Launch HN: Point (YC W19) – First Debit Card with Points

94 points by patrickmro 2 months ago

Hi HN community,

We’re Patrick, Kenan, and Sid, the founders of Point (https://trypointbank.com), a consumer digital bank focused on rewards. After being fed up with the poor customer experience and tactics of traditional banks, we did some digging into why we put up with our own subpar banks. We've discovered that the way most people end up with their current bank is by default (ex: parents set it up for them), rather than by choice. The complete opposite was the case for credit cards; credit cards were actually chosen based on their qualities.

We began to wonder why a solution that combined the rewards and benefits of a credit card, with the simplicity of a bank account didn’t exist. After extensive research and testing of various existing products, we determined that everything came up short for our personal needs. That was the problem.

Whether it was simply the lack of a clean mobile user experience, or rewards that were relevant, nothing managed to fit the bill. Since banks are a fundamental part of our everyday modern lives, we shouldn’t have to settle for a less-than-stellar experience just because that’s the current standard. That’s when we realized, we don’t have to settle. This was an exciting enough realization for us all to quit our day jobs as product managers, designers, and engineers. We decided we needed to create a revolutionary bank.

In order to solve this problem, we created a new-and-improved debit card. We are focusing our efforts on debit because it is currently the most popular payment method. Although debit is the preferred method, in the real world, there is little incentive to use one over the perks offered by credit cards. This unfortunately leads the majority of the dissatisfied group to settle for credit cards, with their offer of limited perks that typically come hand-in-hand with unavoidable debt.

Our business model is sustainable because we are partnered with a smaller regional bank and don’t have the hefty over head of a branch network. The reason we don’t see larger banks offering debit cards with rewards is because of the "Durbin Act”; a federal mandate which slashed interchange margins of banks with more than $10 billion in deposits. This was done in order to protect consumers and merchants from increasing and predatory prices that banks were trying to instill.

If successful in our mission we hope to keep the up and comers out of un-necessary credit cards and raise the standards of user experience for banks. There is no reason why dealing with your bank should be as dreadful as the DMV.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on what we are building and are open to any and all suggestions. Feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] and check out our waitlist on our landing page.

jwr 2 months ago

Ok, so here's my take on most new debit card and checking account offerings.

Things I do not care about:

* points and loyalty programs * measly 2% APR * tracking my spending habits * how the card looks

Things I do care about:

* a card that works and gets accepted (no spurious declines because the bank thought so) * a card that works with Apple Pay (hi Revolut) * no nags, upsells, emojis, animated GIFs, or other teenager stuff (hi Revolut) * do not waste my time * have secure online access (as in, do not use SMS for 2-factor auth, because really) * ability to issue new cards quickly * ability to change my address quickly, even if I move to a different country * whether the company will disappear and/or steal my money (don't laugh, this happens, and recent Revolut scrutiny scares me)

In other words, I am looking for no-nonsense banking, and a debit card is just a small part of it.

This offering, unfortunately, seems to bring nothing new compared to Revolut.

  • jldugger 2 months ago

    As a modest counterpoint --

    Things I do care about in a debit card:

    * cash back on transactions I can't put on a CC -- i.e. rent * OFX/Quicken APIs I can use to import transactions * the ability to choose a PIN rather than memorize a randomly assigned one * the ability to send money via western union to family from my house * is accepted at all retailers / Paypal / misc * does not lose my money

    Things I do not care about because I have other banking products:

    * high APR on cash balances

    Things that are dumb:

    * emoji * large spend alerts / restrictions * card customization

    • mdorazio 2 months ago

      I'm curious what landlords accept a debit card for rent payments. I've always been required to setup an ACH/automated transfer or give a physical check (note this is in California).

      • opportune 2 months ago

        My landlord lets you pay with a debit card but they recently changed the convenience fee from $3 to $75 so you're now highly discouraged from it. It's porbably in general more common for large property management groups/complexes than smaller time landlords

        • benj111 2 months ago

          "$3 to $75"

          Can I just clarify that's not a typo? If you really don't want to offer the service that much, then don't? A $75 debit card (in)convenience fee just comes across as money grabbing, and harms their reputation.

