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5 Things to Know About Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus

Last updated Mar 12, 2024

The concept of a traditional checking account is simple: sign up for an account and receive checks and a debit or ATM card to withdraw your money and make transactions. Generally speaking, most checking accounts don’t come with many added financial perks. However, some do! Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus is one of them. Here’s what to know about Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus and the quick and easy process to open an account. 

woman on her phone making a purchase with a debit card

1. Earn money for making everyday purchases

Combining some of the perks you’d generally see on a traditional credit card and the simplicity of a checking account, Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus gives you money back on purchases.1 Set up a monthly direct deposit of $1,000 or more per month and you’ll earn up to 2% cash back on everyday purchases, including:

  • Convenience/drug stores (like CVS and Walgreens) 
  • Gas stations
  • Monthly subscriptions (like Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu)
  • Restaurants (like UberEats and McDonald’s)
  • Utilities and phone service (like AT&T and Verizon)

Plus, Upgrade Checking Rewards Plus offers 1% cash back on all other purchases when you set up a monthly direct deposit of $1,000 or more. Think of it this way, set up a recurring direct deposit, and your next splurge could earn you some cash back! 

2. Add on a savings account with an APY that earns 11x more than the national average

As a Rewards Checking Plus account holder, you can add on Performance Savings for even more benefits. The high-yield savings account through Upgrade offers one of the highest APYs on the market. Traditional savings accounts earn, on average, 0.46% APY (as of February 20, 2024); Performance Savings through Upgrade earns 5.21% (as of February 24, 2024) as long as you set up a recurring $1,000 monthly direct deposit.2 To put that into perspective, the table below shows how much more money you could earn on $20,000 in savings if you put that into a 5.21% APY savings account like Upgrade Performance Savings.

table showing the difference in interest earned on a high-yield savings account through Upgrade vs. a traditional savings account

Still trying to decide whether to commit to a direct deposit of $1,000 per month to enjoy a 5.21% APY? You can pair Rewards Checking Plus with Performance Savings without a direct deposit and still get 1.5% APY, which is 3x the national savings average.

3. Upgrade Checking Rewards Plus account holders can get an early payday

Looking for a little cash flow before your next paycheck hits? Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus has you covered. This perk requires you to set up direct deposit, but once you do, you can get paid up to 2 days early.3 

4. No monthly fee, no minimum balance requirements, and no overdraft fees

Many traditional checking accounts require a minimum balance to open an account and avoid monthly fees. Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus does not require a minimum balance and has no monthly fees associated with it. In addition, there are no overdraft fees with Rewards Checking Plus. We put safeguards in place to prevent you from overspending, but on the off chance an overdraft occurs, don’t panic; you won’t be charged any overdraft fees. 

5. Get potentially lower rates on personal loans and cards

Whether you’re renovating your home or you need to pay for an unexpected expense, a personal loan through Upgrade can help you make it happen. As an Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account holder, you’ll have access to potentially lower rates on personal loans and cards. You can get 10-20% lower rates on some lending product rates just by being an Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account holder.4

How do I open an Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account?

Opening an account through Upgrade is easy, and you can do it online anytime. Head over to the official Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus page and click “Open Account”. We'll ask for basic info such as your name, address, and SSN, so have that info ready and you’ll be able to apply in under 5 minutes. 

Looking for more? You can explore our credit health tools and all of our financial products on our website.


Important Information About Procedures for Opening a New Account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents.

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 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 5.21% APY with monthly $1000 direct deposit. The APY for Active Accounts is effective as of February 24, 2024, 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. The average national savings account interest rate of 0.46% is determined by the FDIC as of February 20, 2024 (FDIC National Rates). When you sign up for a Performance Savings Account, Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, will open a savings deposit account under the terms of your Savings Deposit Account Agreement. When you open your Savings Account, you will also enter into a Deposit Program Custodial Agreement. As long as you maintain an Active Account, you may be eligible to participate in the Custodial Deposit Program through your Performance Savings Account. The Custodial Deposit Program is offered by Upgrade and Cross River Bank, through which the Bank may, as your agent and custodian, place some or all of the funds in your Account into an account at another depository institution or a credit union (each, a “Participating Institution”). Each Participating Institution is either an insured depository institution at which deposits are insured by the FDIC or a credit union at which share accounts are insured by the NCUA Share Insurance Fund, subject to applicable limits. Your funds at Cross River Bank and at a Participating Institution are eligible for FDIC or NCUA insurance coverage up to $250,000 per ownership category and per institution. You will be responsible for monitoring the total amount of deposits that you hold with Cross River Bank and any Participating Institution to determine the extent of FDIC or NCUA insurance coverage available to you. You will be able to check your Upgrade dashboard to determine the amount of your funds on deposit at Cross River Bank and any Participating Institution. For more information, please refer to the Cross River Bank Savings Deposit Account Agreement and the Deposit Program Custodial Agreement.

3 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.

4 The interest rate on a new loan or credit line through Upgrade may be up to 20% lower than would otherwise be applicable without this discount, as long as you have an active Rewards Checking Plus account as described here. Other terms and conditions may apply. Please refer to the applicable Truth-in-Lending Disclosure and Loan Agreement.