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:
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).
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)
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.
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.
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.