Posted by William Charles on November 16, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on November 16th, 2018 | by William Charles

96

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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joE
joE

Did you notice it’s a Visa Infinite?

Paul
Paul

I wonder if it will carry those benefits…

joe
joe

So for example, if a place that ONLY accepts debit cards for tuition would not accept this card?

J De
J De

Didn’t use a referral link and got Quartz not Graphite.

Madison
Madison

They do required citizen/permanent resident status, which sucks.

Max
Max

This is so unnecessary when banks do this. It’s like someone in the building just doesn’t like immigrants.

Butterchurn
Butterchurn

I really suspect they just want to avoid the paperwork.

Atul
Atul

Its federal law, not banks doing. Something to do with anti-money laundering. Every single bank needs this.

Jeff S.
Jeff S.

Interesting concept, a quasi-credit card that literally pays it’s own bill each month with your savings account, but I agree that most people would not be interested in this card. Looks like the target audience is “rich” millennials, or specifically those that are steering away from traditional debt patterns – not owing the bank for money that is already spent. Their ideology is to use debit, to avoid the indebtedness trap of improperly managing money and loading up credit cards. That’s great, but by someone using debit solely and avoiding credit they are ignoring the current financial world’s requirement to establish a credit history for later use, i.e. when future large purchases would require financing. It will be interesting to see how the credit card industry views this card, because they say it will technically be a credit card. But by using this card at the higher tiers of legitimate spending you would be bypassing some of they great rewards that could be had for this level of spending on an actual credit card. That last part, in my book, makes this a bad deal.

I did not see where it said it was a Visa Infinite… is that tiered to the spending? And expires each year?

NinjaX
NinjaX

No. Its very clear its a Visa Infinite unless its just ad promo ad for now and will be replaced with Visa Sig later. Go look at the website. Watch the video. also CEO is a churner so who the hell knows what will happen.

Emporio
Emporio

I didn’t watch their video but the company’s website shows images of a Mastercard not a Visa card.

JASON
JASON

It’s Visa card, visa card has PIN but this one does not have PIN and cannot be run as debit???

NinjaX
NinjaX

Another vaporware startup of Fin-Tech still focused on today. not tomorrow. This is where distributed ledger blockchain tech comes in.

Anyway. Lets see who the underwriting bank is….

Lrdx
Lrdx

About not actually earning an average 3%, there is a FAQ entry:

Q: Once I level up, do I maintain status indefinitely?

A: People who level up via waiting list referrals unlock the ability to initially receive a higher level card (i.e. Zerocard Carbon) and will maintain it for the remainder of the calendar year in which they become a customer, plus all of the following calendar year. Just like airline or hotel preferred status programs, higher level Zerocard status must be re-earned each calendar year. Customers will enjoy the benefits of higher level Zerocard status from the day that it is earned through the end of the following calendar year. Higher level Zerocard status is earned by meeting the minimum annual spending requirements in a given calendar year. Current minimum annual spending requirements are $25,000 for Zerocard Graphite, $50,000 for Zerocard Magnesium, and $100,000 for Zerocard Carbon. Zero reserves the right to adjust the minimum annual spending requirements at any time. Zero also may choose, but is not committing to, specifying alternative criteria for customers to maintain higher level Zerocard status, such as the continuance of a social referral program following the product’s launch to the general public.

So if you get status, you get 3% till end of next year. If you spend $100k next year, you get 3% on it, and you’re getting match for another year.

Christopher Kahle
Christopher Kahle

The referral page you’ve set up does not have comment capabilities yet.

Jason
Jason

“behaves like a debit card ” I’ll try it out on google wallet

Dave C
Dave C

How do you load funds? Any MS opportunity?

Phill Sims
Phill Sims
Nick
Nick
Lynda B
Lynda B

from hero to zero…

most people aren’t going to realize they can do better with a Citibank Double Card!!! LOL!

Kirk
Kirk

Any MS opportunities?

is it via referral 3% for 1st partial year plus next full year?

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