Zero was a mobile banking experience consisting of an app, a credit card called Zerocard, and a checking account called Zero Checking. Zero, developed by Zero Financial, Inc., was closed to new customers in March 2020.
Zero was the first modern banking experience to combine the simplicity of a debit card with the rewards of a credit card.
Zero was powered by two accounts under the hood, a checking account (Zero Checking) to hold your money and a credit card (Zerocard) that made great rewards possible. The Zero app had several key features, which we collectively called the “Debit-style Experience”, that allowed your accounts to work together with a user experience comparable to a cash back debit card. When you enabled these features, your deposits and Zerocard spending appeared in one place in the app and you got cash back on spending and rewards competitive with high-yield checking account rates.
Debit cards are great because of the balance oversight they provide, but due to a complex set of regulations, traditional banks are typically unable to provide any meaningful rewards associated with debit card spending. Zero’s newest product, Level, aims to address this need by offering unparalleled rewards like interest (APY), cash back on qualified purchases, no fees, ATM fee reimbursement, and more.
Rewards primarily stem from merchant processing costs that are paid to the card-issuing bank every time you use your card. Typically, credit cards could provide great rewards because the processing costs banks receive are much higher than with debit cards. With Level, we’re able to offer perks like interest and cash back because we retain a small portion of the interchange fees collected by Visa and interest earned on money in your Level Bank Account, just like a traditional bank. Plus, our mobile-centric product offering and automated processes allow us to skip the large overhead costs of brick and mortar branches.
Credit cards (at least the typical ones) can entice you with rewards, but require paying a monthly bill and tracking your spending in more than one place. This means they’re harder to keep up with and can thus entice you to spend with less oversight and discretion. Even if you have the best financial discipline today and always pay off your balance in full, when you use credit cards, statistically speaking, you may be more likely to overspend and potentially even end up in unintentional debt in the future.
With credit cards, the negatives associated with likeliness to overspend and potential interest charges often outpace the benefits of any potential rewards you may get. Zero solves this by allowing you to earn credit card rewards while also providing the balance oversight and simplicity that is so great with debit cards.
Zerocard is a credit card and it processes on credit card networks. However, the user experience presented by the Zero app provides the simplicity of a debit card, where your deposits and spending appear in one place.
The Zero app displays Zerocard purchases, along with other deposits and withdrawals, in one place with a real-time net balance (we refer to this number as your “Current Position”) in the Zero app, along with other innovative features.
Zerocard provides unlimited cash back with no category restrictions at a higher rate than many other credit cards in the U.S. market. Furthermore, there are no annual, maintenance, or foreign transaction fees. The Zero app also allows you to track your Zerocard spending alongside deposits in a Zero Checking account, providing a user experience very similar to what we think you would want from a cash back debit card, as well as rewards competitive with high-yield checking account rates.
A high annual spending requirement goes hand in hand with the aspirational appeal of higher card levels, such as Zerocard Carbon. However, spending $100,000 in a year is not the only way to level up to Zerocard Carbon. We also allow customers to level up and maintain status by referring others to become Zero customers. We believe that rewarding people for spreading the word about a product they love is a great way to appreciate our customers and keep higher level cards like Zerocard Carbon within reach for everyone.
Our economics are made possible due to a lower cost structure through reduced overhead and our mobile-centric, referral-based approach to acquiring new customers.
Zerocard is designed for personal and household use. We use automated techniques to identify and flag patterns inconsistent with personal use and reserve the right to close accounts in such cases. Please refer to the Zerocard Agreement for more details.
Once rewards become eligible for redemption, they may be redeemed at any time in the Zero app.
We have no plans to offer a business/commercial card at this time.
Because it is a credit card, a billing statement is generated each month, but you don’t have to worry about paying it manually if you agree to the terms of the Debit-style Experience, which include automatic payments in full. Learn more about the Debit-style Experience in the Zero app.
As with any credit card or loan product, proper use of credit may reflect positively on your credit history. This includes managing your balances and making payments on time. Because Zero discourages overspending and encourages automatic payments of your Zerocard balance, especially with the Debit-style Experience turned on, proper use of your Zerocard may increase your credit score.
As with any credit card, late or missed payments may decrease your credit score.
Zero does not maintain its own bank charter, which allows us to operate with greater efficiency. Banking services, including FDIC insurance on deposits, are provided via our partner banks.
Yes. Zerocard is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC and is usable anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Yes. Zero Checking deposits are insured up to $250,000 by Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC.
Cash back only applies to card purchases made using your Zerocard and does not apply to non-card purchase transactions.
Only card purchases made using your Zerocard count towards leveling up to a higher level Zerocard.
No, cash deposits are not currently accepted.
No, joint accounts are not currently offered.
Yes. Mastercard Zero Liability Protection applies to Zerocard purchases. As a cardholder, you will not be held responsible for unauthorized transactions if:
You use reasonable care in protecting your card from loss or theft; and
You promptly report the loss or theft to Zero.
Rewards - Zerocard earns 1.0% to 3.0% cash back on spending and additional rewards of 0% to 2.00% annually on average Current Position (if you have Zero Checking). See the Zerocard Agreement for more details.
Direct deposit, ACH transfers, photo check deposits, and sending checks – with Zero Checking, Zero includes the ability to receive direct deposits, send and receive ACH transfers, deposit checks by taking a photo (coming soon), and send paper checks directly from the app (coming soon).
ATM Use - With Zero, you don’t pay any ATM fees beyond what the ATM owner may charge, and at the Carbon level, all ATM fees including what the ATM owner may charge are refunded.
Mobile Payment - Zerocard is usable via mobile payment methods such as Apple Wallet (coming soon).
Zero of the most annoying fees of typical bank accounts - no maintenance, bill pay, inactivity, foreign currency, annual, or add-on ATM fees.
There are four levels of Zerocard, which vary in terms of the cash back rate they earn. The entry-level Zerocard Quartz earns 1.0%, Zerocard Graphite earns 1.5%, Zerocard Magnesium earns 2.0% and Zerocard Carbon earns 3.0% cash back. Leveling up to a higher level Zerocard allows you to earn more cash back on purchases at a greater rate.
For Zerocard Graphite, Magnesium, and Carbon: to earn the full cash back rate advertised, you must ensure that your statement balance is paid in full, on time, from your Zero Checking account each month. Enabling the Debit-style Experience in the Zero app helps ensure that this happens. Please refer to the Zero app and Zerocard Agreement for more details.
You can level up through Invites and Spending:
Invites – Level up via invites by referring 1, 2, or 4 friends to become a Zero customer for Zerocard Graphite, Zerocard Magnesium, or Zerocard Carbon, respectively. See the Zerocard Agreement for more information.
Spending – Level up via spending by spending $25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 for Zerocard Graphite, Zerocard Magnesium, or Zerocard Carbon, respectively. See the Zerocard Agreement for more information.
Customers who level up will maintain higher level status for the remainder of the calendar year in which they level up, plus all of the following calendar year. Just like airline or hotel preferred status programs, higher level Zerocard status must be re-earned each calendar year before the level is set to expire. Customers will enjoy the benefits of higher level Zerocard status from the day that it is earned through the end of the following calendar year, subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the Zerocard Agreement.
Zero is closed to new applications.
Zero encrypts personal data to meet and exceed banking industry standards.
iPhone and Apple Pay are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.
iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.
Android is a trademark of Google LLC.