Cross River x Upgrade
Upgrade moves beyond its flagship product—with the help of Cross River’s APIs
Upgrade: a platform that understands mainstream consumer demands
Upgrade provides customers of all demographics affordable financial products that meet their needs. Upgrade initially identified a strong value proposition for a large part of their customer base through the offering of affordable installment loans using Cross River’s marketplace lending APIs. While its flagship product, the Upgrade Card, continues to offer broad access to installment lending at millions of points of sale, the company recognized market shifts that required malleable approaches to meet evolving demands.
A unique opportunity for a debit card rewards program with Cross River’s checking accounts
As a fintech already plugged into Cross River’s banking core, Upgrade was able to harness the demands of their existing user base and explore ways to seamlessly expand into other financial products, maintaining a compliance-first approach.
In a continued partnership with Cross River, Upgrade explored launching a mobile checking account alongside a debit card with a built-in rewards program. These features enable Upgrade to anticipate trends in the market, understand consumer needs at scale, and invest in other creative programs that most benefit the end user. The information Upgrade would collect could also be used to facilitate lower risk on the credit side, and lead to better pricing and approvals—ultimately providing greater access to credit.
The solution: Upgrade Reward Accounts
Cross River leveraged its proprietary API-based core to offer FDIC-insured demand deposit accounts to Upgrade’s customers, with a debit card that allows customers to earn 2% cash back on common expenses and 1% cash back* on all other debit charges. Qualifying customers that open bank accounts with Upgrade receive up to 20% lower rates on loans which are also provided by Cross River. Cross River’s platform provides customers like Upgrade integrated banking services such as deposit accounts including savings and FBO, debit card issuance, and credit card issuance, so Cross River was a natural fit as the provider of additional banking services for Upgrade.
Features of Upgrade’s Rewards Checking program for account holders:
Instant account opening online
No ATM fees, no account fees, no transfer fees
Unlimited cash back on debit charges
Add a savings account with 3.75% APY
Up to 20% lower rate on loans % cards through Upgrade
Leveraging Cross River’s banking charter, technological capabilities and core processor, Upgrade continues to grow and deliver expanded offerings to their customers.
*All rewards are subject to change
Cross River’s choice to build their own core processor speaks to their appetite for solving problems on their own. This deep commitment to their own tech stack played a big factor behind why we chose them to implement our mobile banking program.
Our relationship with Upgrade has deep roots. We like to think of ourselves as true partners, hand-in hand, building new banking solutions to address the needs of the market, and most importantly, consumers today.