Why You Can Trust CNET Advertiser Disclosure
CNET Money's mission is to help you maximize your financial potential. Our recommendations are based on our editors' independent research and analysis, and we continuously update our content to reflect current partner offers. How we rate credit cards

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa: Earn 3% Cash Back With Personal Loan Perks

Need to space out payments on a big purchase? This card can help with a fixed-rate plan.

If you need money fast, a personal loan may help. But most loans lack two perks -- rewards and savings features. The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® offers you a personal loan that you can access in two ways -- as a credit card, which lets you earn rewards, or as a traditional loan.

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card lets you make big purchases and repay your balance in fixed monthly payments. You can also earn up to 3% cash back on select categories, then use your rewards to lower your outstanding balance and the interest you'll pay. 

The card can come in handy if you're planning to make a large purchase and need more time to repay your balance. Depending on when you can repay your balance, another type of credit card, like a rewards credit card may offer a better value. Here's what to know about the Triple Cash Rewards card and how it compares to other cards with similar benefits.

In this article:

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®

6/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions*
APR14.99% -29.99%
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good/Fair Credit
Reward Rates
  • Unlimited cash back on payments - 3% on Home, Auto and Health categories
  • 1% on everything else
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Foreign Transaction Fees $0
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Unlimited cash back on payments - 3% on Home, Auto and Health categories
  • 1% on everything else

How it works

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card offers you a personal loan that you can use in two ways:

  • As a credit card: Use this card like a traditional rewards card and if you do not pay it off at the end of your billing cycle, your remaining balance will become a fixed-rate personal loan that you'll repay in equal monthly payment.
  • As a personal loan: Alternatively, if you don't want to earn rewards or use the credit card functionality right away, you can request to borrow money against your credit limit. Funds will be sent to your bank account and then repaid in equal monthly installments.

When used as a credit card, the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card works just like the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® -- but instead of earning 1.5% cash back on purchases, you'll earn 3% on select categories and 1% on all other purchases. 

If you don't repay your balance in full at the end of the month, you can use your cash back to help repay your loan, applying your rewards directly to your principal balance. 

You can also open several personal loans with this card. For example, if you're already paying on an existing payment plan and you use your card to make a new purchase, Upgrade will open a separate repayment plan for these new purchases, with a new repayment term. However, we don't advise opening multiple loans -- it's better to pay off your existing loan and strive to pay off your card balance in full at the end of every billing cycle to avoid interest.

The Triple Cash Rewards card has a variable APR of 14.99% - 29.99%. To qualify for the lowest interest rate, you'll need excellent credit and must enroll in autopay. Credit lines range from $500 to $25,000, depending on creditworthiness. 

How it's different from a personal loan and buy now, pay later plan

The Triple Cash Rewards card is similar to a personal loan or buy now, pay later plan, but there are fundamental differences to consider.

  • No fees: Upgrade doesn't charge prepayment or late fees, as many loan issuers do.
  • Line of credit: Your credit limit will depend on your credit score and other financial factors, but the limit can automatically increase without needing to reapply like you would for a loan. 
  • Rewards: Cash-back rewards can be applied to your outstanding balance. 

Rewards and redemption

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card comes with unlimited 3% cash back on home, auto and health purchases, and earns 1% on everything else. 

You can earn higher cash-back rates -- up to 10% -- when you activate Upgrade Shopping offers in your account with select merchants in-store or through Dosh, a cash-back platform that you can combine with your credit card to earn more rewards. You can apply your cash back to your outstanding balance or have it deposited into your bank account. Keep in mind that applying cash back to your balance won't reduce your minimum monthly payment -- but it will lower your overall balance.

If you're interested primarily in earning rewards, this card won't net you as much as most other rewards credit cards. Plus, in order to get the most out of this rewards card, you'll want to pay your balance in full each month. Otherwise, your cash back may be overshadowed by interest.

If you want more flexibility and rewards options, but need more time to make payments, you could also consider a credit card with a long introductory 0% APR for new purchases. Introductory APR offers can help you avoid interest charges for a period of time, allowing you to finance a large, planned purchase over a number of months.

Welcome bonus 

Even though you won't receive a welcome bonus from this cash-back card alone, you can earn a $200 welcome bonus if you have an Upgrade card, open a Rewards Checking account and make three debit card transactions within 60 days of opening your checking account. 

ATM transactions do not count toward the welcome bonus. The bonus will be applied to your checking account as a one-time credit within 60 days of making your third transaction. 

If you already have a Rewards Checking account, you won't qualify for this welcome offer. 

Fees

The Triple Cash Rewards card is a no-annual-fee credit card. It also does not have any foreign transaction fees or late fees.

Alternative cards

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card 

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a solid choice compared to the Triple Cash Rewards card. Like the Triple Cash Rewards card, the Wells Fargo credit card has no annual fee and a similar sized $200 welcome bonus -- but you'll need to spend at least $1,000 within the first three months, instead of opening a checking account.

The Wells Fargo card may seem to have a lower rewards rate than the Triple Cash Rewards card, earning you 2% cash rewards for purchases. But since this rate applies to all purchases and not a limited category, if you frequently spend money outside of home, auto and health categories (which net you 3% cash back with the Upgrade Triple Cash card), you may be able to get more value out of the Active Cash card. 

You also have more redemption options with the Active Cash card and can redeem your rewards for a statement credit, purchases in the Wells Fargo Rewards portal, checkout at PayPal or cash in $25 increments. 

And if the main reason you're considering the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card is to pay off a large, planned purchase over time, the Active Cash card also has a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR). If you can repay your balance in full within 15 months, you could save more money by going with the Active Cash.

You can find all of the details in our Wells Fargo Active Cash card review.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card 

If you want to earn even higher rewards and don't mind strategizing, the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers a tiered cash-back reward structure that can offer more value than the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card. You get 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, then 1%), plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Like the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card, the Customized Cash Rewards card has no annual fee and comes with a $200 welcome bonus if you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days.

The Customized Cash Rewards card also trumps the Active Cash and Triple Cash Rewards card when it comes to repaying your balances over time and reducing or eliminating interest. The Bank of America card has a longer introductory 0% APR on new purchases for 18 billing cycles (then 18.24% to 28.24% variable).

You can learn more in our Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card review.

FAQs

Can you redeem your cash back for other purchases?

The Triple Rewards card lets you apply your cash back to your balance owed, or you can redeem your rewards to your bank account. Unlike other rewards credit cards, you won't be able to redeem your cash back directly toward travel or other purchases.

Can you pay your balance early?

Yes, we recommend paying your balance off as soon as you can to reduce your interest payments.

Can you use the Upgrade card at ATMs?

No, you won't be able to use the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card at an ATM, like other rewards credit cards.

*To qualify for the $200 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 bonus will be applied as a one-time credit to your account and will not otherwise reduce the amount of your regular monthly payments. The bonus credit will be posted to your Upgrade Card as a rewards credit within 1-2 billing periods following the third debit card transaction on your Rewards Checking account. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive a bonus.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.