This article provides information for educational purposes. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend specific investments, including stocks, securities or cryptocurrencies.
Financial startup Upgrade is adding another credit card to its collection — and adding to the growing number of credit cards that earn cryptocurrency rewards. The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card earns an unlimited 1.5% back on all purchases in the form of bitcoin.
How the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card works
As you make payments on purchases, bitcoin will be purchased on your behalf and held in a wallet provided by NYDIG, a custody and trading platform. You must open an account with NYDIG before you can sell your bitcoin, and your bitcoin can not be transferred to a separate wallet.
You can sell your bitcoin after a 90-day holding period, and you’ll pay a 1.5% transaction fee. But you can only receive the proceeds in the form of a statement credit. That means bitcoin rewards can only be used toward purchases you make on the card.
There are some geographic restrictions to note: The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card is not currently available in Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
Like its predecessors, the Upgrade Card and Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®, the $0-annual-fee Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card functions as a credit card/personal loan hybrid product. Any balance you carry is automatically converted to a fixed-rate installment plan ranging from 24 to 60 months. As of this writing, interest rates range from 8.99% to 29.99% APR, and credit lines can range from $500 to $25,000.
Who can get the Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card?
The card is available to eligible applicants right now, with no need to sign up for a waitlist. Other crypto-earning credit cards, like the BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards card and Gemini Credit Card, are only accepting potential applicants via waitlist (though BlockFi began shipping its card to waitlist members in early July 2021). There are cards currently on the market, including the SoFi Credit Card and Brex Card, that offer crypto rewards as one of several redemption options, but that’s not their sole focus.