Meet X1, a New Game-Changing Credit Card

X1 is rewriting the credit card narrative.

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The X1 Card is made with 17 grams of sleek stainless steel.

Courtesy of X1

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There’s a sleek, new credit card on the market, backed by a lot of big names in tech, finance, and social networking, including cofounders Deepak Rao and Siddharth Batra (of Twitter fame), Max Levchin (Spark Capital and PayPal cofounder), and David Sacks (PayPal’s founding COO).

Say hello to X1, a credit card that oozes style through design but carries no annual fee and delivers a strong earnings structure. Everything from X1’s application process to its instant redemption opportunities differs from the credit card mainstay.

With a waiting list 600,000 strong, the card became available to the public in mid-September and caught our eye as a respectable travel credit card thanks to redemption opportunities on multiple airlines and other travel partners. Here, we look at some of the qualities that brand the X1 card a disrupter in the credit card industry and why you may want to consider applying for it.

Credit lines based on income, not credit scores

While approval for most credit cards is granted based on credit scores, approval for the X1 and a credit limit is based on current and future income. During the application process, you’ll be asked to log into your bank account(s) where paychecks are deposited or income is received. Your credit limit will then be determined based on these accounts. This works in favor of those who have decent money landing in their accounts monthly and is a relief to those who may not have the credit score needed to land top travel credit cards.

A great earnings structure for a no-fee card

The earnings structure for the X1 is smart, simple, and frankly unheard of for a card with no annual fee. You’ll earn a minimum of two points per dollar spent on the card. If you spend over $15,000 in a year, you’ll earn three points on every dollar spent. A handy graphic in the app helps you keep tabs on how close you are to achieving the three point multiplier. Once you hit the $15,000, all your previous purchases will get that extra point per dollar spent.

On the flip side, there’s no welcome bonus. One of the most enticing factors in getting a new credit card is a huge lump sum of points or miles. You won’t find that here.

Points are attained and can be redeemed instantly

Credit cards typically require waiting until a statement’s close to be awarded points or miles. With X1, points are allotted as soon as purchases are made, speeding up the process of redeeming points or getting cash back, both of which are possible in the app with a single tap.

Valued at the rate of one cent per point, X1 points can also be redeemed on several travel partners at a 1:1 ratio, including:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

A full suite of insurance and benefits

No-fee cards usually come with fewer benefits than their high-fee counterparts. However, X1 offers the full portfolio of Visa Signature travel and shopping protections more commonly associated with cards having annual fees. These include cell phone protection, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, purchase security, auto rental collision damage waiver, extended warranty protection, and return protection.

Other things we like about the card

In addition to the bigger items discussed above, a few other card features are worth mentioning.

The design

The X1 Card is made with 17 grams of sleek stainless steel. It looks and feels modern and sexy.

Boosts

The X1 app has a tab dubbed “Boosts,” which are flash offers on your card. Once you activate an offer, it’s good for 24 hours so be wise about it. Boosts include the likes of: “Earn three points for using Apple Pay or Google Pay,” “Earn five points on your next gas purchase,” “Earn three points on your next grocery purchase,” and “Earn three points on your next Amazon purchase.” Who doesn’t love a good bonus?

Virtual card capability

The X1 app allows you to instantly create virtual credit cards, an important feature for those who are concerned about credit card security, want to issue cards for single use, or want to sign up for free trials. Virtual cards function as tokens for digital payment.

Shopping bonuses

You’ll also earn bonus points for shopping through the links directly in your app. Of note, earn 3 points on Apple purchases, 10 points on Warby Parker, 10 points at Nordstrom Rack, and 4 points at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Takeaways

With an alternative application process and a high earnings rate yet no annual fee, the new X1 is rewriting the credit card narrative. Despite the absence of a welcome bonus, the card possesses plenty of long-term benefits and is a compelling choice for a card to be used on everyday purchases.

While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.

Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.
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