the industry standard percentile of the transaction made in a foreign currency. (See Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fees)
  • Monthly Maintenance Fee:  This fee is not billed for the first 12 months your account is open. Starting with the second year, your account will be charged each month the standard monthly maintenance fee of the card.
  • Late Payment Fee: It is charged whenever you don’t pay the minimum amount before the payment due date. The return payment fee is charged if you make a payment that can not be processed for any reason.
  • Expedited Fees: If you contact the customer service representative and use expedited service to arrange payment, your account will be charged an expedited phone pay fee.

What Are Requirements to Pre-Qualify For the Surge Card?

You have to be at least 18 years old to apply. When it comes to requirements, this is one of the most flexible credit cards on the market. The card was developed to help people re-establish or build credit, which is why you don’t need a good credit score to apply for this card.

In fact, you have chances to get your application approved even if you don’t have a credit history at all. This is great news, as you can build one very quickly with this card. However, you must have an active debit card or checking account to prequalify.

To qualify for this credit card, you need to have a social security number, and ID to prove you have a physical address. You also have to disclose the estimated gross monthly income. The social security number is a must-have because Celtic Banks uses it to pull your credit bureau data so that it can process your application. (Check card that needs no SSN to apply)

Because of the social security number, only residents that have it can apply for this credit card, including the permanent residents, temporary residents (under section 205 c 2 of the SSA), and non-immigrant working residents.

How to Apply for the Surge Mastercard?

Applying for the Surge Mastercard is as fast as it’s easy. There are two ways to do it. You can choose either one, they both work.

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card
Surge Mastercard® Credit Card
203 User Ratings

at Celtic Bank secure site

Card Details

Intro APR


Ongoing APR

25.90% -29.99% (Variable)*

Balance Transfer


Annual Fee

See Terms*

Credit Needed


Snapshot of Card Features

  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you're Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • Read the Review of Surge Mastercard credit card
Open Details +

The fastest, and for many consumers, the most convenient way to apply for the card is to visit the official website. The application form is really simple to use. Just fill all the fields and finish all the steps to send your application.

If Celtic Bank preselects you and you receive a preselected offer in the mail, you can apply for the card via mail. Return the acceptance certificate to officially apply for the card.

The application form is simple and short. It will take you just a couple of minutes to fill it out and submit it. You will have to share your personal information, including full name, social security number, date of birth, physical address, and estimated gross monthly income.

What Are Top 4 Surge Card Alternatives?

  1. Destiny Credit Card
  2. Fit Credit Card (Review)
  3. Reflex Credit Card (Review)
  4. Indigo Credit card (Review)

How to Contact the Surge?

Mail Support


Surge Card
P.O. Box 3220
Buffalo, NY 14240-3220

Funding of Security Deposit

Surge Card
P.O. Box 8099
Newark, DE 19714-8099

Surge Mastercard Offer Recap

The Surge Mastercard is a credit card catering to the needs of people who want to re-establish and improve their credit. The application requirements are set very low, and the chances to get approved for the card are moderately high, even for consumers with a bad or no credit score.

In case you apply with a bad or poor credit score, or you have low monthly gross income, the Celtic Bank will probably issue you a secured version, for which you will have to make a deposit payment.

The bank reports your payment history to all 3 major credit bureaus. On the other hand, it comes with a high annual fee and a hard-capped monthly limit from $300 to $750. Given that the monthly maintenance fee kicks in with the start of the second year, this card may be a suitable solution for building credit short term.

The card variable APR rate is high. But it should not worry you if you plan to use this card to build your credit, meaning that you will ensure to make your payments in due time.

Surge Mastercard FAQ. What People Ask about Surge Mastercard

How do I activate the Surge Mastercard?2020-02-17T09:02:58-06:00

You can’t activate your card online. You will have to make a call from the phone number you provided during the application process. Call the toll-free activation number you can find on the sticker on your card.

Make sure to make a call within a period of 30 days after receiving your card in the mail. If you don’t do it in time, you won’t be able to activate your card. The bank will close it, and you won’t be able to use it.

Where can I get a Surge Mastercard mobile App?2020-02-17T09:22:35-06:00

Use the Surge card mobile app so that you can manage your account anytime from any mobile device.

Get it on Apple Store Get it on Google Play

Do I need a SSN to be able to apply for Surge Mastercard?2020-02-17T08:57:03-06:00

The social security number is listed in the official requirements for getting the card posted by the Celtic Bank. If you try to apply for this card, in particular, you will see that the social security number field in the application form is required. There are two reasons for this.

  • First, federal law requires the bank to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies its customers. (See: Identity Security Tips)
  • And, second, the bank needs your social security number to pull your data from a credit bureau and get hold of information about your monthly income.

You can check Deserve EDU Mastercard (Review). This card does not require SSN to apply.

How long will it take for my Surge card to be approved?2020-02-17T09:01:00-06:00

The application process with the Celtic Bank is very quick. Once you submit your application, the system will try to assess your application automatically. If the system manages to do so, you will get the response almost instantly.

If the system is unable to assess your application, the team of experts will review it and decide whether you are eligible for the credit card.

Once your card is approved and you fund a security deposit (if you get approved for a secured credit card), your credit card will be mailed to you within 3 business days.

What is Continental Credit Protection (CCP) Program?2020-02-17T08:51:48-06:00

Continental Credit Protection (CCP) is an Optional Program you can purchase to protect your Surge Mastercard credit card. Whether or not you purchase Continental Credit Protection will not affect your application for the Surge card, credit line or the terms of any existing agreement with Celtic Bank.

The cost is $0.99 for each $100 of the Outstanding Account Balance (OAB) on the date that your monthly billing cycle closed. For example, if your OAB is $200, the Program fee for that month will be $1.98 and will be automatically billed to your account on that same month’s billing statement.

While receiving Continental Credit Protection benefits, you will be unable to make any new charges or obtain cash advances on your credit card.

You may cancel the CCP program at any time. If you cancel within the first thirty (30) days, any fees charged will be refunded. Continental Finance may cancel the CCP program at any time.

Make sure you carefully read the CCP Contract for the complete terms including Specific Conditions, Terms, Exclusions, and Restrictions, before applying for it.

If you have any questions please call CCP at 1-866-665-7967. (Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 6:00pm. Eastern Time)

I got approved for a secured Surge option. How can I pay the security deposit?2020-02-17T09:06:22-06:00

You can send a security deposit via mail to the following address:

Surge Mastercard
P.O. Box 8099
Newark, DE 19714-8099

Make sure to write your reference number on the check.

Or you can pay your deposit over the phone with the help of one of our customer service agents. Finally, if you received an email telling you the security deposit amount, you can click the attached URL address and pay a deposit online.

Can I apply for Surge Mastercard with bad credit score?2020-02-17T08:42:36-06:00

The Surge Mastercard is the Celtic Bank’s offer catering to the needs of people with bad or poor credit score, or no payment history at all. There is no consensus about which number exactly represents a bad credit score. Some experts say that anything below 580 is bad.

However, even with a bad credit score or no credit history at all, you can apply it. Their team will assess your application, and based on the data you provide, you will either get a secured or unsecured credit card approval.

Bear in mind that there is always a chance for your application to be denied.

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