Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® Review

Interested in exploring cryptocurrency, but don't want the risk of a typical crypto purchase? This card could be for you.
By Brooklyn Lowery  CardRatings Senior Manager  | Updated

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa®

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa®
Our Rating:   
Good, Excellent
on Upgrade's secure website

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • Earn cryptocurrency with every purchase

  • Any unpaid monthly balance transitions automatically to a fixed-rate payment plan, potentially saving you money.
  • There are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees to worry about
  • There's not a lot of flexibility with the rewards. You can't transfer your Bitcoin rewards to another wallet, nor can you redeem your Bitcoin for anything other than statement credit.
Terms and Limitations Apply.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have grown popular over the past decade, leading many people to become interested in the new technology but unsure of how they can jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon.

The CardName is a unique rewards card that offers you the opportunity to earn Bitcoin when you make everyday purchases; therefore, it's a low-risk (albeit, not terribly high reward) way to test the Bitcoin waters.

HOW DOES THE CardName WORK?

The CardName is a standard Visa credit card. New applicants receive a credit limit ranging from $500 to $50,000 (though most will be under $25,000), depending on your application (credit score and history, income, etc.) You can then use your card to make purchases from any store that accepts Visa, just like you would with any other credit card.

Here's where the Bitcoin part comes in: Use your card to make purchases and earn 1.5% back in Bitcoin on all your purchases when you pay them back. Additionally, you can earn a $200 Bitcoin welcome bonus on your card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making three debit transaction in the first 60 days from when you opened your card (Note: To qualify for the $200 bitcoin welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Rewards Checking Account and make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening. The value of the $200 bonus will be based on the value of bitcoin at the time it is purchased (within 1-2 statement periods from the date the bonus is earned) and may change in price by the time you choose to sell it Refer to Program Terms. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive a bonus.)

Upgrade works with a company, NYDIG, which purchases and holds the Bitcoin on your behalf. For example, if you make a $100 purchase using the card, you'll earn $1.50 worth of Bitcoin when you pay for that purchase. As Bitcoin's value changes, the value of your accumulated rewards will change. If Bitcoin increases in price, your rewards balance will also increase.

When you want to redeem your rewards, you can ask NYDIG to sell the Bitcoin on your behalf (there is a 1.5% transaction fee for this service) and your proceeds are redeemable only for statement credit.

Top Features

 Cash Back on Gas
1.5%
 Cash Back on Groceries
1.5%
 Cash Back on Other
1.5%

LINE OF CREDIT VS. TRADITIONAL CREDIT CARD

One thing that sets the CardName apart from other credit cards is that Upgrade offers the option to transition your card's balance to a fixed-rate payment plan.

Like a typical credit card, the CardName has a variable interest rate for your card balance. You get a bill at the end of the billing cycle to pay for the purchases you made. If you don't pay the balance in full, interest will begin to accrue.

What makes it different is that if you don't pay the balance off, Upgrade will automatically convert your card's balance into a fixed-rate payment plan. The interest rate for the balance of these payment plans won't change once the plan starts, which can help you save on interest if rates begin to rise. Your APR and credit line depend upon credit score, purchase and payment history and other factors.

Each month of the payment plan, you'll make the same payment, which should help with budget predictability. With a traditional credit card, the payment can change based on the purchases you make and changes to the interest rate.

CardName FEES

The CardName card doesn't charge traditional credit card fees, such as an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Because cash advances and balance transfers aren't available with this card, you also don't have to worry about those fees.

The primary fee that cardholders need to understand is the 1.5% fee for any reward redemptions. If you have $100 worth of Bitcoin in your rewards account and want to redeem it, you'll only receive a statement credit for $98.50.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE CardName

As already mentioned, this card allows you to dabble in volatile cryptocurrency without substantial risk, but there are a number of drawbacks to the CardName card.

Firstly, is that volatility. It will take one to two statement periods from the time you make your payment to the time your Bitcoin rewards are purchased, and a lot can change with Bitcoin's value in that time. Furthermore, there is a 90-day holding period before you can redeem the Bitcoin you've earned so, again the value of your rewards could change dramatically between the time you earn them and the time you redeem them.

Sure, there's a chance that the Bitcoin will gain value before you redeem, but it's just as likely that it will lose value instead.

Another drawback is that you never really get full access to the Bitcoin you earn. You can't transfer it to another crypto wallet or sell it and pocket the proceeds; you can only redeem it for a statement credit toward your card balance.

