TPG exclusive: A year after launch, here's how Verizon will make its first-ever credit card more rewarding
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Verizon isn't just a wireless network company anymore.
In recent years, it's acquired companies such as Yahoo. Last summer, Verizon even launched its own credit card to enter the financial space. But, of course, all of this diversification has been intentional.
In an interview with TPG, Todd Oberstein, Executive Director of Product Management and Development at Verizon, said that the "Verizon Visa Card is being joined by other financial tools we offer customers." The key here is financial, as Verizon expands beyond its core wireless offering to other facets of daily life.
In fact, the Verizon card was one of the more intriguing credit card products to launch last year.
For starters, it was an all-new card unveiled in the midst of the global pandemic. But more importantly, it had some impressive earning rates for a no-annual-fee product, including 4% back on gas and groceries.
However, on the redemption side, the card was hampered by the ability to only redeem cash back towards Verizon-specific purchases (such as devices or your bill). Now, Verizon is changing that by allowing you to redeem towards flights, hotels and car rentals as well as gift cards to select brands.
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Redeeming towards travel
Oberstein told TPG that the company wanted to "deliver an equally strong redemption value proposition" compared to earnings.
That means Verizon cardholders can now redeem cash back on not just Verizon purchases but also on travel, including flights, hotels and rental cars. In addition, cardholders can also redeem towards gift cards from select stores and brands.
In a pre-written statement, Frank Boulben, senior vice president of consumer marketing and products at Verizon, said that the card was the only one in the world "designed specifically to put Verizon customers first and give them more value, more ways to save and some of the best rewards in the industry."
Sure, the card is a bit niche: It's targeted at existing Verizon wireless customers. But for those that qualify, it offers some impressive earning rates:
Instead of actual cash back, you'll receive something called "Verizon Dollars." So, for example, you'll get four cents back per dollar spent on gas and groceries, but those cents can only be redeemed towards select items, including Verizon purchases, bills and now, travel and gift cards.
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Card perks for Verizon customers
New cardholders will receive up to $100 in wireless bill credits over 24 consecutive months for monthly bill payments. You must be a Verizon Wireless Account Owner or Account Manager on an account with 10 lines or less to apply.
The card is available on all mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.) and integrated wallet payment within the Verizon app. In addition, all cardholders get two free days of TravelPass annually.
Additionally, the Verizon Visa card will be the only card eligible for the Auto Pay discount. Typically, the Auto Pay reduction of up to $10 per month only applies to a debit card or a bank account as your automatic payment method.
Finally, Verizon notes that there are also no foreign transaction fees in addition to no annual fee and no cap to how many Verizon Dollars you can earn.
Verizon is one of the latest entrants into the world of personal finance as they attempt to lock customers into a broader ecosystem. Unfortunately, while they've now made it easier to redeem rewards, the card still does little to poach other wireless customers over to Verizon.
And the card still isn't for everyone. You have to be a Verizon wireless customer -- or plan to switch to Verizon -- even to consider getting it.
However, the category bonuses on the Verizon Visa are what make this card stand out. For example, 4% back on both gas and groceries is about as good as it gets for a no-annual-fee card, especially when coupled with 3% back on dining. While some cards earn up to 5% back on a specific category, the combination of categories is what makes this card pretty interesting.
And now, Verizon is making it easier than before to redeem your cash back rewards.
Overall, the credit card space trend is offering more flexibility for cardholders -- especially as the world reopens and existing and potential cardholders are spending again. That's all good news for you and me.