Point Neon Debit Card Review — Worth the Fee?
UPDATE: As of September 2022, Point has discontinued the Neon debit card. Below is my review of the product just weeks before the announcement of “sunsetting” was made”
A few months back, I remember seeing an ad for a debit card called Point. With the sleek site, brightly colored cards, and attractive benefits, I was definitely interested. Well, that was until I saw that there was an annual fee — an annual fee… for a debit card?! That’s where things stayed until recently when I saw that Point raised an impressive funding round, leading me to take a closer look at them. Ultimately, I decided to give it a shot for the sake of writing a proper review (you’re welcome).
So, what does Point Neon have to offer and how has my experience been? Let’s take a look at some of the key features and how my investment in the premium card has gone so far.
What is Point Neon and What Does it Offer?
Signing up, funding, and annual fee
Since Point Neon is a debit card, applying for the card feels very similar to opening a bank account… because you are. As a result, you’ll need to provide some personal info such as your name, birthdate, Social Security number, etc. You’ll also need to enter your current address so that your debit card can be mailed.
Once approved, you can fund your Point account. To do this, you can use Plaid to connect an existing bank account. Alternatively, Point also allows for card transfers from other debit cards. To use this option, you can use Apple Pay or enter your card details.
Something important to note about Point is that there is an annual fee. Currently, the card comes at a cost of $99 per year, with this fee coming out of your initial deposit. This $99 fee is actually fairly recent (as of September 2021) as the previous fee was $49 per year. Meanwhile, for those who prefer a monthly payment option, you can also sign up for $9.99 a month — although there is a minimum three-month commitment, meaning you’ll pay $29.97 upfront.
Changing banks and card networks
Not too long after hiking their annual fee, Point also made some other changes by swapping to a new banking partner. While the card was issued by LendingClub Bank, Point now partners with Column N.A. Along with this swap, the debit cards themselves went from being Mastercards to Visas and took on a similar but different design. Overall, although the switch did apparently come with some other added benefits, it wasn’t too noticeable and, aside from having to activate a new card, hasn’t changed the way I use Point.
On the Point site, you’ll currently see four card designs for Neon. These now include Runway Yellow, Dam Orange, Morning Blush (pink), or Meridian Blue. You can select which one you prefer when submitting your application.
Point rewards categories
Like many rewards cards, Point includes some multipliers on specific spending categories.
In this case, cardholders can earn 5x points (5 points per dollar spent) on select subscription services, including:
- HBO Max
- YouTube Premium
Additionally, customers earn 3x points on delivery and rideshare purchases, including:
- Uber Eats
- Good Eggs
Finally, all other purchases with the card will earn 1x points. However, as you’ll see, this isn’t where the points stop with Point.
Bonus offers and promotions
On top of these set categories, Point also has a number of what they call Access offers along with other special promotions. We’ll get into these a bit more in the “My Experience with Point” section below — but, spoiler alert: they’re pretty awesome.
When you’re ready to redeem your earned points, you can easily convert them to cashback in the Point app. Each point is worth 1¢ and redemptions start at just 100 points ($1). To redeem, first navigate to the Points section of the app, tap “redeem for cash,” and enter how much you want to cash out. After this, the cashback will be instantly applied to your available spending balance.
Another perk of Point Neon is that customers can make up to two free ATM withdrawals per month from any ATM globally. More accurately, cardholders will be reimbursed for any fees imposed by ATM operators (up to $8). These reimbursements actually come in the form of points. For example, I incurred a $3.50 fee for pulling out money from my nearest ATM and instantly received 350 points after my transaction was completed.
Point also includes a number of insurances for customers. These include:
- Cell phone insurance (up to $1,000 per year)
- New purchase insurance (up to $1,000 per loss/damage, maximum of $25,000 per 12 months)
- Trip cancellation insurance (up to $1,500 for expenses due to cancelation/delay)
- Travel accident insurance (up to $1,000,000 in coverage in case of accidental death and dismemberment in the case of common carrier travel).
- Car rental insurance covers physical damage
- Rideshare protection (up to $300,000 in accident, death & dismemberment coverage, as well as up to $500 in personal property coverage)
- Event ticket protection (up to $500 insurance coverage per ticket and up to $2,000 per event.)
Obviously, each of these benefits has restrictions and requirements. Therefore, I’d recommend visiting the Point site for more information.
Point Card Titan
Finally, before we get to my experience with Point Neon, I want to mention Point’s upcoming Titan card. Unlike Neon, which is a debit card, Titan seems as though it will be a charge card. While it promises many of the same features as Neon, it also promises additional perks and benefits. However, since the card has yet to launch (it’s set for later this year), I won’t go too far into details. In fact, I mostly just mention it because its impending launch is why it’s now the Point Neon card and not just “Point Card.”
