Online lender and aspiring neobank Upgrade has launched its first contactless-enabled Upgrade Card. The new Upgrade Card is also available in digital form through both Apple Pay and Google Pay to enable mobile payments, according to a release from the company.
Upgrade notes that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended last month that consumers limit the use of banknotes and use contactless cards or smartphone payments to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. Upgrade is now providing a path for its users to go contactless.
Renaud Laplanche, Upgrade co-founder and CEO, said that more customers have been shopping online since the advent of the COVID-19 crisis but still many are using their cards in stores:
“We want to do what we can to keep our customers safe and give them a smarter way to pay,” said Laplanche.
Launched in October 2019, Upgrade Card reports growing adoption in the U.S. with an annual rate of $500 million in new credit lines being made available to consumers.
Upgrade Card differentiates itself from more traditional credit cards because monthly charges are combined into installment plans payable over 24 to 60 months. This helps consumers be more disciplined but it also lowers the overall cost for consumers while enabling them to avoid the debt trap of traditional credit cards.
Upgrade Card does not require any fees. It comes with a line of credit from $500 to $20,000.
The card is accepted anywhere Visa is accepted so just about everywhere.