The X1 credit card pushes the boundaries of rewards and security

X1/Screenshot by Jaclyn DeJohn/CNET

The X1* card was recently unveiled, offering a handful of unique rewards and security features. It even asks for a double take aesthetically. Advertised as 17 grams of stainless steel, the card will come to you in a branded box, a different move than typical envelope issuers.

In keeping with X1’s aspiration to be unconventional, you can’t just “apply” for it. Following the Handbook of Applications and Services Seeking to Appear as Exclusive, you can request an invitation to apply by submitting your name, email address, and earnings.

X1 smart card features

The X1 card intends to use technology to ease the hassle of security and payment management, while making it easier for users to improve their credit. X1 claims its credit card offers up to five times the spending limit of a traditional credit card, with an average credit limit of $24,300. This gives cardholders a lot more purchasing power, as well as the ability to take on more debt. It also potentially gives them the chance to increase their credit score improving credit utilization (the ratio between what an individual owes and their total spending limit). The issuer bases your credit limit on your salary, and new approved X1 cardholders have annual salaries ranging from $40,000 to millions of dollars.

Another cool feature is automatic virtual card support, which gives you a unique, unique credit card number every time you make an online purchase. This helps you spend more anonymously by limiting companies’ access to your personal information, potentially preventing identity theft. These virtual cards can be used for one-time purchases and are convenient options for free trials of new services and subscriptions you want to test. Alternatively, you can generate virtual credit cards designed to be used more than once, which expire in a set number of days that you specify. This can be useful if you want to sign up for a free trial of a service and want the card to automatically expire before being charged, or if you want to share the credit with someone (e.g. a family member or an employee) for a specified period. You can also manage and cancel subscription payments with one click from the X1 app.

How the X1 Points and Rewards System Stacks Up

The point system is quite rewarding and has components unlike other cards on the market. You earn 2x points for every dollar spent on every purchase, and if you spend more than $15,000 in a year, you’re automatically upgraded to earn 3x points for every dollar spent that year. At a general redemption rate of $0.01 per point, this equates to a standard fixed redemption rate of 2%-3% (when spending more than $15,000 per year). This boost is a bit reminiscent of Discover’s Unlimited Cashback Matching Program, in that your total annual spend can earn you even more rewards. With the X1 card, however, the opportunity to earn a 3x point bonus lasts beyond your first year.

A 2% fixed cash rewards rate is competitive with the best fixed rate cards on the market, including the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card* and Citi® Dual Charge Card (1% on purchase, 1% on payment).

In addition to block rewards, you may occasionally activate “boost” bonus categories from your app as they become available. There is also a referral bonus. For each friend you refer who receives the card, you unlock 30 days of 4x points on your purchases (note that a referral bonus may trigger a taxable event). The points can then be redeemed for purchases made from major players in technology, retail, fitness and travel.

The card offers 12.75% to 19.75% variable APR on purchases – the lowest range in its category. There are also no foreign transaction fees or annual fees. It is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.

Apply for the guest list or stay tuned for our full review – we’re on the guest list and eagerly awaiting receipt of this card.

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*All information about the X1 Card and Wells Fargo Active Cash Card has been independently collected by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

About Shirley L. Kreger

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