Quick Take: Upgrade is a virtual bank, or neobank, with checking and savings accounts, credit cards and personal loans. It has no fees for its deposit products and offers higher-than-average interest rates on savings. Its Rewards Checking account pays up to 2% cash back on debit card purchases.
- Checking Account
- Savings Accounts
- Upgrade OneCard
- Banking Experience
How did we calculate this?
- Earn cash back on debit card purchases
- Earn 4.13% APY interest on $1,000 or more in savings
- No monthly fees
- Free same-day transfers offered
- No physical branches or ATMs
Upgrade is an online-only, financial technology company, which is also sometimes known as a fintech. Upgrade itself is not a bank, but the banking services offered on its site are administered by Cross River Bank and Sutton Bank. Upgrade offers checking and savings accounts, a credit card, personal loans and more.
Here are some of the key features of Upgrade’s banking products and services.
Rewards Checking Account
Upgrade offers a Rewards Checking account that gives you cash back on debit card purchases, which is unusual. But what’s even rarer is the amount of cash back you get. You’ll get 2% cash back on purchases you make at convenience and drug stores, gas stations and restaurants. You’ll also get 2% cash back on monthly subscriptions such as streaming services, and also on utilities and cell phone bills. Then you get 1% cash back on everything else. There’s no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
Upgrade Premier Savings
The Upgrade Premier Savings account pays APY interest on balances of $1,000 or more. There are no monthly fees to eat into your earnings, either. You can transfer money to and from other banks on the same day, and there are no fees for that either.
The Upgrade OneCard acts like both a debit and a credit card – you can choose whether you pay now with no interest –like a debit card– or whether you pay later, just like a credit card. You won’t be charged an annual fee.
If you get the Upgrade OneCard credit card with your Rewards Checking account, you get an extra 1% cash back – so, 3% cash back on your everyday purchases and 2% cash back on everything else. Plus, you get a $400 welcome bonus when you use a new Rewards Checking account and make three purchases with your Upgrade OneCard.
GOBankingRates has ranked Upgrade among the Best Neobanks of 2023 and also mentioned in the Best Online and Neobank Savings Accounts of 2023.
Upgrade is a fintech company, with its banking products underwritten by banks, so deposit accounts are FDIC-insured. Upgrade has no branches and no ATMs. They do not charge ATM fees for customers who use other ATMs but those ATMs may charge a fee.
Upgrade offers a suite of credit health tools to help customers understand their credit score. You can also get personalized recommendations on how to improve your credit score and weekly updates to keep you on track.
Upgrade offers a robust mobile app, as you might expect from an online-only bank. The app lets you check your balance and available credit, pay your bills, transfer funds and stay on top of your credit health. The Upgrade mobile app has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on the App Store and 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google Play.
Comparable Neobank Options
Choosing a bank is a big decision and you’ll want to compare to make sure you’re getting the features you want. Here are some other options to consider.
Lending Club Bank
Lending Club Bank is also a neobank and offers many of the same products and features as Upgrade. The interest rate on savings is slightly higher, at 3.60% APY on any balance. Lending Club Bank offers cash back on debit card purchases as well, but you earn 1% on all purchases and your debit card needs to be tied to an account with a balance of at least $2,500, or into which you have direct deposits of at least $2,500 per month.
ONE Finance is a fintech company that offers banking products through Coastal Community Bank. With the ONE debit card, you earn 2% cashback up to $50 on purchases you make at gas stations, drug stores, and Walmart, in the first twelve months you have the card. Interest on the ONE savings account is APY. ONE offers a $25 bonus for your first direct deposit and a $10 bonus for your first purchase of $10 or more.
Upgrade offers most of the banking services most consumers need, and has great interest rates on savings accounts. The cashback on debit card purchases is a big advantage. If you’re looking for an online-only bank and want the one that will help you make the most of your money, Upgrade is worth a serious look.
Upgrade FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Upgrade.
- Is Upgrade a legitimate bank?
- Upgrade is a fintech company, not a bank. Checking and savings accounts, debit cards and personal credit lines are issued by Cross River Bank. Deposits are FDIC insured through Cross River Bank. Upgrade Cards are issued by Sutton Bank.
- What bank is Upgrade associated with?
- The checking and savings accounts offered by Upgrade are provided by Cross River Bank, which also makes Upgrade’s personal credit lines. Personal loans and auto refinance loans are made by Cross River Bank and Blue Ridge Bank. Upgrade Visa Debit Cards are issued by Cross River Bank. Upgrade cards — its credit cards — are issued by Sutton Bank.
- What bank owns Upgrade card?
- Upgrade debit cards are issued by Cross River Bank, and Upgrade credit cards are issued by Sutton Bank, both pursuant to a license from Visa USA, Inc. Since Upgrade is a financial technology company and not a bank, it cannot issue bank cards itself.
- Where is Upgrade bank?
- Upgrade has its headquarters in San Francisco, California, and a regional office in Atlanta, Georgia. It also has a service center in Phoenix, Arizona, and an engineering center in Montreal, Ontario, Canada.
Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 10, 2022.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.
To determine rankings for the Best Online Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors across exclusively online banks: (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (3) savings APY; (4) 1-year CD APY; (5) customer service options and mobile products offered (24/7 customer service, live chat with a human, mobile app and remote check deposit); (6) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (7) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (8) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. Factors (1) and (2) were weighted 0.5 times, and factors (3) and (7) were weighted 2 times. For all savings and checking account data, only the basic accounts/products offered at each institution were analyzed.
To determine rankings for the Best Online Bank and Neobank Savings Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all online banks and neobanks: (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) minimum deposit to open an account; (3) monthly savings fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (4) minimum balance needed in account to earn APY; (5) savings APY; and (6) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factor (1) was weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighed 1.5 times and factor (5) was weighted 3 times.
Is this your bank?
Take Advantage of our Best Offer(s)