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This upstart company just unveiled a no-annual-fee card with up to 3% back -- here's why we're intrigued

April 27, 2021
4 min read
This upstart company just unveiled a no-annual-fee card with up to 3% back -- here's why we're intrigued
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Cryptocurrency is soaring in popularity, and the competition for crypto-earning credit cards is seriously heating up.

Instead of rewarding cardholders with cash back, points or airline miles, these cards will earn crypto -- including popular currencies such as bitcoin. While there’s no guarantee about the future value of cryptocurrencies, this type of reward has the potential to appreciate, unlike most other reward types.

The first crypto cards are set to be unveiled later this year, including ones from Gemini and BlockFi.

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Gemini, a cryptocurrency platform, is announcing that it is teaming up with Mastercard to offer a number of unique features on its new rewards credit card set to launch this summer.

The no-annual-fee card will earn up to 3% back on purchases with crypto rewards automatically deposited into the cardholders’ Gemini account. There's the option to earn any of the more than 30 cryptocurrencies available on Gemini, including Bitcoin.

(Photo courtesy of Gemini)

Category bonuses will include 3% back on dining, 2% back on groceries and 1% back on everything else. Cardholders also have the option to deposit their crypto rewards into a Gemini Earn account, a new interest-earning program, to grow their holdings further.

Interestingly, Gemini says that cardholders will also receive their crypto rewards instantly as the transaction occurs. For a crypto card, this may be particularly beneficial, since the price of rewards could appreciate over time. Instead of waiting until month's end to earn rewards, you'll get them in real-time.

You can earn 3% back on dining in the form of crypto rewarss. (Photo by Oscar Wong/Getty Images) risotto.

Related: Is earning Bitcoin with each swipe the credit card reward of the future? These cards think so

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Gemini says that more than 140,000 people are already on the waitlist for this new card that will be available in all 50 U.S. states. On paper, the card appears to be a very competitive offering considering its no-annual-fee nature and category bonuses.

The sleek, metal contactless card will be available in black, silver or rose gold and will also include World Mastercard benefits such as discounts with DoorDash, HelloFresh, Lyft and ShopRunner.

In a written press release, Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said, “As more consumers look to enter the crypto ecosystem, the Gemini Credit Card gives them an easy point of entry, an effortless way to earn crypto as a reward, and diversify their portfolios over time without changing their daily spending habits."

Bottom line

Gemini's rewards card offering isn't the only crypto launch happening this year. BlockFi also announced details of its crypto credit card, a $200-a-year product that will earn a flat 1.5% back. However, for now, it seems Gemini has a leg up on BlockFi, with no annual fee and up to 3% back in crypto earnings.

Of course, perennial no-annual-fee cards such as the Citi® Double Cash Card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited are some of the best on the market today, although they don't offer cryptocurrency rewards.

The Citi® Double Cash Card earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay your bill. Meanwhile, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases with an elevated earning rate on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (5%), dining at restaurants (3%) and drugstore purchases (3%).

Those earnings can in turn be converted to crypto but the process isn't nearly as seamless as what Gemini is saying it will offer cardholders. Over the coming months, we'll see if this is the card that will bring crypto even further into the mainstream spotlight.

Featured image by Shutterstock
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees