Upgrade offers credit to people via their cards and personal loans. But, Upgrade isn’t a bank, it’s a fintech company from San Francisco that has to use traditional, fully-fledged banks to offer its services.
Upgrade has therefore partnered with four traditional banks:
- Sutton Bank (issues the Upgrade Card)
- Cross River Bank (personal loans, personal credit lines, and auto refinance loans)
- Blue Ridge Bank (personal loans and auto refinance loans)
- WebBank (personal loans 2017-2020)
How to Set up Upgrade Direct Deposits
Setting up direct deposit on Upgrade’s mobile app is straightforward and takes a couple of minutes. You don’t even have to know the “real” bank’s name or Upgrade’s routing and account numbers.
You basically have two options:
- To set up automatically
- To generate and send a letter
If you work for a well-known company, your best bet is to sign into the Upgrade account and tap on “Set Up Direct Deposit.” From here, all you have to do is locate your employer or payroll company and enter your login credentials.
The system will take it from there, and your direct deposit will generally commence in 1-3 payroll cycles.
If you’d rather do this manually or you can’t find your payer or payroll company in the app, navigate to “Set Up Direct Deposit” and generate a pre-filled letter that you need to send to the payroll. You can either send it via email or send it with snail mail.
What Banks Does Upgrade Partner With?
Because Upgrade is a fintech company and not a bank, they have to partner with traditional banks and even other financial institutions to issue their cards and loans.
For instance, we have Cross River Bank, a New Jersey commercial bank, that Upgrade uses to originate personal loans, personal credit lines, and auto refinance loans.
Then there’s the Blue Ridge Bank, a nationally-chartered commercial bank, which originates personal loans and auto refinance loans for Upgrade.
Privately held independent community bank, Sutton Bank, issues the Upgrade Card. And lastly, there’s WebBank, which originated Upgrade’s personal loans from 2017 through January 2020.
All of the above-mentioned banks are fully-fledged banks and Member FDIC.
What is the Upgrade Card With a Personal Credit Line?
If you’re still somewhat confused as to what Upgrade’s card is, let’s shine a bit of light on it. Upgrade Card has both a fixed rate and fixed payments, so you know exactly when you will pay off your balance and save on interest.
Conventional credit cards like to keep you in debt as long as they can, with minimum payments that pay back very little of the principal balance.
Here’s a breakdown of how much interest you’d have to pay on a $5,000 balance with an Upgrade Card in comparison to a traditional credit card if you were to make only a credit card’s monthly minimum payment.
|Monthly payment||Time to pay off the balance||Interest paid over that time|
|UPGRADE CARD||$252.25||3 years||$1,575.71|
|TRAD. CREDIT CARD||Varies||22 years||$6,923.09|
The reason why there’s no definitive minimum payment on a credit card is that it would start at $125 for the 1st payment and would then vary and decrease until it’s paid down.
The calculation was done assuming a $5,000 starting balance, an “interest + 1%” minimum payment, and a national average rate for a good credit interest rate of 18%.
In the case of Upgrade, the interest of $1,575.71 assumes installment payments of $252.25 for 36 months.
About Sutton Bank
Sutton Bank was founded in Attica, Ohio in 1878 and is a medium-sized, full-service bank. Although it has only a handful of brick-and-mortar locations, it is also available online or, even better, on a mobile app.
The Bank has a full suite of financial products:
- Savings and checking accounts,
- Money market accounts,
- Credit cards,
- CDs, and
Sutton Bank is also the card issuer for other fintech companies:
- Cash App
About Cross River Bank
Cross River Bank was founded in 2008 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, by French-born entrepreneur Gilles Gade as a community bank.
Early on, the bank, Member FDIC, focused on making partnerships with fintech companies such as Affirm, Checkout.com, Divvy, Coinbase, Best Egg, Coinbase, Rocket Loans Freedom Financial, Pay.com, and Stripe.
The bank is a technology infrastructure provider that powers lending and payments for these up-and-coming fintechs.
In 2022, the bank was funded to the tune of $620 million with a valuation of $2.4 billion. Investors that typically invest in fintech companies and not traditional banks have recognized what Cross River Bank is doing and have heavily invested in it.
The bank was also notably officially recognized as the “Best Place to Work in Financial Technology” for 5 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022) by American Banker.
About Blue Ridge Bank
Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., is a nationally-chartered commercial bank, Member FDIC, and Upgrade’s lender of personal loans.
It was founded in 1958 in Blue Ridge, Missouri. Today, the bank is one of the largest independently owned community banks in Missouri, with 8 branches and over $500 million in assets.
WebBank is a Utah chartered industrial bank headquartered in Salt Lake City. They like to call themselves “The Bank Behind the Brand” because they issue consumer and small business credit products to fintech, SaaS, and finance companies, as well as manufacturers and retailers.
Upgrade and other digital banks have to partner with traditional banks to offer their financial services.
More often than not, digital banks are brands at the forefront of the operation and conventional banks are the ones issuing debit and credit cards, lending, mortgages, insurance products, and more.
Upgrade has partnered with Sutton Bank, Member FDIC, which issues the Upgrade cards, and Cross River Bank, Member FDIC, which issues rewards checking accounts.