Surge Credit Card Review - Help for Less-Than-Perfect Credit

I got my first credit card when I was 19-years-old. Of course, I had no credit back then, so my options to open a credit line were limited. But I knew that any credit card I got could help me get started on my way to building a solid credit history. Now, a decade later, there are so many more credit cards on the market than I remember having access to back then. Fortunately, whether you're just starting or rebuilding your credit, some credit cards can help you get started on the right foot. The Surge credit card is one of them.

What is Surge Credit Card?

The Surge card is an unsecured credit card offered by the Continental Finance Company (CFC). CFC was founded in 2005 and has since become one of America's leading servicers of credit cards for consumers who have less-than-perfect credit. The Surge Credit Card is a Mastercard, so it can be used anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.

How does the Surge Credit Card work?

To get a Surge credit card, you must first go through the application process. When you review information about the card, you'll see an "Apply Now" button.
Clicking on this button will take you to the prequalification page. Here, you'll need to provide information about yourself, including your name, home address, social security number, and monthly income. When you've finished filling out this information, you can click on the "See My Card Offers" button. Since this is only a prequalification, filling out and submitting this form will not affect your credit score.
Typically, you'd expect clicking this button to bring you to a page that shows you which cards, interest rates, and credit limits in which you qualify. However, for some reason, the website was unable to confirm my identity, so it did not bring me to any available credit card offers.
So, that was a bummer. But, I was able to get some information about the other products that CFC offers in addition to the Surge card. Presumably, you might expect to receive offers for these cards as well.
In some cases, it seems that the company sends out offers via direct mail. If you received a direct mail offer, you could use the website to accept the offer and go through the application process.
Whether you click on "Apply Now" or "Accept Mail Offer!" you'll go through the same prequalification and application process. If you prequalify for a card, you can then apply for the card. Applying will show up on your credit report, so it's essential only to apply if you intend to go through with it and use the card. In most cases, you'll receive your approval or denial immediately on the website and receive a letter to confirm your status within a few days. If you're approved, you can expect to receive your credit card in the mail within a couple of weeks.

How much does the Surge Credit Card cost?

Applying for a Surge Credit Card is quick and free, but there are costs associated with the card. Most of these fees are based on the cardholder's creditworthiness. Creditworthiness is based on factors such as your payment history, including whether you have a history of making on-time payments and your credit utilization rate.
Some credit cards charge an annual fee just to keep the credit card account active, and the Surge Credit Card is one of them. The annual fee for this card ranges between $75 and $99. You should see the annual fee you are qualified for as part of the offer you receive after completing the prequalification form. After the first year of having your Surge card, you'll also be charged a monthly maintenance fee, which can be up to $10 per month.
You should also be aware of credit card interest with any credit card. Your Surge card will be assigned an annual percentage rate (APR) between 24.99% and 29.99%. This is also known as the regular APR. Every month, you'll receive a credit card statement, which will include a due date, minimum payment, and your total statement balance. The statement balance is the amount you must pay before your due date to avoid being charged interest. If you do not pay off your entire statement balance, you'll receive an interest charge. Interest charges are based on a daily rate, which is your interest rate divided by 365. Then, the daily rate is multiplied by your current credit card balance. The amount that results from this shows up on your credit card statement as your interest charge.
There are a few other fees that you may run into this card, as well. It has a cash advance fee of 5%, a foreign transaction fee of 0%-3%, and a late payment fee of up to $40.

Surge Credit Card features

In addition to a credit card's fees, it's important to understand the features that come with a credit card. Here's what you can expect from the Surge card.


You can submit a quick prequalification form to determine whether or not you will likely get approved for the card. The prequalification does not require a credit check, so it will not affect your credit score. Then, if you don't prequalify for the card, you don't need to go through the application process, during which your FICO credit score would be accessed.

Known credit limit

Surge makes it clear that if you're approved, you will have an initial credit limit of at least $300. The initial credit limits can go all the way up to $1,000. Your credit limit will be based on your credit report.

The option to increase your credit limit

Your initial credit limit is just a starting point. After 6 months, you may be eligible for a potential credit limit increase if you've shown that you're a reliable credit cardholder. If you don't request a credit limit increase, your account will still be reviewed after 12 months to see if you're eligible for one.

0% fraud liability guarantee

The unfortunate truth is that people in the world try to gain access to credit cards that are not theirs. That's why Surge offers this guarantee to let customers know that they will not be held liable for unapproved purchases made on the credit card.

Free credit score check

Surge also offers free credit score checks in partnership with the major credit bureaus. Surge will provide monthly reports of your account to the credit bureaus, which will be used to update your credit report.

Who is the Surge credit card best for?

The Surge card is a sound card for anybody who thinks that it could be helpful for them. That being said, there are a few reasons why the Surge card could be the best option out there for some people.

People with fair or poor/bad credit

It can be challenging to get a credit card if you don't have a high credit score. This can be frustrating, especially if you want to get a credit card specifically designed for building credit. Fortunately, this card is available to people with fair or poor credit.

Credit score ranges

Credit score ranges can vary depending on the credit scoring model that is being used. Generally, a credit score lower than 580 is considered to be in the poor credit range. The fair credit range is usually between 580 and 669. The ranges then move up into good (670 to 739), very good (740-799), and excellent (800+).