          • opportune 2 months ago

            Not a typo, it really increased from $3 to $75 (ownership of the building changed at the same time). I think it's purely a cash grab. But this city is a seller's market so they can probably get away with it. It's just a shame because the previous company that owned the building was so nice and lax about everything.

            • conductr 2 months ago

              I have rentals and it’s just a switch from eating the fee to passing it along to you. This is why most landlords still require paper checks, depositing them is free.

              The % based fees don’t make sense on large payments. Retailers pass it along too but it’s baked in the price.

              One tip I tell everyone, ask for a cash price when getting quotes. Contractors, etc especially. You might save 3% on Fees or 30% because he’s not going to report it.

              • londons_explore 2 months ago

                Debit card fees are typically like $0.20, for any size of payment though.

                Only reason I can imagine they might be hesitant is because debit cards allow a customer to dispute a transaction, which can hold up capital while the dispute is resolved, and obviously the landlord might be forced to return a rent payment or two if the credit card company sides with the letter.

                • conductr 2 months ago

                  I think there is still a % component in the US anyway. It’s smaller than credit, usually <1%. But brings up Another factor, in the US anyway, getting a merchant account to process debit transactions is not an straightforward thing, especially assuming It needs to be done online. Sure there’s tons of options for credit square/PayPal/etc. But even a somewhat big apartment complex has only a couple 100 monthly transactions and it’s just not worth the hassle for the landlord. No value add on our side equals no reason to change our ways. And yes, we change high fees to discourage behavior we dislike. I charge crazy high late fees because I don’t want to be a debt collector. I actually have a thing I tell ever new tenant about how I will never bother them about payments being late because I’m not a debt collector. But they can expect a eviction notice on the N day late because that’s what the state minimum requirement. My renters are never late.

              • cozzyd 2 months ago

                Yes tax evasion is a great deal!

            • hedora 2 months ago

              With my current rent + credit card cash back percentage, I'd get more than $75 back per month. YMMV.

      • byproxy 2 months ago

        My apartment's portal allows me to pay either with a debit/credit card or a bank account. I go through my bank account, as they charge a 5%(?) fee to use a card.

      • jldugger 2 months ago

        Ah, right. I guess the setup with my landlord is ACH, with a hefty surcharge for using a CC, and no debit options.

      • qpalz 2 months ago

        I've just payed my landlord over venmo this past year. It's super convenient

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    This is helpful, thank you.

    Point works with Apple & GPay.

    You can instantly issue new virtual cards when ever you would like to.

    You can update your address right from the app (2FA required).

    Your balance is FDIC insured, so this isn't an issue.

    Btw, Revolut isn't available in the US (yet).

    • teddyfrozevelt 2 months ago

      > You can instantly issue new virtual cards when ever you would like to.

      Is this like privacy.com? Right now I'm using that because I can get 2% cash back while still using my debit card, and for the card controls in case some service tries to charge me for something I don't want.

      I'm using Simple bank because I love the UX, but when I'm using it in conjunction with Privacy, I lose some of the benefits like the auto naming and categorization of transactions.

      • patrickmro 2 months ago

        Yes it's similar in the sense that you can issue/destroy a virtual card for online purchases as you wish.

        In our case, you would be able to get 2% cashback, have virtual cards, and a digital banks with a beautiful UX (in our biased opinion).

        • teddyfrozevelt 2 months ago

          That integration would be pretty slick, especially since the budgeting in Simple is somewhat convoluted and yours seems to be more like how Mint handles it.

      • lavezzi 2 months ago

        What's the 2% cashback from? Privacy or your card provider?

        • teddyfrozevelt 2 months ago

          Privacy has a new, somewhat hidden cashback program that's not really visible until you sign up. It starts at 1% but you'll get 2% for a year if you refer enough people.

          https://cashback.privacy.com/

  • austenallred 2 months ago

    Hmm, I seem to care about different things than you do. Perhaps this card is for a different market?

ferrisford 2 months ago

I've seen debit card's with a points system at a credit union (just sharing so you can research) https://www.redwoodcu.org/personal/redwood-rewards I have no affiliation with them, had just been researching something similar a few months back.

