Upgrade Introduces OneCard, Combining Credit and Debit

A growing FinTech startup is looking to change the way Americans pay for their purchases. This week, Upgrade unveiled its latest offering: the Upgrade. OneCard. The headlining element of the OneCard is that it combines elements of a debit card with a credit card. With the Pay Now option, purchases will automatically be paid off using available funds in a cardholder’s Rewards Checking account. Alternatively, customers can opt to Pay Later. However, in line with other Upgrade cards, Pay Later purchases will be paid off via fixed installment plans, differing from traditional credit cards.

Turning to rewards, the card boasts some attractive returns. The new offering advertises 3% cashback on “everyday purchases.” Looking closer, this category includes convenience stores, drugstores, restaurants, and gas stations. Additionally, recurring payments on utilities as well as monthly subscriptions for phone, cable, TV, and streaming services also earn 3%. However, cashback earned from these 3% categories is capped at $500 per calendar year. Meanwhile, all other purchases will earn 2% cashback.

For those interested in the OneCard, Upgrade is also currently offering a special bonus. At this time, customers who open an account and use their OneCard or Rewards Checking debit card to make three qualifying purchases will earn $400 cashback. These eligible purchases must be made within 60 days of account opening in order for customers to earn their reward. Note that the bonus will be applied as a statement credit within one to two billing periods of the requirements being met.

Commenting on the OneCard’s launch and the idea behind it, Upgrade co-founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche stated, “When paying for everyday expenses, consumers historically had to choose between a debit card to ensure they stay within budget, and a credit card to earn rewards. With Upgrade OneCard, consumers don’t have to make that choice anymore: they can use Pay Now for everyday expenses to avoid interest and fee charges, while earning credit card rewards without running the risk of falling into credit card debt.”

Upgrade’s OneCard joins the company’s growing line-up of credit card options. One year ago, the FinTech launched its Bitcoin Rewards card — which is a reskin of their Cash Rewards card, earning 1.5% back on purchases. Also offered is the Triple Cash Rewards card, offering 3%  cashback on Home, Auto, and Health spending categories.

Looking at the OneCard, Upgrade’s latest offering is interesting for a few reasons. For one, the automated debit option featured is notable even if some consumers may have already used their credit cards in similar ways. Meanwhile, perhaps the most exciting part of this option is the rewards as, on top of the flat 2% earning rate, there are several 3% categories. Add in the $400 bonus and this could easily be an attractive option. That said, with FinTechs often relying on venture capital to fuel their endeavors, there is a chance these generous rewards could be scaled back in the future. But, in the meantime, it may be worth looking into.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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