Surge Mastercard from Celtic Bank belongs to the group of credit-builder cards. If you plan on building your credit score 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 $500 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 build a credit score in the short term. This will put you in a position to shop for other credit cards on the market and continue building your credit score to get the best interest rates out there.
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 a credit score. 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.
The card has an 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 three main consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).
Another interesting detail about this offer is that it advertises as an unsecured card with a $500 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.
The $500 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.
Unsecured credit cards are particularly attractive to people with less than good credit scores who can’t afford to put down a security deposit. Most often, these people have a poor credit score, and the bank won’t issue them an unsecured card since their creditworthiness is questionable.
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 $500.
This card doesn’t offer any rewards to its customers. The only thing that can be considered as a bonus is that it reports back to all three major credit bureaus.
Your financial obligations, should you choose to go with this option, are considerate. You will have to pay high annual fee. The fee goes down a bit for the next year.
For a starter credit card, it’s variable annual percentage rate is also high. You also have the option to add authorized users on your Surge account. But to do it, you will have to pay a fee.
Surge Card Features
- 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 score 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 $500. 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 cars charges 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.
Surge Mastercard Pros
- 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
Surge Mastercard Cons
- 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 We Like It
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.
Using this card regularly and paying off your statement balance in time will help you quickly improve your credit score 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 score.
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 application has been reviewed, you will get a response via email.
Checking your balance, pending transactions, and payment history is also streamlined. You can do it all on via the official website.
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.
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 a better credit score.
What Can 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.
If a customer has a very bad credit score 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 $500.
The bank is competing against many other credit cards developed to help consumers build and improve their credit score. 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.
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.
The Celtic Bank can do a better job of being more to the point when it comes to getting the security deposit back. 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 of $500.
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.
The Surge credit card can be used on all terminals that accept Mastercards. If you want to build your credit score efficiently, you need to plan your expenses in advance. It comes with a $500 monthly limit. You can leverage this entire limit to appear as a financially responsible person and improve your credit score.
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.
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 score.
There are several things to take into account if you decide to use the card to build your credit score. 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 annual fee immediately. During the first month, you will be able to spend almost four hundreds 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.
On the other hand, the monthly maintenance fee comes into play. You should be aware that owning one for more than a year comes with a huge uptake. Just owning this card will set you back a little over two hundred dollars.
It supports cash advance and can be used to make payments when traveling.
Other Surge Mastercard Benefits
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 score 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 score in just a couple of months.
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.
The card includes no transaction fees for the first 12 months after opening the account. This includes foreign transactions and cash advance fees.
Costs & Fees You Can Expect
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.
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.
Your account will be charged for a one-time additional card fee if you decide to add authorized users to your account.
Foreign currency transaction 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 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.
A late payment fee 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.
If you contact the customer service representative and use expedited service to arrange payment, your account will be charged an expedited phone pay fee.
Qualifications & Requirements
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.
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 the 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 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.
Bad Credit OK*
Snapshot of Card Features
- All credit types welcome to apply!
- Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
- Initial Credit Limit of $500.00!* (subject to available credit)
- Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
- Use your card at locations everywhere that Mastercard® is accepted
- Free online account access 24/7
- Checking Account Required
- Read the Review of Surge Mastercard credit card
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.
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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 score. 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 of $500. 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 score 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 score, meaning that you will ensure to make your payments in due time.
This credit card offers no benefits whatsoever. There are no bonuses, nor cash-back rewards.
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Surge Mastercard FAQ. What People Ask about Surge Mastercard
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
You can send a security deposit via mail to the following address:
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.