My Experience with Point Neon So Far
The card itself
When my Point card arrived, I was excited to see what premium elements it would include. That’s why I was a little let down when I opened the envelope. While the presentation was nice enough, I wasn’t very impressed with the feel of the card. It may just be me but I feel like the plastic is extra soft and malleable. Of course, this is a very minor thing to complain about but, when we’re talking about a $99 annual fee product, I think it’s fair to mention.
Using the app
Before I segue to the good of Point, I want to also mention that I don’t necessarily love their app. Specifically, while I like the idea of having a Today screen, I find it kind of annoying that I need to swipe this screen every time in order to get to the other tabs. That said, although I can’t find a way around the Today screen, I do like that you can set a default tab to open once you get past it. I also like the app’s four-tab design, which is easy to navigate. But, if you’ll allow me to point out one more minor flaw, I don’t understand why the “Benefits” link found at the top of the Cards tab leads to the website instead of a dedicated and interactive app section — just an idea.
Let me start by saying I have found the Point Neon card’s superpower and star feature: Streak bonuses. With these offers, you’ll be rewarded for making daily purchases during a set period of time. For example, the two Streaks I’ve participated in so far required cardholders to make at least one purchase per day for five days — and the total of those purchases needed to add up to at least $200. The rewards? 3,000 points, which translates to $30.
Clearly, this is a pretty good deal. Of course, it also takes a bit of strategy on your part. Adding to that, online purchases can be a bit dicey since your card might not be charged until the product ships instead of at the time you hit “buy.”
This happened to me with an Amazon purchase (the one that made up the bulk of my $200 minimum), but luckily it all still worked out. On that note, if you need to keep your streak alive and time is running out, I found that reloading my Starbucks card was a good way to get my daily purchase in without buying something I wouldn’t use.
I should note that I’m not exactly sure how often these Streaks pop up. So far, I encountered one at the beginning of September and another at the end (rolling into early October). There was another around Christmas, but I didn’t end up taking advantage. However, I don’t think there’s been another since then. Instead, I feel as though they’ve been pushing better Access offers instead. Hopefully we’ll see more Streaks offers soon as I think they’re a great way to get value from the Neon card.
When it comes to Point’s standard multipliers, they really don’t do much for me. That’s partially because I have credit cards that I either need to use services for (thanks to monthly credits and the like) or reward dining purchases in general. However, I’ve found that Point’s Access offers are a bit more interesting. While these tend to be brand specific, some also happen to be for retailers I actually visit.
Currently (as of this writing), there’s a 10x offer for Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T, a 5x offer for Amazon, 5x for Chipotle, 5x at Walmart, 5x at coffee shops, 100x on Hulu, and many more. There are also current 5x deals for stores I don’t have the ability to shop at but I know a lot of other people do, including Trader Joe’s and Costco. Plus, I feel like new offers have popped up often since I’ve received my card. In fact, when I was first penning this review, I got an email from Point informing me of a 10x offer at coffee shops to celebrate National Coffee Day.
Something to note is that, with these Access offers, you’ll earn the regular point amount when the transaction is made, with the bonus points arriving once the deal has concluded. There are also limits to how many points you can earn with certain offers. Still, I’ve found the Access section to be a fruitful resource as I look for the best deals on my purchases.
While I’m mentioning positive things about Point, I also want to give a shout-out to their instant funding option. With this, you can add money to your Point card by charging a different debit card. As you can imagine, this is super helpful when you’re trying to maximize a Streak and need to move money.
Final Thoughts on Point Neon Premium Debit Card
I’ll admit that, when I first looked into the Point card and saw that it was $49 a year, it stopped me dead in my tracks. So, imagine my surprise when I see that it moved up to $99 a year just a couple of weeks after I caved and applied. On the surface, the card definitely doesn’t seem like it’s worth that amount, but I’d argue that some hidden perks actually do help offset that fee and potentially make it a moneymaker. Namely, the streak bonuses that I’ve been able to participate in so far have more than covered my fee (albeit the $49 one) and my tenure as a cardholder has barely begun. Plus, more recently, the strong Access offers have made up for the apparent lack of Streaks deals.
As for the other perks of the Point Neon card, while I’m glad they included features such as new purchase insurance and trip cancelation insurance, I’m not exactly sure how much value to assign to these benefits. Elsewhere, I think the two ATM reimbursements per month perk could prove to be useful in a pinch and highlights one of the few instances where a debit card can trump a credit card. On that note, with SoFi discontinuing ATM reimbursement, I’m anxious to see if my Point Neon card will work overseas and become my new go-to for foreign ATM withdrawals.
Overall, while it does sometimes feel strange to be using a debit card again, I think credit card enthusiasts will find something to like in Point Neon. That said, in order to get the most from it along with the other cards you may have in your wallet, you will need to be strategic. Meanwhile, if you’re anti-credit card and have been looking for a rewarding debit option, it may well have just arrived. If nothing else, I recommend giving Point Neon a closer look and deciding for yourself whether it’s worth the annual fee.
Also published on Medium.