5 Things to Know About the Cred.ai Credit Card

The card's stopgaps prevent you from overspending or making late payments while you work to establish credit.
Sara Rathner
By Sara Rathner 
Edited by Kenley Young

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The Cred.ai credit card, aka the Unicorn Card, is designed to help you build credit, and it includes features to protect you from fraud, overspending or making late bill payments.

Image courtesy of Cred.ai

The card — created by financial technology company Cred.ai and issued by WSFS Bank — can be a bit tricky to understand. In part, that’s because it doesn’t function entirely like a traditional credit card, but also because the card’s website is loaded with slick marketing copy. 

So let’s break down the buzzwords. At its core, it’s a card that puts up guardrails to keep you from getting into debt trouble. You’re assigned spending limits based on what’s available in your linked deposit account. As you make purchases, funds are set aside so that when the credit card bill is due, the money is there to pay it. And payments are automatically made so you don’t miss a deadline. 

Two drawbacks to note: You won’t earn any rewards on your purchases, and once you establish credit, there’s no other Cred.ai card to graduate to with more perks. Some secured credit cards, which require an initial deposit, offer both cash-back rewards and the possibility of upgrading to an unsecured card with careful use.

Here are five things to know about the Cred.ai credit card.

🤓Nerdy Tip

While any credit card can adjust its rewards, benefits and fee structure at any time, new cards from startup financial technology companies are particularly prone to significant changes as they find their place in the market. Keep that in mind as you consider your credit card options.

1. Applying won’t affect your credit score

You can apply for the Cred.ai credit card without the usual hit to your FICO score that you typically experience with credit card applications. According to the card’s website, a FICO score isn’t even required to apply — helpful for anyone who is new to building credit. Instead, Cred.ai uses a proprietary underwriting model.

You do need to provide other financial information, like your income, and approval isn’t guaranteed.

The card does report payment activity to all three main U.S. credit bureaus.

2. The card’s benefits all have cutesy names

The Cred.ai credit card offers several creatively titled features that sound high-tech. Here’s a translation:

  • Flux Capacitor: Get access to your paycheck up to two days early. You’ll also get a two-day heads up on any recurring charges (this is as part of a deposit account — more on that in the next section).

  • Stealth Card: This is essentially a virtual card number, which allows you to make purchases without giving the merchant your real card number. If the merchant’s data gets compromised, your information will remain secure. Many other credit cards offer this feature.

  • High Security: Set up limited-time authorization windows, which can be helpful if you’ve got a planned purchase but otherwise don’t want charges to a merchant to go through. Traditional credit cards don't tend to allow you to create such self-expiring windows, though many do offer general card lock functionality.

  • CredOptimizer: This refers to an algorithm the card uses to optimize your credit utilization, so you don’t overcharge to the detriment of your credit score.  

  • Friend & Foe: You can specify approved merchants (your “friends”) and any charges that get mistakenly denied will go through anyway. You can also list disapproved merchants (or “foes”) and purchases with those merchants will always be blocked.

  • Check Please: This feature claims it "eliminates the embarrassment of getting your card declined" at important meetings, events or even dates. Before paying the check, cardholders can use the feature to confirm the name of the eatery and estimate the bill, after which Cred.ai does some verification to ultimately ensure the transaction will go through. This is a somewhat unique feature, although other cards do let you spend beyond your credit limit (to a point).

3. You get more out of the card with a Cred.ai deposit account

You can technically get the Cred.ai credit card on its own without also opening a Cred.ai deposit account, which is similar to a checking account. But the full functionality of the card is unleashed when you have both. You’ll have access to features including automatic payment and a safe spending limit. 

By default, you’re enrolled in automatic payment, and opting out renders you ineligible for the "Cred.ai Guaranty," which covers the cost of interest and fees if automatic payment fails for any reason.

4. The card is essentially fee- and interest-free

While the Cred.ai credit card does have an APR on purchases (17.76% at the time of this writing), you won't pay any interest under the aforementioned Cred.ai Guaranty policy. The card also charges no annual fee, foreign transaction fees or cash advance fees.

The card's terms and conditions do technically note a late fee, but the automatic payment feature and, again, the Cred.ai Guaranty policy prevent you from having to pay such fees in the first place.

5. It’s made of metal

The Cred.ai card is made of metal and features a snazzy silver unicorn design on a black background.

“It weighs more than those other fancy black cards,” the website states, though it doesn’t provide any actual numerical data to back this up. 

To be clear, the Cred.ai card won’t provide you with the unfettered, celebrity-like access to everything your heart desires that you’d get with the invitation-only American Express Centurion card (that’s the “other fancy black card”). But if you like your credit-building with a side of good looks, it delivers.

All information about the American Express Centurion card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The card is not available through NerdWallet.

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