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Surge® Platinum Mastercard® Review: High Price to Build Credit

Surge Mastercard® review
  • The Surge® Platinum Mastercard® is designed to help consumers establish and/or build their credit.
  • What we think: The Surge Platinum Mastercard can be a good short-term solution for those looking to build credit. We like that the credit limit may double after six months of on-time payments. However, the fees and lack of rewards program make this card less desirable than other cards with more favorable terms.
  • You can apply even if you have poor credit.
  • The card comes with relatively high fees, including an annual fee of up to $125 and eventual maintenance fees of up to $12.50 per month.
  • Interest rates are also high, with regular APR set at 35.90%.
  • Card benefits include fraud protection, reporting to all three major credit bureaus and no up-front security deposit.

If you’ve made mistakes with your credit in the past, you may find that your poor credit score makes it very difficult to gain access to the best credit cards. How can you build your credit if major credit cards are rejecting your applications? The good news is that there are credit cards for building credit, like the Surge® Platinum Mastercard®, created for such scenarios.

Surge credit card reviews show this card can be helpful when you’re planning a financial renaissance. But it’s crucial you understand what you’ll pay for the privilege of boosting your credit score.

In this guide to the Surge card, we’ll cover topics such as:

  • Is the Surge credit card worth it?
  • Surge Platinum Mastercard benefits
  • How the Surge Platinum Mastercard compares
Surge Mastercard®
Key Information
No rewards. Unsecured card with up to $1,000 initial credit limit. $75-$125 annual fee. Has monthly maintenance fees.

Surge® Platinum Mastercard®: Is it worth it?

At its core, the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® is designed to allow consumers to build or rebuild their credit. Unlike secured credit cards, which require applicants to fork over a deposit they can then borrow against, Surge skips collateral in favor of high fees and a prequalification process. Those fees — as much as $275 per year, not including interest — can add up quickly.

On the plus side, the Surge card doesn’t require a security deposit. This could be a saving grace for someone who’s eager to establish credit but doesn’t have the money to set aside as collateral. 

You’ll have to watch out for those fees and examine the pros and cons to see if the perks of the Surge card outweigh the drawbacks.

Pros and cons

  • You don’t need perfect credit to apply/be approved
  • No security deposit required
  • Initial credit limit may be doubled after just six months’ worth of on-time payments
  • Payments are reported to all three major credit bureaus
  • Digital platform offers around-the-clock access
  • Regular APR is high
  • Applicants must have a checking account to be approved
  • Minimum credit limit of just $300 for new cardholders
  • The Surge Platinum lacks a rewards program and other perks offered by less-restrictive cards

Learn more about Surge Mastercard

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® benefits

Let’s take a look at all the benefits the Surge Platinum card has to offer:


No security deposit.

This Mastercard doesn’t require an upfront security deposit, meaning you won’t have to pony up any cash as collateral just to open your account.

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Reports to all three credit bureaus.

Payments to your Surge Mastercard are reported to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion and Equifax). This ensures you can build your credit as quickly as possible, with all major credit reports reflecting your newly established payment history.

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Potential for credit limit increases.

After just six months, you may be eligible to increase your credit card limit that helps you build your buying power. This can potentially lower your percentage of credit used, too, which is something lenders look for when evaluating your risk level for future loans/credit approval.

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Monthly credit score.

If you sign up for electronic statements, Surge will reward your eco-friendly effort with a free monthly Vantage 3.0 Score report via Experian.

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No-risk prequalification process.

You can prequalify online in just minutes, with no impact on your credit score.

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$0 fraud liability.

As a Surge cardholder, you won’t be on the hook for unauthorized charges made using your card.

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24/7 online account access.

Manage your card online, including reviewing transactions and making payments, 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

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Surge® Platinum Mastercard® rewards

The Surge Platinum Mastercard isn’t a rewards credit card. You won’t amass points or earn cash back for making purchases. There isn’t a welcome offer or bonus on the table, either.

Fees, rates & limit

The Surge credit card’s biggest claim to fame is its willingness to serve consumers with subpar credit. But to counterbalance the risk assumed by accepting applicants with a poor or nonexistent financial track record, Surge tacks on a number of fees and has a relatively high APR.

Get to know the fine print, including interest rates and possible credit limits, to understand whether Surge is right for you.


The Surge Platinum credit card comes with an annual fee that ranges from $75 to $125. There are monthly maintenance fees too, totaling up to $150 per year ($12.50 billed monthly). These monthly fees are waived for the first year your account is open.

Other fees include:

Surge doesn’t allow balance transfers and therefore doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee.

Interest rates

Surge Mastercard interest rates are as follows:

Credit limit

Surge Mastercard credit limits start at $300. That’s the minimum you can expect if your application is approved, but you may be eligible for a limit of up to $1,000, depending on your income, credit score and debt-to-income ratio.

There’s a potential credit limit increase once your account has been open for six months. If you’ve made all your payments on time, you could see your limit double.

