Zero Card Review – Earn Up To 3% Cashback – Now Live [iOS only]

Update: Zero has now finally launched. The program is iOS currently and they have partnered with Mastercard, WebBank, and Evolve Bank & Trust. The zero checking account is also FDIC insured. Keep in mind that while Zero has launched it’s rolling out slowly and you’ll be invited to apply based on your waitlist position. I’m skeptical that Zero will last, especially at the Carbon level with 3% cash back that can be hit based solely on referrals but let’s see what happens. Hat tip to @itsbuenaventura

Update 10/30/18: Seems like they are gearing up to launch. Some of the top referrers received the following e-mail:

Hi!

Thanks for signing up for the Zero waitlist and for doing such an amazing job referring people.  You may have thought you’d never hear anything more about Zero.  I’m so sorry about the very long wait!
As we prepare for launch, I wanted to collect feedback from a few people at the top of the waitlist to ensure the best experience on launch day.
They also asked a few more specific questions. I’m still firmly in the camp of I’ll believe it when I see it, but looks like there is at least some movement.

Original post: Reposting because Zero has raised $8.5 million in Venture Capital and plan to launch in 2018. I love Venture Capital money. Personally I’ll believe they are actually launched when they do launch, we first heard about them in September of 2016.

Somebody on reddit asked about the Zero card, so I thought I’d dig in and do a full review of the card. Basically this is a hybrid debit/credit card, you add funds into your account and then you can spend those funds using the Zero Visa card (before you get too excited, the card will be processed as a credit card so you won’t be able to get lower rates from merchants that offer discounts for debit card purchases).

Rewards Structure

The Zero Card has a tiered rewards structure, the amount of cash back you’ll receive is dependent on how much you spend annually. There are four tiers:

  • Carbon: 3% cash back ($100,000 in annual spend required)
  • Magnesium: 2% cash back ($50,000 in annual spend required)
  • Graphite: 1.5% cash back ($25,000 in annual spend required)
  • Quartz: 1% cash back (no minimum spend required)

zero-card-3-percent-cash-back

Referral Program

Before they launch you’ll also be able to ‘level up’ in the program by registering for early access and then referring friends. When you level up by referring friends you’ll receive that higher tier for the remaining calendar year and then the following calendar year as well. If you’ve already earned Carbon status then you’ll receive a $100 bonus for each friend you refer (they need to conduct two qualifying purchases and two qualifying direct deposits).

This seems to be the following requirements to ‘level up’:

  • Use a friends link and receive graphite level
  • Share on facebook and receive magnesium
  • Share with three friends and get carbon status

It also seems that when you share/refer friends you’ll move up the wait list.

Share Your Referral

Go to this page to learn more about sharing your referral on this site, or to use somebody elses referral link.

Fees

List of fees isn’t actually published on the site. It does say that you’ll get free access to 50,000 ATMs and do card issuer fee on ATM withdrawals.

Our Verdict

From my understanding the cash back isn’t retroactive, so let’s say I spent $100,000. I wouldn’t actually be earning 3% cash back, I’d be earning 1% on $25,000 then 1.5% on another $25,000 and finally 2% on $50,000 for an effective cash back rate of 1.625%. This is lower than your standard 2% cash back card. Obviously this isn’t an issue for the first year due to the generous referral program (only needing to share on facebook to get the 2% rate). And it’s also important to note that your status lasts for the remaining calendar year and then the following calendar year as well, so this is only really a problem in the first year (or if you fail to meet one of the thresholds one year).

I’d like to see/learn more about the Zero card before passing full judgement (e.g what rate of interest will they offer?) but at the moment I don’t think it’ll be of particular interest to most readers.

 

 

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Greytfox

I got an email today noting that the Zero app is now available on Android. Anyone have success stories from 1+ of using the Zero card?

prs
prs

do plastiq payments for my mortgage qualify for cashback ?

Will
Will

If anyone need a referral link here is mine:

https://go.zero.app/G47YVAYY

Lucas Stomberg
Lucas Stomberg

I just got this set up and finally kind of understand it. What I don’t get is if this is a combined credit card + checking account, what is the PIN used for and why can’t I see my credit limit.

Peter
Peter

Woohoo! Finally got my invite and signed up. I was within the first 1,600 registrants from, like, 2017. With the help of a few referrals from back then, I “attained” carbon status and the app recognizes it correctly.

Time to pump some money into the account, I suppose, and take it for a spin. Very curious whether it will work as promised…

Blake
Blake

So did you get Carbon without actually having real referrals? The terms specifically state that referees have to apply, accept, and pay off two charges.

Frank

When did the app “recognize” it? After application or before?

007
007

FYI, they pull Experian on application. Not sure if it is hard or soft pull – mine was frozen. I will ask – suspect from the terms it is hard credit pull…

007
007

From Zero Support:

“Agent (Zero)

Dec 14, 11:24 PM PST

Dear ***,

It will be a hard credit inquiry. Zerocard is a credit card and approval currently requires excellent credit. Based on your credit history and other factors there is an automated credit decision that will determine whether or not you are approved.

1220 Oakland Blvd, Suite 350
Walnut Creek, CA 94596”

Reza
Reza

I think there is a potential for confusion here William Charles . Considering Cash app card or similar Venmo or Acorn cards, it is easy to mistake this for a debit, but it is actually a credit card, and will report as a credit card, am I correct? At least I’m sure it is a hard pull, and it may be worth to mentioned in the post.

Brian S
Brian S

Anyone know if it is it still possible to move up to carbon by referring, I only made the 2% level? Thanks

Peter
Peter

Anybody got it already? My position was within the first 1,600 but I haven’t yet!!

cowsareverywhere
cowsareverywhere

Doesnt seem to be moving at all, I have been 145 out of 161k for a while.

Toad
Toad

If you read the release page it states, “Some people who are high on the waitlist will be receiving application information soon,” indicating nothing has been sent out quite yet.

What I am curious about is if people who do not have iOS (me) are just screwed. I don’t give a damn about their app/banking interface, I just want the card.

Also, to ask the most important question: Is it metal?

Peter
Peter

Possible to borrow one from a friend just to set it up?

I plan on using my work iPhone for this. Generally hate to mix business and personal, but hopefully it doesn’t require prolonged engagement on iOS.

Toad
Toad

That’s what I was thinking as well. Still very stupid they don’t have a web interface as well. I still have friends who do not have a smartphone so they would be excluded from this card on that basis alone.

Toad
Toad

cowsareverywhere any invite yet? I am around 550, nothing for me still although I have not downloaded/installed the app (since I don’t have iOS)

cowsareverywhere
cowsareverywhere

Yup, got in today but requires credit pull and I just got under 4/24. Giving it a few days before getting the Southwest Priority Card.

Mimi
Mimi

Vihn aka mpd already got his based on his recent tweet.

Frank

Ugh, need 6 months to end 5/24 (get more cards), hopefully I don’t lose my spot….

calwatch
calwatch

There are folks who can’t get credit cards or are stuck with crappy secured cards with high annual fees. This would be a good replacement and would work at car rentals and hotels where debit cards are frowned upon.

Matt
Matt

Anyone looking for a secured card should look to Discover. After that, Citi and Capital One. There’s no reason to pay a fee for a secured card.

MickeyMouse
MickeyMouse

I had a friend who didn’t burn any of those just had lots of collections, all 3 denied him. He had to pay an AF there was no way around it. So there are people out there who can’t even get those.