I don't personally want to use a debit card for my everyday purchases, mostly for security reasons. I figure if I only use a credit card, then if the card gets compromised I can argue with my bank over the charges rather than asking them to put money back in my checking account while the fraud is investigated. Cashback on purchases is just icing on the cake.

  • mey 2 months ago

    https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0213-lost-or-stolen-cr... Credit Cards have better mandated federal requirements about fraud protection. Limit of $50 generically, where Debit cards are limited at $50 if reported in 2 days (which is hard to do).

    Some banks go above and beyond for Debit Cards but check with your bank.

  • jimmy1 2 months ago

    I have similar concerns, although my wife and I have sworn off using credit cards due to candidly our lack of discipline paying the balance off in time. Do you think things like Apple Pay with the virtual cards provide that layer of security?

    To any bank out there: I think if you offered a debit card that is backed by "virtual money" rather than the cardholders physical account, you would get my business in a heartbeat. The primary difference between the OP's answer is when your debit card is compromised, you are on the hook until the investigations are completed and still it is not a guarantee your funds are recovered.

    • clairity 2 months ago

      yes, until the protections are equalized for debit cards relative to credit cards, use credit cards and pay them off monthly.

      set up autopay to pay the full statement balance each month from your checking account, so you don't have the hassle of dealing with it every month. then have all other monthly bills autopaid with your credit card(s), so you get points for that too. (this is what i do.)

    • jedberg 2 months ago

      They're usually reserved for people with bad credit, but you can request a secured credit card. The limit is however much you put into an attached savings account. So you have to have the money before you spend it. It's still a credit card, you just have to put cash up front.

    • ferrisford 2 months ago

      Mobile wallets are pretty secure and when you use them to pay you aren't handing over your card number, kind of similar to using chip cards. If you're not going to use a credit card, then a debit card run though Apple or Google Pay is what I'd go for.

    • leetcrew 2 months ago

      if it's an overspending issue you could always try a charge card where you have to pay off the balance every month. the benefit is that they usually have comparable rewards and still act as a firewall for your checking account. if it's more of a "just can't remember to pay on time" issue, then it won't really help.

      you could also setup autopay against your checking account. in theory, it shouldn't be any harder to ensure you don't overdraft one time at the end of the month if you are already making sure you don't overdraft for each purchase, but everyone has their own weird hangups, so I'm not judging.

    • patrickmro 2 months ago

      We have zero liability backed by MasterCard, so if there is a charge you don't recognize we will refund you right away and take it up with the merchant instead of leaving you with $X amount less in your bank account.

    • patrickmro 2 months ago

      Also wanted to mentioned, we offer a virtual card for online purchases as a security pre-caution.

      • ferrisford 2 months ago

        That's actually pretty nifty. I think you should add another section to your landing page about security that mentions chips, mobile wallets, and virtual cards for online payments. Those are all factors I'd look at when shopping for a new bank account.

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing! What we meant is that we are the first debit card with meaningful rewards that are comparable to those of a credit card.

    Re security: We allow you to have full control over the card for enhanced security: Ex: You can set daily spending limits, turn ATM withdraws on/off, and get instant notifications every time your card is swiped.

    • masonic 2 months ago

        rewards that are comparable to those of a credit card
      
      But who pays for those rewards?

      With a credit card, my rewards are a partial kickback of the fees charged to the merchant. Those aren't present in a debit transaction, which may have just a small per-transaction fee that doesn't vary with purchase amount.

      Where does that money come from? Is the plan based on selling demographic or purchase history data to third parties?

      • patrickmro 2 months ago

        We do a partial kick off of interchange fees as well, since we are partnered with a smaller bank this allows us to have a larger merchant fee.

    • ferrisford 2 months ago

      Not saying it's not secure, I just enjoy a firewall between the card I use and my cash balances. I pay off the balance each month so it works well for me. I understand it doesn't work for everyone and that only using a debit card helps some people live within their means, kudos for trying to build a good product for that market.

iooi 2 months ago

Most credit cards have sign up bonuses worth a couple hundred dollars in points, that's definitely something to consider for your customer acquisition.