People who want a high initial credit limit

Surge offers the potential for a higher initial credit limit than some other credit cards that are designed for poor or fair credit individuals. Even so, it's important to remember that if you do qualify for a higher initial credit limit, you need to be careful not to overspend. If you want to improve your credit score, you'll need to show that you can make full, timely payments.

Who shouldn't use the Surge credit card?

This card can be an excellent option for some people, as mentioned above. However, there are also cases where it might be possible to find a better card for their situation.

People who have good, very good, or excellent credit

Since the Surge card is designed for people with fair or poor credit scores, it might not be the best option for those who fall into the good, very good, or excellent credit ranges. Typically, you'll likely qualify for more (and better) card options if you have a higher credit score.

People looking for a rewards card

One of the greatest perks of credit cards is the rewards. Some cards offer cash back rewards, while others might provide travel or other tips. Unfortunately, the Surge credit card does not provide any bonuses. So while it's a good option to help rebuild credit, it might not be as beneficial if you have a credit score that would qualify you for a rewards card.

Pros & cons of Surge credit card

  • The card is available to customers with poor or fair credit scores.
  • The prequalification and approval process for the credit card is quick and easy.
  • There is the opportunity to increase your credit limit after as little as 6 months after opening the account.
  • It allows the opportunity to build credit without taking out a secured credit card. Since it's an unsecured credit card, no security deposit is required to receive a credit limit.
  • The Surge card offers a 25-day grace period to pay off your statement balance after closing the last billing cycle without interest charges.
  • CFC provides a mobile app that cardholders can use to make payments, monitor account activity, and more.
  • The Surge card has high fees and a high APR.
  • The Surge card offers no rewards.
  • The application process can be delayed if the card issuer is unable to verify your identity or eligibility.
  • Surge does not provide a balance transfer between cards.

Surge vs. competitors

Credit cardRegular APRInitial credit limitAnnual fee
SurgeBetween 24.99% and 29.99% variable APRBetween $300 and $1,000Between $75 and $99
Indigo24.90% variable APR$300$75 for the first year and $99 for the following years
Capital One26.99% variable APR$200$0


Indigo is another unsecured Mastercard designed to help people with poor credit rebuild and improve their credit score. In many ways, it's similar to Surge, but there are some differences to note. Indigo only offers an initial credit limit of $300, making it challenging to keep your credit utilization under the recommended 30%. You would have to carry a balance of only $90 on the card to stay under the recommended credit utilization rate.
Like the Surge card, there are no rewards offered by the Indigo card. You'll also have to pay an annual fee to keep the card active and a late fee if you miss a payment.

Capital One

Capital One offers a few different cards designed for people with fair credit or rebuilding credit. Its Platinum Mastercard and QuicksilverOne Rewards cards are for people with fair credit. For the sake of comparison, I'm using the card designed for rebuilding credit, the Secured Mastercard.
The Secured Mastercard charges a refundable deposit of $49, $99, or $200 to obtain an initial credit line of $200. Like the Surge card, you can be considered for a credit line increase in as little as 6 months. Even so, the starting credit line is steep, especially compared to the alternative card options. The most significant benefit of this card is that it does not charge an annual fee, which will help you save upfront and over the years as you keep the credit line open.


<faq question="Why is my credit score important?" answer="Credit scores show lenders what your creditworthiness is. Simply put, it is a number that shows how "worthy" you are of receiving a loan. Any lender will look at your credit score to decide whether or not to approve a loan or line of credit for you. Your credit score may also be used to determine factors such as your interest rate. It's a good idea to check your credit report and credit score to understand what range in which you fall. The information in your credit report can also be helpful because it can help you know what you need to do to increase your credit score.">
How do I increase my credit score?
There are several things that you can do to increase your credit score. Having a line of credit open is a good first step because it allows you to demonstrate your ability to use your credit line and make on-time payments. If you're working on rebuilding or increasing your credit score, it's important to ensure that your payments are received before the due date. Mobile apps and online payment methods make this easy because your payments can usually be processed by the next business day. It's also helpful to keep your credit card usage low. You'll want to use the credit card so you can make payments, but the goal is to keep the balance on your card low by paying it off each month. This will help you keep your credit utilization rate low because it shows that you have a good amount of credit available to you. Finally, you should be careful about how many cards you apply for and keep open. When you ask for prequalification for a card, it does not impact your credit score. However, if you go through a complete application, your credit report will be pulled and affect your score. It's a good idea to have a card or two open, but you don't want to overdo it. You should also carefully consider the cards you open because, ideally, you'll want to keep them open for a while. When you close a card, it reduces your available credit and impacts your credit utilization ratio. When you close cards that you opened a long time ago, it can also affect the length of your credit history.

The bottom line

The Surge credit card is an unsecured Mastercard designed for people who need help rebuilding their credit. It offers a generous initial credit limit, with the opportunity to increase the credit limit in as little as six months. However, there are also several fees to note with this credit card, including its annual fee and monthly maintenance fee.
While the Surge card can be an excellent option for those with poor credit, it is probably not the best option for those with higher credit scores. The card does not offer any rewards and probably wouldn't be very beneficial to someone who can qualify for other credit cards that offer rewards and other perks. Compared to its direct competitors, though, this card does provide benefits that can stand above the rest when it comes to credit cards designed for rebuilding credit.
No matter what type of card you're looking for, the best thing to do is to look around and compare your options. You can start by getting a free credit report so you can understand your credit score and what cards in which you may qualify. From there, you should compare cards based on your needs and the associated fees to see which card can give you the best value.
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