Unique Upcoming X1 Card Opens Waitlist
In recent months, the credit card industry has been throwing out some mixed signals. While reports suggest that some issuers have been slashing limits and even closing accounts, others have been plussing their products or introducing new ones (such as the recent Chase Freedom Flex card announcements). Now comes word of another interesting credit card product that not only comes from a different kind of issuer but also offers some new ideas about what a credit card can be. Last week, X1 opened up its waitlist to potential cardholders, teasing a “Winter 2020” rollout.
Starting with the basics, the X1 Card will carry no annual fees, offer APRs between 12.9% and 19.9%, and feature larger-than-normal credit limits that will also automatically increase over time. This will be accomplished by looking at the current and future income of applicants instead of relying on traditional credit scores to make approval decisions. Also notable is the physical card itself, which will be made of stainless steel and weigh 17 grams. This aspect of the card has the product is being compared to the Apple Card that — in addition to its digital features — includes a titanium card bearing no numbers of personal information other than the cardholder’s name.
While the flash of the card’s design and material contribute to the buzz, the real story of the X1 Card is its rewards. First up, the card sets a floor at 2x points for every purchase you make — which puts it in the class of the heralded Citi Double Cash card off the bat. Meanwhile, those who spend at least $15,000 on their X1 Card per year can up their rewards to 3x points per dollar spent.
Additionally, cardholders who successfully refer friends to the card will earn 4x points back on their spend for one month. This month-long bonus is per referral so, if a cardholder refers five friends or family members, they’ll be rewarded with five months of 4x earning. According to product shots, points will be worth 1¢ each and can be redeemed for multiple brands (presumably via gift cards) including Apple, Delta, Ikea, Sephora, and more.
Billing itself as “the smartest credit card ever,” X1 also adds features found across various FinTech apps and integrates them into the card. For example, the card’s site boasts that it will allow users to easily cancel subscriptions as well as use temporary virtual cards in order to automatically end free trials. Customers will also be able to attach photos of their receipts to their transactions for easier bookkeeping.
Sharing a peek into how the card was conceived, X1 co-founder and CEO Deepak Rao said in a statement, “With X1 Card, we set out to modernize the credit card for a new generation of cardholders, X1 Card doesn’t rely on the archaic credit score system to set limits and rates, its rewards program is the most generous offer on the market, and its built-in smart technology makes it easier to shop, save and spend with friends.: Crafted with sleek stainless steel, the X1 Card creates a magical experience that feels both simpler and smarter than any other credit card on the market.”
To be clear, at this point, the X1 Card is really just a concept and not yet a product. In fact, the referral element brings to mind previous efforts such as the Vital Card that opened a waitlist in 2018 but has continually delayed the launch since. Some of these elements were also present in the Zero card, which did make it to market — only to close down earlier this year. That said, given the backing that the X1 project has (including that of PayPal co-founder Max Levchin among others), it does seem more likely that the card will come to fruition and could make a splash upon entry. It’s also not hard to imagine that, should it gain popularity, some more mainstream credit card offerings might attempt to incorporate some of its key features. Of course, that’s a bit of “cart before horse” talk for now, so we’ll need to wait to see what becomes of the X1 Card and its big vision.