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2018 Surge Credit Card Review: Good Financing for Bad Credit?

Ashley Dull 2/7/18

In grade school, one of the worst conditions a kid could imagine contracting wasn’t a cold, or the flu, or even the plague — it was cooties. However fictional they may be, once you were deemed to have cooties, you were persona non grata on the playground.

While most of us become immune to cooties after puberty, adults have something far worse to worry about: bad credit. Once you have it, few creditors want to get near you and your financial risk. And it takes a lot more than a properly rhymed cootie shot to get your credit back on track.

One credit card popular with consumers working to rebuild after coming down with a case of bad credit is the Surge Mastercard®. A subprime card option, the Surge credit card welcomes applicants of all credit types.

Our Take | Other Opinions | Applying & Use | More Options

Our Take: Credit-Builder Card with Flexible Req’s

When you have bad credit, you’re usually aware of that bad credit — though often not until your credit card and loan applications are unceremoniously rejected. For many consumers with poor credit, the key to finding the financing necessary to start rebuilding your credit is to focus on issuers that offer credit cards specifically designed for credit building, like the Surge Mastercard®.

4.7 /5.0 Stars
  • 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
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 Minutes

While the Surge Mastercard® does accept a wide range of credit types and reports to the three major credit bureaus, there are many other things to consider before applying for a Surge card. For one thing, the Surge card is only potentially an unsecured credit card; depending on your credit score and history, you may be required to put down a security deposit of $50, $150, or $500 to access the $500 credit limit.

And speaking of your credit limit, while the Surge Mastercard® offers a competitive credit limit for subprime cards by providing up to $500 to qualified applicants, you likely won’t see any credit limit increases. Additionally, the card charges several fees, including both an annual fee and (starting the second year) a monthly maintenance fee. The first year’s annual fee will be charged as soon as you open the account, reducing your initial credit limit until the fee is paid.

Regardless of the size of your credit limit, you’ll want to avoid carrying a balance on your Surge Mastercard®. The APR is just a smidge under 30%, which is high for even a subprime credit card, and the associated interest fees can get very expensive, very quickly. On the bright side, the Surge Mastercard® does offer a standard grace period to pay your balance before you’re charged interest fees.

Despite the fees and high APR, however, the Surge Mastercard® accepts many applicants with bad credit, and the card will report your credit behavior to the major bureaus, making it a useful tool for those who need to rebuild credit — assuming you pay it off on time each month. Once your credit score has rebounded enough to qualify you for a better card, consider trading in your Surge card for something better for your wallet.

What Others Are Saying About the Surge Mastercard®

As with many subprime credit cards, the Surge Mastercard® elicits some strong reactions from its reviewers. Those who have struggled to find a credit-building credit card seem to appreciate the Surge card for its flexible credit requirements and accept that high fees are simply the price they pay for rebuilding bad credit.

Yes, there are a lot of fees. However, those fees are spelled out in the Customer Agreement form that is shown to you before your application is accepted. Also, the APR is shown in that same agreement. This company is a subprime credit card provider. The important word in that previous sentence is ‘subprime.’ Meaning, it’s offered to individuals with less than preferred or no credit. I received this card nearly 2.5 years ago. In that time, I’ve taken multiple steps to steady my financial past and begin building my credit future. Continental Finance has helped in the endeavor. — Surge Mastercard® Reviewer

On the other hand, the bulk of reviewers seem to be thoroughly unhappy with the high cost of the Surge card, citing the high annual and monthly fees, as well as the nearly 30% APR, as top reasons to steer clear of the Surge Mastercard®. This seems to be true even of those who found success building their credit score using the Surge card.

I was quite ignorant when I got this card. Did not do much research. Having said that, my score did go from 570 to 650 within nine months of using this card. But now that I know better, I would rather get a secured card like OpenSky. I would only pay a $35 annual fee rather than the fees of this card – $125 annual fee first year, $96 the second year but they tag on a $10 monthly fee from the second year onward. — Surge Mastercard® Reviewer

Of course, like any internet review, you’ll need to take both sides into account — and then form your own opinion. Not only should you investigate the terms and fees of the Surge Mastercard®, be sure to look at your own credit situation so you can effectively explore your other available options for a credit-building card.

Applying, Checking Your Status & Using Your Card

If you decide you’d like to apply for the Surge Mastercard®, you can do so through the easy online application using the link below. You’ll need to provide standard personal and financial information, including your name, address, and income, as well as verifying that you have an active checking account (an approval requirement).

In most cases, you should receive an answer within minutes of completing your application. For some applicants, the automatic application algorithm may be unable to make a decision, so it will send your application to be reviewed by a human representative. To check the status of a pending application, you can call the Surge Mastercard® customer service at:


You can also check your application status online through the Continental Finance sign-in portal. This is also where you can make online payments, as well as indicate your choice to receive electronic statements instead of paper bills.

When it comes to using your card, the best method for most cardholders will be to charge a small purchase on the card each month, paying off the balance entirely before the billing date to avoid interest fees. Because of the high APR, you’ll want to avoid carrying a balance from month to month when at all possible. Over time, these on-time payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, helping you build a positive payment history.

Top 3 Alternative Credit Card Options

Based on the reviews — and the rates and fees — the Surge Mastercard® may not be the right option for everyone, even those with poor credit. Thankfully, the subprime credit card market is full of issuers willing to accept a broad range of credit types, making it easy for most consumers to find other card options. You can explore some of our expert-rated credit card options below.

4.8 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • We may approve those currently building their credit history
  • No security deposit required
  • Application response in 30 seconds
  • Know the score! Quarterly FICO score on your monthly billing statement
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Your First PREMIER Bank credit card activity is reported to the Consumer Reporting Agencies each month. Making your payment on time and keeping your balances low relative to the credit limit will result in positive marks on your credit report
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 6 minutes
4.8 /5.0 Stars
  • Holiday gifts they'll like, payments you'll love! Use your line of credit to shop over 550,000 items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
  • Fast, easy online application process and a quick decision
  • Not an access card
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 5 Minutes
4.6 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a Processing Fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 Minutes

+See More Credit Cards for Bad Credit

When choosing the right credit card to rebuild credit, make sure the issuer will report your payments to the three major credit bureaus. You should also be careful to look at all applicable fees, especially those that will be charged right away, including annual and monthly maintenance fees, as well as any processing or application fees. Read through the terms and conditions document (sometimes called the cardholder agreement) carefully before filling out an application.

Building Credit Takes Time

As a child, many things can be downright terrifying — including bullies, boogeymen, and broccoli — but few things can be quite as scary as being face-to-face with a kid infested with cooties. Thankfully, it takes just a few moments to rid yourself of cooties-based stigma on the playground — and the risk vanishes entirely as you reach adulthood.

Unfortunately, as adults, we have far more serious threats, not the least of which is bad credit. Worse, there isn’t a rhyme in the world that can cure you of bad credit. No, it simply takes time, hard work, and, often, the right credit-building credit card.

For those willing to overlook the high rates and fees (or who have no lower-cost choices), the Surge Mastercard® can be an effective way to rebuild your payment history, improve your credit utilization rate, and start treating your bad-credit ills. Once you’ve raised your credit score enough to eliminate the stigma, however, you should strongly consider trading in your Surge card for a more affordable alternative.

About Ashley Dull
Ashley is the Finance Vertical Manager at Digital Brands, Inc., where she oversees content published on BadCredit.org and CardRates.com. Ashley works closely with experts and industry leaders in every sector of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles with regards to audience interest. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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