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Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus Review

Get more value with a better banking experience

Reviews 40,026
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
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Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Excellent
Reviews 40,026
Michael Graw
Sep. 21, 2023
5 min read
Michael Graw
Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus Summary
Upgrade is a San Francisco-based online bank founded in 2017. It offers a checking account, credit cards, personal loans, and a credit monitoring and education center. Upgrade’s Rewards Checking Plus account offers 2% cash back on certain types of purchases¹ made with your debit card up to $500 per year, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Rewards Checking Plus account has no monthly fees.²

Pros

  • No monthly or ATM fees²
  • Up to 2% cash back on debit card purchases¹
  • No minimum deposit required

Cons

  • No cash deposits
  • Limited online accounting dashboard

Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus at a glance

9.2
Editorial score

Fees?

No monthly fees
10.0

Security

FDIC insured, SSL/AES encryption and supports 2 factor and biometric authentication
10.0

Customer service

Early morning, evening and weekend service with multiple communication options and a dedicated fraud team
8.0

Online experience

User friendly site with full online banking capabilities
8.0

Mobile experience

Excellent mobile app with all mobile banking features enabled, including digital check deposits
10.0

Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus Visit Upgrade

Advantages Over Traditional Banks

The Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account offers zero monthly fees and there’s no minimum deposit required to open an account. You also don't have to pay ATM fees, or even overdraft fees.

In addition, the Rewards Checking Plus account offers cash back on every purchase you make using your Visa debit card. You’ll receive 2% back on purchases¹ made at convenience stores, drug stores, gas stations, and restaurants. You’ll also get 2% back for many monthly subscriptions and utilities.

Upgrade now offers a high yield savings account to customers who already have a checking account. Account holders can earn 4.81% Average Percentage Yield.³

The 2% cash back¹ offer is limited to $500 per year in certain categories, after which you’ll receive 1% back. All other purchases also receive 1% cash back. 

A few other Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus highlights include:

  • Maximize your rewards with direct deposit⁴
  • Get paid up to 2 days early⁵

Upgrade offers a browser-based dashboard as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android to manage your Rewards Checking Plus account. The online dashboard enables you to tag transactions and automatically pay your bills online. However, it doesn’t enable you to integrate accounts from other banks, and there aren’t many tools for monitoring your spending over time.

Upgrade also has an online credit monitoring and education center. You can monitor your credit score for free and get weekly updates on any changes. You can also sign up for email alerts to find out if your score is changing and quickly identify potential fraud.

Traditional Banking Services

Upgrade offers personal loans and credit cards in addition to the Rewards Checking Plus account. The company’s 4 credit cards are all free of annual fees and offer up to 3% in cash back on select purchases.

Importantly, Upgrade does not have any physical branches or in-network ATMs. Upgrade does not charge ATM fees, but you may be charged a fee by the bank that owns any ATM you use.

Interest Rates and Fees

Upgrade’s Rewards Checking Plus account offers cash back on debit card purchases rather than interest. You’ll earn 2% cash back¹ up to $500 per year on convenience store, drug store, gas station, restaurant, subscription, and utilities purchases. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The Rewards Checking Plus account doesn’t require a minimum account balance and doesn’t charge any monthly fees. There are also no ATM or overdraft fees.²

Account Fee
Minimum Balance
ATM Fee
Overdraft Fee
None
None
None
None

Customer Service and Online Experience

Upgrade offers customer support by phone and email. You can get in touch from 6AM-6PM (PT) Monday-Friday and from 6AM-5PM Saturday-Sunday. There’s also a detailed online knowledge base where you can find out more about how to use your Rewards Checking Plus dashboard and Upgrade’s other products.

Upgrade’s online dashboard is easy to use. You can see a list of all your transactions and tag them for organization. You can also see your current cash back balance. A bill pay center enables you to set up automatic payments for utilities, credit cards, loans, and other recurring bills.

Upgrade has a 4.7-star rating on Trustpilot, with more than 25,000 reviews, and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Mobile App

Upgrade has a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The mobile app offers much of the same functionality of the online dashboard, including the ability to track transactions and set up automatic bill pay. You can also lock your debit card if it’s ever lost or stolen.

