Upromise is a service that allows you to earn cash back from your regular purchases to save for college and pay off student loans. In this Upromise review, you’ll learn its pros and cons, how to join its free loyalty program, and how to decide if it’s worth it for you.
- Upromise overview
- Upromise pros and cons
- Who Upromise is best for
- How Upromise works
- How to earn rewards with Upromise
- Upromise Mastercard overview
- Upromise review: Our verdict
- Upromise was founded in 2000 to help people save for college by allowing you to link your Upromise account with a 529 college savings plan, a type of savings account sponsored by a state that allows you to save for a postsecondary education. A year later, it launched its rewards program, offering cash back to parents saving up for their children’s college education.
- In 2020, Upromise was acquired by Prodege, a media company that offers marketing and consumer insights, from Sallie Mae.
- Upromise has more than 500,000 active members and reports having helped its members earn more than $1 billion in cash back to help cover college costs.
While our Upromise review shows there’s plenty of opportunities for you to save up for college expenses more quickly, there are also variables to consider before signing up for Upromise, especially the Upromise Mastercard.
|Earn money with the cash-back rewards program by visiting restaurants||Can only earn cash back at particular restaurants if you don’t have the Upromise Upromise® Mastercard®|
|Tap into more rewards and cash-back features with the Upromise® Mastercard®||If you sign up for the Upromise® Mastercard®, you could be tempted to take on more debt|
|Upromise is free to sign up for||Low cash-back rate at 1.529% with the Upromise® Mastercard® (As of Sept. 9, 2021)|
|Link your Upromise account to your 529 plan and save more quickly||Upromise® Mastercard® has high APR rates|
If you or a loved one has or will have college expenses to pay off or need help saving up for school, Upromise is worth a look. People paying off student loans can use Upromise’s cash back as a supplement to other repayment strategies.
To use Upromise, you must be at least 13 years old and a resident of the U.S. or its territories.
In order to apply for Upromise, which is free to join, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Date of birth
- Mailing address
- Email address
- Who you’re saving for
Once you enroll, you can register your debit and credit cards (up to 12). That way, you earn cash back regardless of which card you use.
When you spend money with Upromise’s partners, Upromise receives a commission. Then, the company shares a portion of that commission with you in the form of cash back.
Upromise partners with more than 10,000 restaurants and offers the Upromise® Mastercard® to make it easy to earn cash back on everyday purchases. You also can earn cash back on groceries, online shopping and through the monthly scholarship giveaway.
How to earn cash back with Upromise
There are several ways to earn cash back with the Upromise program. (All rates current as of Sept. 9, 2021.)
- Online or in-person shopping: At one point, Upromise allowed users to earn cash-back rewards through shopping online stores using their debit or credit cards, but now you must use the Upromise Mastercard in order to earn cash back. Cardmembers can earn up to 1.529% cash back using their Upromise® Mastercard®.
- Restaurants: If you like to eat out, you’ll earn 2.5% cash back on your entire bill at participating restaurants with the Upromise dining program. Just be sure to use a linked credit or debit card to pay. If you use your Upromise® Mastercard® at a participating restaurant, you can earn 5% cash back.
How to redeem your Upromise cash-back rewards
Once you start earning cash back, Upromise makes it easy to redeem your rewards.
- Link your Upromise account to your 529 college savings plan or checking/savings account.
- Earn enough cash-back rewards to get your funds transferred to your 529, checking or savings account; your minimum transfer requirement is determined by how many as well as the types of accounts you have linked to your Upromise account.
- Once you earn the minimum amount, your rewards will be automatically transferred to your desired account within seven business days (45 if it’s a 529 college savings account).
With a Upromise® Mastercard®, you may be able to save up even more quickly for your or your child’s college expenses.
The Upromise® Mastercard® comes with 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 45 days of opening an account. After those 15 months, you’ll be charged with a variable APR rate based on current market rates — as of Sept. 2, 2021, those ranged from 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% Variable, based on your creditworthiness applied to cash advances.
Similar to online shopping or making purchases at restaurants, you can earn cash back with your Upromise® Mastercard®. If you link your Upromise account to a college savings account, when you spend with a Upromise® Mastercard®, you can earn 1.529% cash back. If you use your Upromise® Mastercard® and your Upromise account is not linked to a college savings account, you’ll only get 1.25% cash back.
The Upromise® Mastercard® is also eligible for the Upromise Round Up feature, which is optional for users. This allows you to round up your spendings so you can earn even more cash back. For example, if you choose to round up your purchases to the nearest dollar, if you spend $4.50 on a coffee, your purchase would round up to $5 and the 50 cents would become part of your cash-back reward.
The Upromise® Mastercard® also offers the following perks:
- No annual fees
- $100 cash back if you spend $500 in the first 90 days
- No fees when you spend money on international purchases
- $0 fraud liability protection
- Free access to your FICO credit score
All things considered, our Upromise review found the Upromise cash-back program is a great option if you are currently in school or you have a child who is starting school soon. With a short-term need like that, keeping your money safe is more important than getting the best return.
If college is a long way off, however, you might be better off investing your savings to get a better return.
Upromise isn’t the only cash-back portal out there, though. Others — such as Rakuten (formerly Ebates), TopCashback and BeFrugal — might have more partners for online shopping. They might offer better cash-back rates, too.
That said, Upromise’s strength lies in its goal: to help you pay down your student debt or save for future college expenses. Because of this focus, you’re more likely to use your cash rewards for that reason over something else.
Of course, you can get your Upromise cash back transferred to your checking account instead of using it to pay off student loans or save for college. But the psychological benefit of using the funds to pay for college costs is the real selling point.
In other words, we all know paying down student debt and saving for college are priorities. Upromise can hopefully help ensure they stay that way.
The information related to Upromise® Mastercard® has been independently collected by Student Loan Hero and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|2.49% – 11.72%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.30%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|4.13% – 7.39%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.99%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.24% – 8.24%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 7.98%||Undergrad |
|1.74% – 7.99%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.69% – 9.92%8||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 6, 2022.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $9 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 09/09/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 4.13% APR – 7.39% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR – 9.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.
5 Important Disclosures for Navient.
6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR).
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).
Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).
Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).