These days, more and more lenders are realizing that consumers want increased flexibility with their borrowing options. Recently, we have seen various loan products incorporating installment payments, lower interest rates, flexible repayment options and other features that create hybrid loan products.
The new Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® combines the features of a personal loan and a traditional rewards credit card. Here is an overview of the rewards and other benefits it offers.
Cash Rewards Elite Visa Benefit Upgrade
- Reward rate: 2.2% cash back after making payment
- Welcome offer$200 after opening a rewards chequing account and completing 3 debit card transactions within 60 days
- Annual subscription: $0
- Introductory purchase APR: N / A
- Intro Balance Transfer APR: N / A
- Regular APR: 8.99% to 29.99%
You’ll earn 2.2% cash back on all purchases with your Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa. When you make your monthly payment, your rewards are credited to your account the following month. However, if you miss a payment, rewards may not be credited to your account.
Although there isn’t a lot of flexibility in how you can redeem rewards, the cash back rate is still one of the highest for most fixed rate credit cards.
Most personal lines of credit and installment loans don’t offer a welcome bonus, but this card does. To earn it, you must register for an Upgrade Rewards Checking account and complete three debit transactions within 60 days of opening your account.
Predictable payments and reduced fees
You can pay off your Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite card balance in equal monthly installments for 24, 36 or 60 months. This approach could help you pay down your balance faster with lower interest charges.
However, if your balance gets high, that means your installment payment could go up as well. Unlike a traditional credit card, you won’t be able to make smaller minimum payments.
Another great feature of the card is the ability to get a much lower interest rate. If you have good to excellent credit and opt for automatic payment, your interest rate could be as low as 8.99% variable, which is quite competitive in the world of credit cards and personal loans. At the high end, your APR could go up to 29.99% variable.
Finally, note that you will end up paying less fees with this card. The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa does not charge annual fees, late payment fees, ATM fees, foreign transaction fees or APR penalties.
Instant application and use
Unlike many credit cards, you can apply for an Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa online by simply drawing down your credit. Once your application is approved, you will get a virtual card number that you can start using immediately. You don’t have to wait for a physical card to start shopping and earning rewards.
Benefits and additional benefits
The card offers the following benefits in addition to its rewards rate, installment payment options and welcome bonus:
- $0 fraud liability
- Extended warranty
- Travel and emergency assistance
- On-demand roadside assistance
- 24/7 concierge service
How to Maximize Cash Rewards Elite Visa Upgrade
We love this card for its refreshing approach to lending: it offers predictable payments like an installment loan with the flexibility, rewards, and benefits of a credit card.
However, it may be best if you have a good credit rating and are planning a large purchase that can be split into several installments. And if you qualify for the welcome bonus, you can apply it directly to a large purchase and reduce its cost.
Of course, you can use this card for several small purchases. But your balance would increase along with your minimum payment, which will likely be much higher than the minimum payment on a regular credit card. If you’re not careful, small purchases can add up. And if your interest rate is higher, you could end up with a much larger monthly payment than expected.
The bottom line
The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa can be a good option if you want to split an expensive item into multiple installments and earn rewards at the same time. Just beware of the card’s wide APR range and consider other options if you have a low credit score.