Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

Upgrade Rewards Checking review

Earn 2% cashback on everyday purchases and 1% back on everything else, but it has severe limitations.’s rating: 4.3 / 5.0


The Upgrade Rewards Checking account has no fees and comes with a Visa debit card that earns 2% on utilities, subscriptions and everyday expenses and 1% back on other purchases. But you can’t deposit cash or checks and you can only get five ATM fees reimbursed a month when you meet specific requirements.

No reviews yet. Write a review

$0 per month





Minimum deposit to open


Fee$0 per month
Minimum deposit to open$0
ATMsUpgrade will rebate ATM fees charged by another institution up to five times a month when you meet certain conditions.
ATM transaction fee$0
ATM fee rebatesUpgrade will reimburse ATM fees charged by another institution up to five times a month when you maintain an average daily balance of $2500 or have direct deposits totalling $1000 in the previous month
Out-of-network ATM fee$0
Overdraft fee$0
Learn moreApply now

Review by

Michael Benninger is a staff banking writer at Finder. He is a former credit analyst and longtime freelancer whose articles have been published by Intuit, Business Insider and the Los Angeles Times. Michael is passionate about all facets of personal finance and has written hundreds of articles about money management during the past decade.

Expert review

The Upgrade Rewards Checking account offers up to 2% cash back when you use it at restaurants, gas stations and more — with a limit of up to $500 a year. But there’s no limit on the amount of money you can receive on 1% cashback rewards when you use your debit card on other purchases.

If you spend about $387 a month on groceries, you could earn up to $7.74 back. So in one year, that’s equivalent to earning $92.88 in groceries alone. And if you spend about $250 a month on gas, that’s $5 you’d get back or $60 in a year.

But that’s about all this account has going for it. There’s no way to deposit cash or checks into your account and Upgrade imposes strict limitations on its ATM reimbursements. To be eligible for an ATM reimbursement you’ll need to maintain a balance of $2,500 or have at least $1,000 direct-deposited into your account.

Several other rewards checking accounts provide better ATM access and more ways to deposit funds into your account.


Earn a $200 bonus welcome bonus in your Upgrade Cash Rewards Card

To qualify for the $200 welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Upgrade Rewards Checking account along with your Upgrade Cash Rewards Card and make three debit card transactions within 60 days of your Upgrade card account opening. Your bonus rewards credit will post in your Upgrade card within 1 to 2 billing periods.

How do I open an Upgrade Rewards Checking account?

Opening an Upgrade Rewards Checking account only takes a few minutes.

  1. Select Apply now.
  2. From the provider site and select Rewards Checking then Get started.
  3. Enter your home address, city, state and ZIP code, then choose Continue.
  4. Choose whether you plan to use your card in the US or in the US and abroad.
  5. Enter your email address and create a password, then agree to the terms and conditions and choose Continue.
  6. Enter your date of birth and Social Security number.
  7. Answer questions about your employment and income, then select Submit.


To open an Upgrade Rewards Checking account, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A US resident

Required information

You’ll need to provide the following information when applying for an account.

  • Social Security number
  • Details from a government-issued ID

What are the Upgrade Rewards Checking account benefits?

The Upgrade Rewards Checking account is insured up to $250,000 and offers these features:

  • Cashback rewards. Earn 2% cash back at bars, restaurants, gas stations, drugstores and convenience stores and for food deliveries, utilities and monthly subscriptions, but there’s a limit of up to $500 a year you can receive. You’ll also earn 1% cashback on all other debit card charges with no limit.
  • No fees. The Upgrade Rewards Checking account doesn’t charge ATM, overdraft or monthly maintenance fees.
  • ATM reimbursements. Upgrade will reimburse any ATM fees you pay up to five times a month. But only if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500 or have at least $1,000 automatically deposited into your account during the same billing cycle as the ATM withdrawals.
  • Discounted loans. Get a discounted interest rate on an Upgrade loan if you have an active Rewards Checking account.
  • Free domestic wire transfers. There’s no fee for incoming or outgoing domestic wire transfers, though you may pay fees for international transfers.

What should I look out for?

The Upgrade Rewards Checking account has some drawbacks that might be deal-breakers for you.

  • Can’t write or deposit checks. Like most online banks, Upgrade doesn’t offer checkbooks or allow you to deposit checks.
  • No chat support. Unlike some other online-only accounts, Upgrade doesn’t offer chat support via the company’s website. However, live representatives are available over the phone on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.

Upgrade‘s ATM network and fees

Unlike most other banks, Upgrade doesn’t have a relationship with any regional or nationwide ATM networks. And although Upgrade doesn’t charge any ATM fees, you may incur a fee from the ATM owner. However, Upgrade will reimburse these fees up to five times each month, but only if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500 or receive at least $1,000 in direct deposits during the same billing cycle.

Compare Upgrade Rewards Checking with other checking accounts

See how other checking accounts stack up based on their monthly fees, ATM networks and minimum initial deposits.

Name Product APY Minimum deposit to open ATMs Out-of-network ATM fee Offer
HSBC Premier Checking
Finder Rating: 3.5 / 5: ★★★★★
HSBC Premier Checking
0.01% on balances of $5+
Free to use at all ATMs in the US
Get a $500 welcome bonus when you open your account with qualifying activities. Must open HSBC Premier checking account through offer page by February 15, 2023, and set up qualifying direct deposits into the new account totalling at least $10,000 per month for three consecutive months. Conditions apply. Deposit products are offered in the US by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.

HSBC Premier Checking offers free global transfers and 24/7 customer support.
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Aspiration Spend & Save Account
5.00% on balances of $0 to $10,000
3.00% on balances of $0 to $10,000
55,000+ free Allpoint ATMs worldwide
Deposits are fossil fuel-free and insured by the FDIC. Enjoy a spend and save combo account with unlimited cash back rewards.
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
55,000 AllPoint ATMs around the world for free
Earn $30 bonuses every time a friend signs up for an account and deposits at least $20 in one transaction
No monthly fees. No foreign transaction fees. No fees at 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs.
Chime Checking account
Finder Rating: 4.7 / 5: ★★★★★
Chime Checking account
60,000+ fee-free ATMs
Get rid of fees with this financial app offering consumer-friendly accounts. Chime can also help you save easily and access your paycheck faster.
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5: ★★★★★
Axos Bank Rewards Checking
1.25% on balances of $0 to $50,000
ATM fees reimbursed at any ATM nationwide
Earn up to 1.25% APY while enjoying a suite of digital tools for smarter money management.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I deposit or withdraw my money?

There are a few different ways to move money into and out of your Upgrade Rewards Checking account.


  • Direct deposit. Your employer can deposit funds directly into your account.
  • ACH transfers. Move money between bank accounts.
  • Incoming wire transfers. Accept incoming domestic wire transfers without paying a fee.


  • ATM. Withdraw money from your account at any ATM.
  • Cashback. Make cash withdrawals from your account at certain brick-and-mortar retailers when making purchases.
  • ACH transfers. Use the Upgrade app or website to transfer money to another bank account.
  • Outgoing wire transfers. Send outgoing domestic wire transfers without paying a fee.

How can I contact Upgrade?

There are three ways to reach Upgrade:

  • Call 844-319-3909 to speak with a support specialist on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.
  • Email for support at any time.
  • Send a tweet to @upgradecredit.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

Ask an expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.
Go to site