The new Unifi Premier Credit Card wants to reward you with bitcoin, equities, or gold
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- Instead of points or miles, Unifimoney’s new card pays out rewards in bitcoin, gold, or stocks.
- The card eschews rotating categories and a sign-up bonus for a simple, no-limit earning structure.
- It’s a signal of a shift in credit cards with fintech companies disrupting traditional rewards.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.
As you try to figure out how the post-pandemic world will change, you can start with credit card rewards. Beginning in the third quarter of this year, Unifimoney will offer the Unifi Premier, a credit card that allows the company’s customers to invest their rewards in bitcoin, stocks, and gold.
The official details of the rewards structure are still moving through regulatory and legal approval, but Ben Soppitt, founder and CEO of Unifimoney, shared an exclusive overview of what to expect with Insider. The new approach will include:
- An annual fee that is less than half of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®’s $550-per-year price tag
- The ability to refund that fee by hitting a minimum spending threshold — likely around $15,000 per year
- An unlimited cash-back percentage that will be around 2% (the level Soppitt believes is the most competitive in the market)
- The chance to pick your asset class each month
- All the standard benefits and protections of the Visa Signature program
- A card manufactured from recovered ocean plastics
Let’s say you spend $500. Your rewards are deposited into your robo-investing account, and you pick from bitcoin, gold, or the stock/ETF of your choice. Each month, you can choose from those three options, and Soppitt says that there is potential for picking from other asset types in the future.
“Less than 30 percent of Millennials are invested in the stock market,” Soppitt says. “A tiny fraction of them are investing in crypto, and even fewer are investing in precious metals.”
Soppitt says the aim of the card is to “make those assets available in a very easily accessible way.”
“If you want to try to buy gold, it’s very sketchy,” Soppitt says. “Do a search for buying gold online, and you end up pretty quickly at a pawn shop in Las Vegas.”
Soppitt also paints a picture of what would be the most extraordinary type of rewards redemption I’ve ever heard.
“On our platform, you’re investing in physical gold, so you can have it delivered to your house with an armored truck and a shotgun,” he says. “It costs money, but you can do that.”
‘What you see is what you get’
Soppitt, whose educational background is in psychology, has worked on payment initiatives at Visa, Samsung, and Fitbit. Throughout his career, he believes that most credit cards have too much if-this, then-that language that our minds don’t bother to process.
“If you can’t describe your credit card value proposition in two seconds or less,” Soppitt says, “it’s because the company has designed it to confuse you.”
“Some customers like to try and win [at the points and miles game],” Soppitt adds. “They always lose. The house always wins. Credit card issuers have the resources and experiences to beat anyone at a portfolio level.”
For Soppitt, part of that losing game is dangling a huge sign-up bonus in front of new customers. Sure, 50,000 points or 100,000 miles sound like an attractive offer — after all, I’ve written about these bonuses plenty in my time — but it creates a reason to spend and consume on a trip. You get the free ticket, but then, you may need to pay for dinners, cars, and a host of other costs.
“People tend to focus on near-term rewards rather than long-term value,” Soppitt says. “We reject that. With this card, what you see is what you get.”
Will you rethink your cards post-COVID?
The pandemic has forced plenty of cardholders to take a deeper look at their cards and their benefits. Soppitt believes that as many premium cardholders see their annual fees on the horizon, they may be reconsidering what cards belong in their wallets.
“Everyone globally is going through a lot of change,” he says. “People are now making decisions that they wouldn’t have bothered thinking about before. A lot of successful people who were complacent about personal finance discovered that bad things can happen to good people when layoffs began. I think people are more aware that you need to manage your money as early as you can.”
Chase, American Express, and Citi have been the dominant names for prospective new cardholders for what feels like forever, but Unifimoney’s announcement is part of a cast of other new entrants hoping to dethrone them. BlockFi launched its bitcoin-backed rewards card earlier this year, and other crypto companies like Gemini have made rumblings about their own offerings.
For discerning cardholders who are paying close attention to the potential for point devaluations, 2021 may be the year they reinvent their definitions of “rewarding.”
David McMillin has written about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes, and travel for the past 10 years. His goal is simple: help readers figure out how to minimize fees and maximize rewards.
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