The new Zerocard allows you to earn up to 3% cash back on all purchases – but only if you spend six figures a year or refer four or more friends to the card. The card, which is issued by a San Francisco-based financial tech company called Zero, was previously only available via waitlist, but starting Tuesday, anyone is able to apply.
With the Zerocard, the more you spend and the more you refer the card to others, the better your cash back rate will be. You start earning cash back at a 1% rate when you’re approved, and you move to higher earnings tiers as you spend more. You must have a checking account with Zero and use that account to pay your credit card balance in full each month to earn more than 1% cash back.
A checking account from Zero allows you to earn additional annual rewards based on your average current position, which is your daily checking balance minus your Zerocard balance. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Quartz: Earn 1% cash back and no annual rewards. Everyone who gets approved for the card starts at this basic level.
- Graphite: Earn 1.5% cash back and 0.5% in annual rewards based on your average current position. Qualify by referring one person to Zero or spend $25,000 annually on the card.
- Magnesium: Receive 2% cash back and 1% in annual rewards. Achieve this level by referring two friends or spending $50,000 annually.
- Carbon: Get 3% cash back on every purchase and 2% in annual rewards. Get to this level by spending $100,000 each year or referring four friends to Zero.
There’s no preset spending limit on the card, which means your card doesn’t have a stated credit limit. Instead, your purchase power adjusts with your spending patterns, payment history, financial resources and other factors.
The card comes with an app that displays credit card purchases alongside checking account deposits and withdrawals to give you a real-time net balance. If you opt-in, the app will set up automatic payments in full each month from a connected Zero checking account.
While Zerocard is marketed as offering a “debit-style credit experience,” it is not a debit card. If you carry a balance on the credit card, interest will apply at a 24.99% annual percentage rate and you won’t be eligible to earn more than 1% cash back.
Bryce Galen, founder and CEO of Zero, emphasizes that the credit card and checking accounts are distinct. “Funds in Zero checking are FDIC-insured and held separately,” he says, “and they cannot be seized to pay off an unpaid Zerocard balance.”
Cardholders aren’t assessed annual fees or foreign transaction fees.
Zerocard’s potential 3% unlimited cash back on all purchases is competitive. Generally, cards with a flat cash back rate on all purchases top out at 2%, though bonus categories can push rewards rates higher. Zerocard could be a good choice if you can reach the 3% rewards rate. But if you don’t plan to spend $100,000 or more on your credit card each year, a regular cash back card may offer better rewards.