The card also offers a worse rewards rate than other cash-back credit cards. For example, the CardName offers the equivalent of 2% back on every purchase (1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay for your purchase), and cards with category bonuses can offer as much as 5% or more in cash back. Given this, if your primary goal is earning credit cards rewards rather than sampling the Bitcoin world, you'd likely be better off with a more traditional cash-back rewards card.

CardName CARDHOLDER SCORES

CardRatings conducts a survey annually to learn what actual cardholders think of their cards. Here are the results:
Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 53.0 Did not survey
Features Satisfaction 5.4 n/a
Customer Service 5.3 n/a
Website/App Usability 5.3 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 5.3 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 5.1 n/a

HOW DOES THE CardName COMPARE TO OTHER CARDS

CardName vs. CardName

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The CardName is a rewards card that has no annual fee and offers 3% cash back rewards for a year when you set up direct deposit with SoFi. After that, earn 2% unlimited cash back on purchases when redeemed toward investing, saving, or paying down an eligible loan with SoFi. At a rate of 2% back, you can redeem your rewards for cryptocurrency to a Sofi investment account or directly to another Sofi account, adding to the balance of your savings or brokerage account, or redeem to pay down a SoFi loan.

Should you choose to redeem for cryptocurrencies, you have a few options, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and more than a dozen other coins. There is a 1.25% fee for each crypto transaction, but you still wind up earning more than you earn by using the CardName.

As with the CardName, the Sofi Credit Card doesn't charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Unlike the Upgrade card, any balance leftover on the Sofi card will be handled as a traditional credit card balance and accrue interest at a variable interest rate.

CardName vs. CardName

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The CardName is almost identical to the Bitcoin version, but without offering rewards in the form of crypto.

Neither card charges an annual fee and both offer monthly fixed-rate payment plans, making them good choices for people who want an inexpensive card with affordable monthly payments when you carry a balance.

The obvious difference is that the CardName gives you simple cash back that you can redeem for a statement credit on your card. The value of your rewards won't fluctuate with the value of Bitcoin, and there's no fee when you redeem your rewards.

Additionally, the cash rewards version is available to people with fair credit, whereas the Bitcoin version is geared toward people with good/excellent credit. Apart from the credit score audience, the biggest difference here is whether you want to try Bitcoin rewards or you're happy with straightforward 1.5% cash back.

CardName vs. CardName

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CardName is a basic category-based rewards card, offering 1.5% back on most purchases, with higher rewards rates for certain types of spending. Earn 5% back on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases; and 1.5% cash back on your other eligible purchases. Plus, new cardholders earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) during the first year.

You can redeem your rewards – they're awarded in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points – for cash back or for travel and other options through the Ultimate Rewards® portal. Combine the card with a premium card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards®, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred®, and you can unlock more redemption options like transferring points to airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Like the CardName, Freedom Unlimited® charges no annual fee, but it does charge foreign transaction fees.

Additionally, Freedom Unlimited® is a traditional credit card when it comes to paying off balances: You'll pay a variable interest rate and different payments each month. Chase Freedom Unlimited®, however, does offer an intro 0% APR period of 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then, RegAPR).

IS THE CardName A GOOD CARD?

Overall, the CardName is a fine card for people who are interested in exploring the cryptocurrency landscape, but it isn't the best choice out there.

With the low rewards rate, fees for redeeming your rewards and restrictions on what you can do with the proceeds, you'd likely be better off using a more traditional cash-back card and using the cash back earned to purchase cryptocurrency through a traditional exchange.

The monthly payment plan is a nice benefit, but you can get the same perk by going with the CardName while getting more predictable cash back that won't fluctuate in value.

Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2021 to conduct surveys among 1,524 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2021 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted. "Current Scores" reflect scores from the most recent survey; "Past Scores (avg.)" are the scores averaged over each prior year the card has been surveyed. "Past Scores" indicates a card has only been surveyed in one prior year.

Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® Compared to Other Cash back Cards

Apply online for Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card
Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card
Apply online for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Apply online for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Apply online for Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Cash Back on Gas
1.5% 
Cash Back on Gas
Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants. 
Cash Back on Gas
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 
Cash Back on Gas
1.5% cash back on all other purchases. 
Cash Back on Gas
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on Groceries
1.5% 
Cash Back on Groceries
Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants. 
Cash Back on Groceries
6% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) 
Cash Back on Groceries
1.5% cash back on all other purchases. 
Cash Back on Groceries
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on other
1.5% 
Cash Back on other
Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants. 
Cash Back on other
1% Cash Back on other purchases. 
Cash Back on other
1.5% cash back on all other purchases. 
Cash Back on other
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
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Petal credit cards are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC
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Terms and Limitations Apply

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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