Frequently Asked Questions

What is Zero?

Zero is a San Francisco-based financial technology company. We provide a mobile banking experience consisting of an app, a credit card called Zerocard, and a checking account called Zero Checking.

What’s special about Zero?

Zero is the first modern banking experience to combine the simplicity of a debit card with the rewards of a credit card.

Zero is powered by two accounts under the hood, a checking account (Zero Checking) to hold your money and a credit card (Zerocard) that makes great rewards possible. The Zero app has several key features, which we collectively call the “Debit-style Experience”, that allow your accounts to work together with a user experience comparable to a cash back debit card. When you enable these features, your deposits and Zerocard spending appear in one place in the app and you get cash back on spending and rewards competitive with high-yield checking account rates.

What’s the problem with debit cards?

Debit cards are great because of the balance oversight they provide, but due to a complex set of regulations, banks are typically unable to provide any meaningful rewards associated with debit card spending.

Why can’t debit cards provide rewards?

Rewards primarily stem from merchant processing costs that are paid to the card-issuing bank every time you use your card. Credit cards can provide great rewards because the processing costs banks receive are much higher than with debit cards.

What’s the problem with credit cards?

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.

What problem does Zero solve?

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.

Is Zerocard a credit card or a debit card?

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.

How does the Zero app provide the simplicity of a debit card?

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.

How does Zerocard differ from typical credit cards?

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.

Why are the spending requirements for higher level cards so high?

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.

How can Zero afford to pay up to 3.0% cash back?

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.

Does Zero still pay up to 3.0% cash back if I use my card for business-purposes or spend millions per year?

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.

How often can rewards be redeemed?

Once rewards become eligible for redemption, they may be redeemed at any time in the Zero app.

Will Zero offer a business/commercial card?

We have not announced plans to offer a business/commercial card at this time.

Is there a monthly bill to pay with Zerocard?

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.

Can Zero potentially increase my credit score?

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.

Does Zero maintain a bank charter?

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.

Is a bank charter required to issue credit cards?

Yes. Zerocard is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC and is usable anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

Are deposited funds insured?

Yes. Zero Checking deposits are insured up to $250,000 by Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC.

Can I send checks with Zero?

Yes. With Zero Checking, you are able to send paper checks directly from the app (coming soon).

Does cash back apply to ACH, Send a Check, or ATM transactions?

Cash back only applies to card purchases made using your Zerocard and does not apply to non-card purchase transactions.

Do transfers, checks, ATM, or other non-card purchase transactions count towards getting a higher level Zerocard?

Only card purchases made using your Zerocard count towards leveling up to a higher level Zerocard.

Will Zero accept cash deposits?

No, cash deposits are not currently accepted.

Will Zero offer joint accounts?

No, joint accounts are not currently offered.

Are there any intentions to launch in countries other than the United States?

Not currently.

What do I need to apply?

When you apply, you will need to provide your full legal name, U.S. physical address, date of birth, tax identification number (e.g., social security number), phone number, email address, and a copy of government-issued photo identification.

If you apply for a Zerocard, you must provide your annual income, satisfy certain underwriting criteria, and pass a credit check.

Do you offer liability protection?

Yes. Mastercard Zero Liability Protection applies to Zerocard purchases. As a cardholder, you will not be held responsible for unauthorized transactions if:

  1. You use reasonable care in protecting your card from loss or theft; and

  2. You promptly report the loss or theft to Zero.

What other features does Zero have?

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.

How can I get a Zerocard?

Obtaining Zerocard requires downloading the Zero app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, completing a credit application, and receiving approval. Approval is based on a variety of factors. You must be a legal resident of the United States, at least 18 years old (19 if you live in Alabama or if you’re a ward of the state in Nebraska), and have a valid social security number. You need a physical address in the United States. You must also satisfy certain underwriting criteria and pass a credit check, although you’re welcome to apply even with a thin credit history or no credit history.

What are the different levels of Zerocard?

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.

How can I level up to a higher level Zerocard?

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.

Once I level up, do I maintain status indefinitely?

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.

When can I submit my application for Zero?

Anytime - download the Zero app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

What platforms does Zero support?

Both iOS and Android.

What are Zero's policies regarding privacy?

Our current Privacy Policy is available here.

What are Zero's policies regarding security?

Zero encrypts personal data to meet and exceed banking industry standards.