How the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® compares

It takes just a minute to skim Surge Mastercard reviews and realize the biggest advantage this bad credit option has over other similar cards is that it’s unsecured. But it also comes with quite a few fees and the APR is on the high side, which could cost you a pretty penny over time.

To better understand which card is best for your needs, let’s look at the Surge Platinum Mastercard versus several other popular options.

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® vs. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card automatically has an edge over the Surge Platinum Mastercard because the fee schedule is so much lighter. There’s no annual fee, saving you as much as $125 per year over the Surge card.

Regular purchase, balance transfer and cash advance interest rates all clock in at 30.74% APR, which is over 5% lower than what you’d pay with Surge. But the biggest difference between these two cards is that Surge is unsecured and Capital One Platinum Secured requires an upfront, refundable security deposit. Put down a minimum of $49 to get a $200 starting credit limit, and you’ll be eligible for a boost in six months (no additional security deposit required).

Read our full Capital One Platinum Secured card review

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® vs. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Like the Capital One Platinum Secured card, the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card requires a refundable deposit that you essentially borrow against as you build your credit score. A low annual fee of just $35 is far less than you’ll pay with Surge, and OpenSky’s regular 21.89% variable APR is very attractive indeed.

Your potential initial credit limit is intriguing, too — the starting limit can be anywhere from $300 to $3,000, all depending on how much you offer as collateral. You don’t have to submit to a credit check to apply for an OpenSky Secured card, but if you can’t afford the security deposit up front, it’s probably not even worth it to apply.

Read our full OpenSky review

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® vs. Destiny Mastercard®

The Destiny Mastercard® is marketed toward consumers who need help building their credit. But Destiny carries a $175 annual fee for the first year your account is open. That drops to just $49 annually from your second year on, but that’s also when maintenance fees of $12.50 per month kick in. Altogether, you’ll pay $199 just in fees after your first 12 months with Destiny are up.

Adding to the cons list is a regular interest rate of 35.90% variable APR. It’s nice that the Destiny Mastercard is unsecured, so no upfront deposit is necessary. However, the stacked fees make it hard to swallow all the costs when you consider the APR is almost 6% higher than you’d pay with the Surge card.

Read our full Destiny Mastercard review

Is the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® right for me?

The Surge Platinum Mastercard might be right for you if you’re looking for an unsecured credit card that will help you build your credit. 

You won’t have to make a deposit up front, but you will pay a high annual fee, monthly maintenance fees in the second year and a 35.90% fixed APR on all purchases.

If you’re eligible for a card with more favorable terms, such as an option with a low annual fee or one that offers points redeemable for travel, that’s probably better for you in the long run. But if you need to build your credit ASAP and don’t have much of a plan B, Surge could be a short-term solution worth considering to help you earn a credit score that opens more doors.

You can also check out these other cards for building credit to see if you find a better fit.

How do I apply for the Surge® Platinum Mastercard®?

You can learn more and apply for the Surge Platinum Mastercard online or on the phone in just minutes, and you should receive a response just as quickly. You don’t even need to worry about your application affecting your credit, as Surge will see if you’re prequalified without pulling your credit report.

To apply, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid Social Security number. You may be asked to provide personal details regarding your legal name, address, occupation, annual income and other debts.

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FAQ: Surge® Platinum Mastercard®

What is the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® credit limit?

The Surge Mastercard comes with an initial credit limit of $300 or $1,000.

Does the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® offer preapproval?

The Surge credit card preapproval process is quite simple. You’ll be preapproved or denied based on the information you supply to Celtic bank, the institution that backs Surge. Note that a preapproval offer doesn’t guarantee approval once you fill out the full card application, but it will give you an idea of your chances.

Who is the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® for?

The Surge card is for consumers who have a low credit score due to a lack of credit history or a poor track record with borrowing and repaying funds. Typically, this equates to a FICO score of 629 or lower.

What credit score do you need for a Surge® Platinum Mastercard®?

You can apply for a Surge Platinum Mastercard even if you have poor credit, which includes credit scores of 600 or under. That said, a better credit score could earn you access to a higher initial credit limit.

What is the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® annual fee?

Surge has an annual fee of $75-$125, as well as up to $12.50/month maintenance fees after the first year.

Alana Luna (Musselman)
Alana Luna (Musselman) Writer & Content Strategist

Alana Luna (Musselman) is a versatile storyteller with over a decade of writing experience. She is passionate about helping people build their business through unique and engaging content. Some examples of her current freelance projects include building content strategies for small businesses, completing industry research to build case studies, crafting buyer guides and more.

She has a passion and keen ability to simplify complex ideas through storytelling to make it easier for readers to understand hard-to-digest information. As such, Alana’s writing holds strong three principles – content that educates, engages and entertains.

Apart from her contributions to LA Times Compare, Alana has freelanced and ghostwritten for large publications and prestigious brands such as Orbitz, Groupon, Amazon, JCPenney, Walmart and more.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.