Not sure how you're going to compete in terms of CAC when banks are spending so much on this already.

Also, MR and UR points are transferrable to a ton of partners -- not all points are created equally, MR and UR points are some of the best at 2cpp.

Overall, since you're comparing yourself with the CSR, I would much rather get a CSR with 50K UR point bonus which is worth $750 in travel. I also get $300 in travel benefits, and I can cancel the card later to avoid the second AF from hitting. And finally, I earn points faster since it's 3x on travel and dining.

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    We are exactly competition with cc's since we are a digital bank offering a debit card, and checking/savings accounts.

    We are targeting a different type of user that: 1. Do not qualify for a rewards card or have a dis-dain for credit (likely due to student loans & growing up during 08/09 crisis) 2. Not interesting to banks (yet)

isoskeles 2 months ago

> The reason we don’t see larger banks offering debit cards with rewards is because of the "Durbin Act”; a federal mandate which slashed interchange margins of banks with more than $10 billion in deposits. This was done in order to protect consumers and merchants from increasing and predatory prices that banks were trying to instill.

OOC, will this limit your growth in the long-term? What happens if you grow beyond $10B in deposits? Is the plan to partner with other small regional banks that have less than $10B in deposits, and does that circumvent the "Durbin Act"?

  • benj111 2 months ago

    Agreed, also harms potential investment (limited upside).

    What would be stopping you setting up a 'savings' bank. Set a higher interest rate on that, and make it trivial to swap the money between accounts?

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Exactly - plan is to have a network participating banks.

sosodev 2 months ago

I'm not sure I see the value proposition. Currently my bank (Alliant Credit Union) gives 2.08% on my savings and .648% on my checking. I'd say they're very reasonable with their fees considering I don't think I've ever gotten one.

For rewards I'd just use my credit card which is arguably better for daily transactions anyway. My bank even offers a credit card with 3% cash back in the first year and 2.5% after that.

So why would I use Point over already existing and arguably better solutions?

bravura 2 months ago

Why should I prefer a debit card over a credit card, when fraud protections are so much better on a credit card?

  • elliekelly 2 months ago

    Not OP but from their website it looks like they rely on Mastercard:

    > Every dollar in your Point Bank Account is insured by the FDIC up to $250,000, and unauthorized charges are covered by Mastercard Zero Liability protection.

    And Mastercard offers the same protection for both debit and credit card products[1].

    [1]https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/about-mastercard/what-we-do/...

    • gumby 2 months ago

      Credit cards have specific legal protections and abilities (e.g. chargeback) that debit cards do not. MC's policy (thanks for linking to it!) offers none of those -- for CCs because there's no need, and for debit because the banks really really want to not provide them.

      Ironically those protections were pushed for by the CC providers in the 1960s to encourage use of CCs. Now that CCs are ubiquitous, banks are pushing debit cards because they don't have those protections.

      It's quite painful trying to get an ATM card from your bank that isn't also a debit card. Doable, but in my experience hard.

RandallBrown 2 months ago

My Chase debit card has had rewards for over a decade. How is this going to be better?

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    We are initially focusing on life style oriented rewards similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.

    • fredophile 2 months ago

      I don't see this as being competitive with the Chase Sapphire Reserve via points. The best use of points with this card is for travel. This can be done either using the points to book travel through their website for $0.015 per point or through transferring to their hotel and airline partners. Assuming someone also has a Chase Freedom United card they can get at least 1.5 points per dollar spent which is equivalent to at least $0.0225 in savings on travel. Combining this with a credit cards purchase protection and other benefits, why would someone choose your debit card over this?

      Do you plan to add hotel and airline transfer partners to make your points more appealing?

      Credit cards often have high sign up bonuses. The Sapphire Reserve launched at 100 000 points and later dropped to 50 000. If someone doesn't have one yet, why should they sign up for your debit card instead of the Chase card and putting all of their spending on it to earn the bonus?

      • patrickmro 2 months ago

        We are not trying to compete with an elite credit card.

        Instead we are offering a product designed to combine some of the perks of a Chase Sapphire into a debit card which prevents you from overspending/going into debt.

