The following post was sponsored by our partner, Upgrade Card. The analysis and opinions in this article are our own and may not reflect the views of the Upgrade Card. Learn more about our editorial policy.
If you’re eyeing a large lot or wondering how to cover upcoming expenses, the Cash Reward Visa® Upgrade Card can be the perfect financing option, offering the flexibility of a credit card along with simple repayment plans. If you have good credit, you also have a chance of getting a lower interest rate and a higher line of credit than traditional credit cards usually offer.
We’ve broken down the basics of how the Upgrade Card works and what makes it a smart choice for financing your purchases, as well as some of the advantages it has over a popular alternative like store financing.
How does the upgrade map work?
The Upgrade Card is a unique free loan tool that combines the flexibility of a credit card with the fixed repayment terms of a personal loan to help you financially. Applicants with a good credit history may even have the potential for a lower annual interest rate than credit cards typically have.
If you qualify, you will be offered a line of credit and an annual interest rate. You can then use the card to make purchases just like you would with a traditional credit card. Alternatively, you can transfer funds directly to your bank account under the same terms and conditions as when making purchases (unlike credit cards, which tend to charge a higher rate for cash advances).
Each statement, write-off or write-off period on your card is automatically combined into an installment plan from 12 to 60 months, depending on your creditworthiness. You will then make fixed, equal monthly payments in a plan designed to help you pay off your balance quickly and save more on interest payments than if you were making minimum credit card payments.
Benefits of financing purchases with an Upgrade Card
The upgrade card offers several benefits if you want to pay for your purchases over time and not have to invest a ton of money up front. Not only do you stand a chance of getting a lower interest rate and higher credit line compared to traditional credit cards, you can also take advantage of a predictable installment payment plan to keep your repayment efforts on track. This is especially helpful for cardholders who find it difficult to pay monthly credit card bills.
Some of the benefits of financing purchases with an Upgrade Card include:
- Chance for the lowest interest rate: If you have an excellent credit history, you can qualify for an annual interest rate of just 8.99%, which is unheard of even among the best low interest rate credit cards.
- Potentially Huge Line of Credit: The Upgrade Card comes with a personal line of credit ranging from $500 to $25,000, which can be a life saver if you need to fund especially large expenses such as furniture or home renovations.
- Check your line of credit and annual interest rate before filling out an application: With a traditional credit card, you won’t know your credit limit or annual interest rate until you’re approved. The upgrade card gives you a much better idea of both before you fill out an application, allowing you to make an informed decision on how best to proceed and which purchases to prioritize. Plus, you can check your line of credit and APR without hurting your account with a hard call.
- Transparency and predictability: You’ll know exactly what you need each month to stay on top of your repayment plan. If you stick to the Upgrade Card installment plan, you will know your payment schedule in advance and be able to pay off the balance on time.
- Convenience and flexibility: You can make purchases with your Upgrade Card online or in store wherever Visa is accepted, or you can have funds sent to your bank account. (However, you cannot use the upgrade card to withdraw cash from an ATM.)
- No Fees: The Upgrade Card has no annual fees, foreign transaction fees, cash withdrawal fees or penalties.
- Cash rewards: Unlike other cashback cards that reward you when you make a purchase, Upgrade rewards you when you make a payment of 1.5% of all purchases. 1.5% is average among other fixed rate cash back cards, and the rewards program incentivizes redemption over spending.
Upgrade Map Compared to Store Funding
Many large stores, furniture stores, electronics stores, and home improvement stores offer multi-month “like cash” or “no interest on full payment” promotional plans that promise you the ability to pay for large purchases over time without drowning in interest.
But these promotional offers may be more risky than they seem. Here’s why an Upgrade Card might be the best choice for paying for your purchases:
Deferred interest may come back to haunt you
Most store financing offers use a deferred interest model, which means that if you fail to pay off your balance before the end of the promotional period, you will be charged future interest as well as any interest accrued since the original purchase. To make matters worse, these funding plans offer little guidance on how much you should contribute each month to pay off the balance on time. They may even count on you to stumble.
With Upgrade Card installment plans, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to pay for your purchases, how long it will take, and how much you’ll pay in interest.
You are not limited to one store or purchase
As you might expect, store financing offers are limited to a single store or store family, and typically only cover one major purchase. But what if you need to finance a large project that involves several large purchases from different stores and service providers, such as a move or home renovation? You will have to apply for multiple financing plans, each with their own terms, balance, and interest rate. Your credit score may also take a hit from a few tough inquiries.
By using the Upgrade Card, you can fund large projects without having to juggle multiple promotional offers. All your payments are bundled into a single payment plan, making it easy to understand what you owe and how you’re going to pay it off.
“Buy now, pay later” is as hard as financing a store
When shopping for a new mattress or refrigerator, you may have come across advertisements or promotions for “buy now, pay later” plans. BNPL companies such as Affirm and Afterpay partner with major retailers to offer installment plans that allow you to pay for large items in equal installments over a period of time you choose. If that sounds a lot like financing a store, that’s because it is.
The main advantage of BNPL is greater transparency. Sometimes stores tempt you with 0% APR or interest-free financing, and although they exist for some items, they are only valid for a limited time. Once this promotional period is over, your APR will skyrocket. According to the confirmation page on Walmart.com, you can choose how much you want to pay and for how long (three to 24 months) at checkout.
The benefit of BNPL, which makes it particularly attractive to younger consumers, is that there is no minimum credit score to qualify. Therefore, BNPL plans will not affect your score when you apply, but they may still report your payments to credit bureaus, which will lower your score if you miss payments.
Make no mistake: BNPL plans charge APR on most purchases, and this percentage can potentially be quite high (for example, Affirm APR is between 10% and 30%). If that sounds too complicated, using an update map is the safer way.
Offering a chance at a lower annual interest rate and a higher line of credit than typically available with traditional credit cards, the renewal card is a solid option for financing your purchases. Its simple installment plans make it stand out as a smart choice for cardholders who can use a helping hand as they work to pay off their balance and avoid debt in the long run.