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X1 Credit Card – The Smartest Credit Card?

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The X1 Card is a new credit product from Thrive, a San Francisco company that also offers ThriveCash, personal loans for students. The new card is said to have “smart” features and advertised as “designed for a new generation of cardholders.” Partnered with Visa network, the card boasts rewards, no annual fee, low interest rate range, and intelligent features. It is not only heavy with rewards and benefits but also a literally heavy card – 17 grams of stainless steel.

The X1 Card is expected to arrive in winter 2020-2021 and its waitlist is open now. While the card is not around, let’s go over some of the card’s basics and see how smart and intelligent the card really is.

What are the X1 Card benefits?

Let’s leave card rewards aside for now and move straight to “smart” features. One of the card’s goals is to use technology that helps cardholders shop online with confidence, so the card combines digital features that you hardly find offered together with other credit cards. Particularly, with the X1 Card, users can create virtual cards with expiration dates, which is useful for all kinds of subscriptions or when you want to cancel free trials automatically.

Virtual card numbers can also be used for online shopping with merchants you are unlikely to shop again or when you simply do not want to give your primary card number. The X1 Card will also notify you when you receive a refund, and you will be able to attach receipts to purchases.  

The X1 Credit Card is a Visa Signature card, which means it may come with the perks of a traditional Visa card, plus additional benefits. The benefits may include extended warranty protection, travel and emergency assistance services, auto rental collision damage waiver, and roadside dispatch. It hasn’t been revealed yet which Visa Signature benefits will be included in the X1 Card’s benefits package though.

X1 Card rewards and basic features

Now to the rewards the new X1 Card offers. Cardholders will be able to earn anywhere from 2x to 4x points per dollar spent on the card. The card allows you to increase the rewards rate by hitting the minimum annual spend and referring friends. Here’s the breakdown of the rewards:
– Earn 2x points on all purchases without caps or limitations
– Earn 3x point on every dollar spent for the entire year when your card spendings reach at least $15,000 in that year   
– Unlock 4x points for 30 days when you invite a friend who gets the card (there is no limit to how many friends you bring).

Points never expire and each point is worth at least 1 cent, but redemption options are limited. Points will be redeemable for purchases at select merchants. The list of available brands includes over 100 retailers, including popular companies like Airbnb, Alaska, Apple, Asos, Crate&Barrel, Delta, Eatsy, Nike, and more.

Other card features include:
– 12.9-19.9% Variable APR
– 2% balance transfer fee
– No late fees or penalty APR
No foreign transaction fees
– $0 annual fee
– Higher credit limits that may increase automatically
– No “hard pull” of your credit when you apply
– Reports to all three major credit bureaus.

The “no hard pull” point is unusual. Typically, when you apply for a credit card, issuers perform a hard pull on your credit reports to determine your eligibility for the card. This can lower your credit scores for a few points. However, the X1 Card is different. Only a soft pull will be conducted when you apply for the card, meaning your scores won’t be affected. The X1 Card will rely on your current and potential future income to determine your eligibility as well as your credit limit.

How the X1 Card stacks up against others

The X1 Credit Card may remind you of Petal and TomoCredit cards, which are innovative credit products designed for young adults. However, the X1 Card can also compete with other cards from major credit card issuers. Here’s a quick comparison of the X1 Card with some other top cards.

X1 Card vs. Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

The Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa card is a no annual fee credit card with cash back rewards. It allows you to earn 1% cash back right away, which can potentially increase to 1.5% if the card payments are made on time. Plus, cardholders can earn an additional 2% – 10% bonus cash back at select merchants. There is no need to hit a specific threshold to earn increased rewards like it’s required with the X1 Card. Also, the Petal 2 card will allow you to pre-qualify, meaning the issuer will perform a soft pull to determine your preliminary eligibility for the card. Later, if you decide to proceed with your application, the issuer may still perform a hard pull, as well as check your income, spending, and savings as a part of the credit card approval process.  

X1 Card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash card offers up to 2% cash back: 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. No limits, thresholds, or changing rewards categories – just simple, fixed cash back rewards. It may not offer higher rewards like the X1 Card, but the Double Cash card allows cash redemptions in the form of a check, direct deposit, or statement credit.

The Citi Double Cash is a no annual fee card designed for people with excellent credit. And like with many major cards, the issuer will perform a credit check to determine your eligibility for the card. So if your credit history is not great, you may not qualify.

X1 Card vs. Apple Card

The Apple Credit Card is another no annual fee credit card that actually has no fees. No over-the-limit, foreign transaction, or late fees. The card works seamlessly with an iPhone, so you can manage the card and track all your spendings and earnings in real-time.

The Apple Card offers rewards in the form of Daily Cash. Cardholders can earn 2% Daily Cash by simply using their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay with the Apple Card. When shopping with select merchants that partner with Apple Card, you can earn an unlimited 3% Daily Cash. The number of merchants is limited and includes Apple, Mobil, Nike, Uber, and some other brands. Purchases made with a physical Apple Card will earn only 1% back.

Should you join the waitlist?

No hard inquiry, no annual fee, higher credit limits, unlimited rewards, and high-tech features may appeal to many young applicants and other individuals who want to build credit and manage their finances more easily.

However, before you join the waitlist, check out redemption categories offered by the X1 Card. Make sure there are brands you often shop with and you will be able to use earned rewards. Otherwise, you might be better off with a different credit card that gives more flexibility here.

While the X1 Card will be reported to all three major credit bureaus, we still don’t know who the issuing bank will be. So if it is OK with you, you can now join the waitlist and wait for the invitation to apply for the X1 Card.

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