        Many people (especially younger millennials/gen-z) have thin credit files and a strong disdain for credit. We want to prevent folks from getting them selves into financial trouble without missing out on the good parts of having an elite rewards card.

ds 2 months ago

Ive always wanted a better credit card to be honest. Something that had a insane amount of transfer partners, similar to how the starwood preferred guest card used to be. Something as simple as 1 point per dollar on everything and 2 points per dollar on dining/gas. The ability to also throw in the benefits that amex/chase cards offer would also be awesome (lounge access, return protection, roadside assistance, etc..) - I would switch to a card like that instantly. Im currently stuck putting all my spend on a American Airlines card, just because all the other options suck.

Now, with that said. I wouldn't use this product. Its not listed what the 'points' they give you do, so i can only imagine its nowhere near the value of being able to transfer them directly to airline or hotel partners. Im guessing its either a built in travel portal redemption they host or simply cashback. Either option is pretty garbage compared to other redemptions.

The interest is standard if you have a private bank, so its nice they give it to common folk, although i think many banks offer this now.

But most importantly, Using a debit card is risky. It lacks the chargeback and other protections a credit card has. (I could be wrong here, but I know it used to be this way a few years ago)

Anyways, dont take this as a negative guys. If anything, please continue improving your product and I will be a user. As it stands though, Its still lagging behind existing players.

alehul 2 months ago

Hey there!

What is the value of a point? You say '2x points,' but I can't find the value of a point anywhere on your website. Is it one cent = one point? How do we redeem points?

That aside, love the design and concept. :)

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Hi!

    You're correct $0.01 = 1 point.

    Initially points are redeemable for cash-back, eventually we will partner with different merchants where you will also be able to redeem points.

    • ac29 2 months ago

      For what its worth, "2% Cash Back" sounds better to me than the ambiguous "2x Points".

the_watcher 2 months ago

A few questions:

* What's the ATM network that you're using with no fees? Since I have good rewards credit cards that I can pay off every month, my debit card is essentially just for accessing cash and paying the very few bills I have that won't take a credit card, my debit card choice is entirely related to "no ATM fees, anywhere in the US."

* I'm a little confused about "All-in-one" including checking, savings, etc. Does that mean I'd get multiple accounts by default? Or does the debit card just pay HYS-competitive APY?

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Hey!

    1. It's MoneyPass.

    2. With Point you get a checking account and high interest savings account by default. The savings account pays out the 2% APY interest on a monthly basis.

  • the_watcher 2 months ago

    Very cool by the way. I've definitely looked for rewards debit cards in the past.

    • patrickmro 2 months ago

      Awesome to hear! We believe there is a fundamental shift towards debit especially as the new generation is burdened with student load debt and has a stronger disdain for credit cards due to growing up in the 08/09 financial crisis.

Bluestrike2 2 months ago

Minor suggestion: rework the "Compare Point to Other Banks" part of your homepage to better differentiate the two columns and explicitly identify which column is for which bank. While it's obviously implied that Point is the one on the left with the more impressive point (ugh) in the comparison, at first glance it's possible to miss that for a second until your brain catches up.

jammygit 2 months ago

I dont personally care about points, but I do care about being able to make purchases without wondering who my bank is selling/trading the records to.

Points are manipulative anyway, they're designed to make people spend/do more than they ordinarily would. Eg, scene points, drug store points, credit card points, points in arcade games maybe even

77yy77yy 2 months ago

As well as https://www.pointbank.com/

Rebrand in the making.

  • sgberlin 2 months ago

    Woah, legal issues incoming.

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Haha - we are not related!

    • 77yy77yy 2 months ago

      1. You are trading very closely to their mark (financial services), leaving yourself open to these litigation issues from day one.

      2. If you succeed, you'll have to rebrand. You have a lousy and confusing name and domain (sorry for being brutally honest). We see this all the time. Rebrands are expensive as hell.

      3. If you fail, it will be largely due to naming.

      Can't believe YC didn't tell you that ahead.

      • patrickmro 2 months ago

        Thanks for bringing this to our attention, it's definitely something we will keep in mind as we grow.