The Upgrade Visa debit card is compatible with both Google Pay and Apple Pay.

 Security

Upgrade secures your account with SSL and 256-bit AES encryption. The Rewards Checking Plus account is insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. You can also sign up for credit monitoring and email alerts through Upgrade to quickly detect potential fraud in your account.

 Summary

Upgrade is an online bank that offers a checking account, personal loans, and annual fee-free credit cards. The Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account offers up to 2% cash back on everyday purchases¹ up to $500 per year and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There are no account fees, no ATM fees, and no overdraft fees², and you’re not required to keep a minimum balance in your account. You can manage your transactions through an online dashboard or the Upgrade mobile app for iOS and Android.

Methodology

This review was created using information from the Upgrade website, Trustpilot, and the Better Business Bureau.

Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus Visit Upgrade

Disclaimer

Upgrade is a financial technology company, not a bank. Rewards Checking Plus 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.

¹ Rewards Checking Plus customers who set-up monthly direct deposits of $1,000 or more 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 purchases. 2% cash back is limited to $500 in rewards per calendar year; after $500, customers earn 1% cash back on all eligible debit card purchases for the remainder of the year. Rewards Checking Plus accounts with less than $1,000 in monthly direct deposits 60 days after account opening will earn 1% cash back on common everyday expenses and 0.50% cash back on all other eligible debit card purchases. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

² There are no overdraft fees or annual fees associated with Rewards Checking Plus accounts. Rewards Checking Plus 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. For Active Accounts, Upgrade will rebate ATM fees 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 on a Rewards Checking Plus account, the account must be an Active Account in the prior calendar month. See the Active Account page for more information. As a courtesy to new customers, Upgrade will provide third-party ATM fee rebates for 60 days after account opening regardless of account user status. Some limitations apply. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Checking Deposit Account Agreement and Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information.

³ The 1.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for the Performance Savings account is effective as of June 1, 2023. The APY for the Performance Savings account is variable and may change at any time. Active Accounts qualify for 5.07% APY with monthly $1000 direct deposit. The APY for Active Accounts is effective as of September 1, 2023, is variable, and may change at any time. Please refer to the applicable Cross River Bank Performance Savings Deposit Account Agreement and Truth in Savings Disclosure.

To earn APY, you must open and fund a Performance Savings account. Rewards Checking Plus accounts do not earn APY.

⁴ Active Accounts with a monthly direct deposit of $1000 are eligible for additional benefits on Rewards Checking Plus such as additional cash back rewards, ATM fee reimbursement, and more.

⁵ Early direct deposit requires set up of recurring electronic direct deposit from your employer, payroll, or benefits provider and is limited to direct deposits under $5000. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing in which we receive notice of impending direct deposit, which is generally up to two days before the scheduled deposit date.

Michael Graw
Written by
Michael Graw
Michael Graw is a Bellingham, Washington-based writer focusing on finance, tech, and science. His work has been featured in print magazines and high-impact websites. He writes for BestMoney and enjoys helping readers make sense of the options on the market.‎
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Trustpilot reviews
See what some customers are saying about Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus
Excellent • Reviews 40,026
on
Excellent
81%
Great
11%
Average
3%
Poor
1%
Bad
4%
We upload 100 to 400 Trustpilot reviews to our website daily, displaying them by default from "best" to "worst". You have the option to adjust the sorting criteria. If you wish to see all reviews, you can visit Trustpilot's website here.
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steve
11 hours ago
A very easy process
A very easy process
Randy Kubli
12 hours ago
Efficient system and streamline…Installment loan
Efficient system and streamline technology to finalize loan approval and distribution.
DI
Diane Iverson
1 day ago
Easy and quick loan!
I have to say!This loan was the easiest, quickest, most stress less loan I have ever engaged in.
Michelle Vickers
2 days ago
Great lender to work with
It's such a quick and easy process from start to finish. I'm so impressed and couldn't be happier. I previously received a loan almost two years ago and just applied again. The transfers were done within a few days.
Nigel Palmer
4 days ago
Upgrade has been extremely easy to work…
Upgrade has been extremely easy to work with. the Process of getting a loan was easy and straight forward. When I paid off my other loan with them early, there was no issues or extra hidden fees.
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