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» Editor's note
Robinhood has acquired the company behind the X1 credit card. There haven’t been changes to the card’s terms or features at this time. We will continue to monitor this development and provide updates, if necessary.
The $0-annual-fee X1 Card is a rewards-earning credit card that lowers many of the traditional barriers to credit access. It's possible to find out whether you're approved with no impact on your credit scores, and those with less-than-ideal credit histories may still qualify.
That's because the application process puts more value on current and future income than it does on credit scores. As a result, X1 can offer a credit limit that is higher than those of traditional credit cards, according to Deepak Rao, co-founder of the company. On top of that, the X1 Card has a lengthy list of convenient features that can save time and money.
Here’s what to know about it.
The X1 Card will soon have a sibling product called the X1+ Card, which will focus more on travelers and feature a different rewards structure, for an annual fee of $75. The X1+ Card was announced in early 2023 but is still on a waitlist as of this writing.
1. Income holds more weight in determining eligibility
Income is generally a key factor in determining whether you qualify for most credit cards, but not all issuers require proof. To be considered for the X1 Card, you'll have to provide proof of income by linking a bank account through the option offered by X1. The credit limit you receive will be based on your current and (projected) future income.
If you’re rejected for the card, your credit scores won’t take a hit during the application process. But if you’re approved and accept the terms of the card, you can expect a hard inquiry, as is usually the case with most credit card applications. A hard inquiry can cause credit scores to drop, temporarily.
2. Rewards become available immediately
The X1 Card offers healthy rewards rates compared with other cards that are friendly to those with less-than-perfect credit histories, and you get those rewards as soon as they’re earned.
The card earns:
2 points per $1 spent.
3 points (on up to $6,500 spent) after you spend $1,000 each month.
Up to 10 points per $1 spent for 30 days after you refer someone and they are approved for the card. Terms apply.
Points can be redeemed for statement credit, cash back and eligible purchases from rewards partners. (Point values may vary.)
On occasion, you may also have access to a “boost” in the card’s app to earn a higher rewards rate when you use the card to shop with specific merchants.
3. You can use the card instantly after approval
If you’re approved for the X1 Card, you can start using it immediately before the metal card arrives in the mail — all 17 grams of it. It's a useful option to have and one that's rarely found on credit cards that are welcoming to those with less-than-perfect credit.
Instant-use credit cards typically provide you with a virtual card number that may be added to a qualifying digital wallet for purchases in person or online. It's unclear how the process works with the X1 Card. The company did not respond to multiple inquiries for clarification.
4. It skips important fees
The X1 Card stands out among cards in its class as a low-cost option that has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and no late fees.
Unlike with other cards, you won’t get dinged with a penalty annual percentage rate, or APR, when you pay late, either — but it's still important to pay on time. Paying late may affect your ability to use the card, and credit scores can suffer depending on how long you take to make the payment. The card has an ongoing APR of 15.75% to 28% (as of March 2023) for purchases, a decent range if you have a less-than-ideal credit history. Still, interest can add up quickly, so you'll want to try paying off the balance in full each month to keep costs low.
5. Convenient features can save you time and money
The X1 Card boasts some interesting features that can help you simplify spending or get you closer to certain goals:
Payments are reported to all three major credit bureaus, a key step for building credit.
Virtual credit card numbers can be used one time to shop anonymously or pay for free trials.
Credit cards can be added for family members, and you can track their spending and impose limits. (Terms and fees may apply.)