FROM OUR PARTNERS

Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account Review 2024: Earn Up To 2% Cash Back

Katie Stiner

Upgrade was launched in 2017 with the goal of offering its customers a more convenient and valuable experience compared to traditional banks. The founding team at Upgrade has extensive experience in the Fintech industry and brings their industry know-how to offer an amazing product.

Overall rating

4.7

Summary: The checking account does not charge users any maintenance, ATM, or overdraft fees. Users also earn up to 2% cash back on common everyday expenses and 1% on everything else.

Upgrade - Rewards Checking

upgrade logo

$0

Monthly Fee

0%

Est. APY


Reviews

5

Account Opening

4.5

Fees

4

Deposits & Withdrawals

5

Features

4.5

Customer Service

5

Safe & Secure

Pros

  • No ATM fee
  • Free wire transfers (domestic)
  • Loan discounts
  • Mobile deposit

Cons

  • No interest
  • No physical branches

Best For

  • No maintenance fee
  • Easy account management
  • Earn up to 2% cashback

Features

HQSan Francisco, California, United States
Monthly Fee$0
Min. To Open$0
Min. Deposit For No Fee$0
Paper Statement FeeNot Applicable (all statements are electronic)
Overdraft Fee$0
ATM Fee$0 but 3rd party ATMs may incur a fee
RewardsEarn 2% cashback on common everyday expenses and 1% on everything else
TransactionsUnlimited
Debit CardVisa
Branch AccessNone
State RestrictionsAvailable in all US States

In depth review on Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account

Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank which was founded in 2017 and is based out of San Francisco. Upgrade offers many products, which include credit cards, personal loans, checking accounts, and a credit monitoring and education center.

Upgrade Inc. is able to offer its financial services via its partnership with Cross River Bank, which is a member of the FDIC. This means that the Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account is FDIC insured, which protects your funds up to $250,000 in case of bank failure.

Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account is best for

  • No maintenance fee: Upgrade does not charge account owners a monthly maintenance fee. Account holders are also not expected to maintain a minimum account balance to avoid the fee.
  • Easy Account Management: Upgrade allows account holders to manage their accounts online via a browser-based dashboard and apps for Android and iOS devices. It is extremely easy to manage and maintain your account using these tools. You can check your current balance, total cash back accumulated, set up pre-authorized payments, pay bills, etc.
  • Earn up to 2% cash back: You can earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card charges

Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account benefits

  • No ATM fee: Account holders are not charged any ATM fees for cash withdrawals by Upgrade. However, you should note that 3rd party ATMs may incur a fee when you use their network.
  • Free wire transfers (domestic): This checking account allows you to send free domestic wire transfers, which can be a huge benefit if this is something you do often.
  • Loan discounts: If you have an Upgrade – Rewards Checking account, you can get a discount on the interest rate for loans through Upgrade.
  • Mobile deposit: Mobile deposit service is available through the Upgrade mobile app, and it can only be applied to your rewards checking account.

Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account drawbacks

  • No interest: With Upgrade, you do not earn any interest on your account balance. This is not extremely unusual for checking accounts. However, there are certain banks that offer interest on your checking account funds.
  • No physical branches: Upgrade operates entirely online and does not offer any physical branches. 

Account opening

5

You can open an account completely online within a few minutes. You can start your application to open a new account on Upgrade’s official website by selecting “Rewards Checking”, and then “Get Started”. You will then be asked to enter your address, city, state, and ZIP code. You will also be required to share some personal information including your email address, date of birth, and Social Security Number, and answer some questions about your income and employment.

To be eligible to open an account with Upgrade, you are required to be at least 18 years of age and a resident of the US. You will also need to provide a government-issued ID to create your account.

Fees

4.5

Upgrade does not charge users any fees for the rewards account. There are no monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, or overdraft fees associated with this account. However, it is important to note that, unlike many other institutions, Upgrade does not have any partnerships with any ATM networks and third-party ATMs may charge you a usage fee. Upgrade does offer reimbursements on up to five ATM charges a month if you maintain a minimum balance of $2,500 or auto-deposit at least $1,000 in the same billing cycle.

Features

5

Upgrade checking account offers a long list of features, including:

  • Up to 2% cash back
  • No monthly fee
  • No ATM fee & reimbursements (see above)
  • Discounted interest rates on Upgrade loans
  • Free domestic wire transfers

Deposits and withdrawals

4

The account allows users to deposit funds into their accounts using a few different channels. Clients can utilize ACH transfers, wire transfers, and direct deposits to deposit funds. The bank does not charge the client any fees when depositing funds into the account.

You can also withdraw money from your checking account using ACH transfers, wire transfers, ATM withdrawals, and cash withdrawals at select brick-and-mortar stores. However, clients should be aware that Upgrade does not support checks for deposits or withdrawals, but you can use mobile deposits.

Customer service

4.5

If you need any help with your rewards checking account there are a few different channels that you use to get in touch. You call their customer care representatives at 844-319-3909 and get assistance over the phone from Monday-Friday, 5am-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 6am-5pm Pacific Time. You can also contact them through email at support@upgrade.com or send a tweet to @UpgradeCredit to find answers to your queries.

Safe and secure

5

Upgrade has put many security measures in place to ensure that they provide its customers with a safe and secure platform to perform banking activities. Upgrade offers a 2-step authentication process for identity verification, automatic log out to prevent unauthorized access, and account monitoring to prevent fraud. They also utilize SSL and 256-bit AES encryption to ensure your data is secure.

The funds in Upgrade -Rewards Checking account are also FDIC insured for up to $250,000 in case the institution fails and loses your money. Users also have the option to participate in credit monitoring, which sends you email alerts about your account activity. This allows account holders to detect unsolicited activities in their accounts.

Is Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account right for you?

The Upgrade – Rewards Checking Account is a no-fee online-only account that offers many additional features which make it a great candidate for anyone looking for a checking account. The account comes with a 2% cash back on common everyday expenses and 1% on everything else. The account does not charge holders any maintenance fee, ATM fee, or overdraft fee.

The account holders also do not need to maintain a certain balance to avoid fees. However, maintaining $2,500 in the account of depositing $1,000 during a billing cycle does provide you reimbursement on third-party ATM charges. Upgrade also offers an online dashboard and mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices for users to manage their accounts. This account can be a great option for you if you are looking for a checking account with no maintenance fee and great features. However, the lack of checks and physical locations is something you should consider before making a decision.

1 There are no account fees, overdraft fees, annual fees, or transfer fees associated with Rewards Checking accounts. Rewards Checking charges no ATM fees, but third-party institutions may charge you a fee if you use their ATM/network or if you use your Upgrade VISA® Debit Card internationally. Upgrade will rebate any ATM fee charged by another institution for debit card withdrawals in the United States, up to five times per calendar month. To be eligible to receive third-party ATM fee rebates in any calendar month for eligible ATM withdrawals made during that month, customers must have (i) an open Rewards Checking account and (ii) either maintained an average daily balance in their account of at least $2,500 in the prior calendar month or made direct deposits into their account totaling at least $1,000 during the prior calendar month. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for up to the first 2 calendar months after account opening regardless of account activity. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

2 Rewards Checking customers earn 2% cash back on common everyday expenses at convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and bars – including deliveries – and gas stations, as well as recurring payments on utilities and monthly subscriptions including phone, cable, TV and other streaming services, and 1% cash back on all other debit card charges. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card charges for the remainder of the year. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

3 Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Rewards Checking services provided by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC. Upgrade VISA® Debit Cards issued by Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Personal Loans made by Upgrade’s bank partners. Personal Credit Lines are issued by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. The Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.