        Appreciate the brutally honest feedback, it's usually the best kind :)

martin-adams 2 months ago

I don’t really have much to comment on the card itself. I’m from the UK and use a credit card for most spending due to the consumer protection it gives you.

One thing that I feel is extremely important, but not well executed in general is the budgeting. This does budgeting, but looking at it, I suspect it reports the categories of spending. The marketing site is somewhat vague at how that works. If that is correct, that’s reporting not budgeting. Budgeting is allocating your spending to predict and plan for the future.

A couple of years ago I switch to YNAB and it’s been a remarkable mindset change in how I manage money. I feel a lot of young people are missing out because they don’t have the education or tools at the bank level to do it right. Most people I know of all ages do bank balance budgeting.

kevinyun 2 months ago

This is pretty sweet! Looks like it checks all the boxes of what I currently have spread across multiple accounts and apps:

* Savings (want sitting cash to make market-competitive interest) * Checkings with no monthly fee * Budgeting analysis (if you can integrate with other Banks via Plaid or something that would kill 5 birds in one stone) * No international fees * Dining/travel points

## Questions:

* Do dining/travel 2x points apply internationally? And any chance this can become 3x? * 30k ATMs... compared to Schwab, who credit all ATM fees, how reasonable is Point to work overseas in the same manner?) * How fast (business days) do transfers take? * When is launch? * Mobile Apps --> do you support Android?

Great job, I think there's definitely something here.

koolba 2 months ago

Is this a debit card that transacts as a credit card? ie you validate the balance on the spot, approve or reject the transaction immediately, and then run the transaction on the network as a credit card so you can charge credit card rates? (Enough for rewards)

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    This is a pure debit card, it processes on the debit network.

    • koolba 2 months ago

      So how are you able to collect enough transaction fees to cover the referenced rewards?

      Does that debit card transaction fee limit only apply to banks with assets over $10B?

epodox 2 months ago

Hello,

I signed up for your waiting list. I was redirected to a page with my current position in your queue. I have since lost that link and dont see a way to get back to it on your website. Can you provide a link on how to get back to this list?

Thank you, Joshua

arosier 2 months ago

How do you plan on dealing with the nightmare of the other organization in the finance space that is named "Point" http://point.com?

kevindong 2 months ago

Your website mentions that a customer would receive 2x points on travel/dining which raises the questions of:

1. how many points are received on non travel/dining purchases?

2. what's the value of 1 point?

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    1. No points for non travel/dining currently 2. $0.01 = 1 point

    • gnicholas 2 months ago

      FWIW, you lost me with "no points for non travel/dining currently". I get 2% on my credit card on all purchases, and I get 2.20% on my high-interest savings. I also have virtual card numbers, though admittedly through a terrible (Flash, so desktop-only) interface.

      I can see how this card is great for people who haven't established good credit and need to use debit cards, but I'd think that even this audience would want to get credit cards so they can get improve their credit rating.

      Innovation in the space is certainly welcome, so I'm absolutely rooting for you. For now though, it's from the sidelines.

motivated_gear 2 months ago

You mentioned the Durbin act which limit debit card fees. Since you're exempt from it, I assume you'll be jacking up fees for merchants in order to pay for your rewards program which is basically just a credit card.

This might not be a large enough of a pain point to be viable. Actually it might be detrimental to consumers who are living paycheck to paycheck. They rely on an incremental paycheck and short term credit fills the void.

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    We don't have the power raise merchant fees that's dependent on the card networks (mc, visa, amex).

    Our card is designed for people who don't/can't have an elite card but want to enjoy the benefits such as spending rewards, consumer protection, and travel perks.

not_a_moth 2 months ago

"2x points" is advertised front and center, but since I couldn't find information on how they can be used or redeemed, I'm not sure if they are actually worth anything. For me, if you do not have, for example, airline transfer partners, I would not particularly value these points. FYI, optimizing for travel rewards is probably the #1 reason folks with a healthy disposable income use credit cards.

  • krisrm 2 months ago

    Noticed the same thing. I have a deep seated distrust for "point" cards. I guess I don't really fly much either, so airmiles are useless towards me. I just don't see the benefit of acquiring points in a corporation's economic fiefdom, where they control the value of both the currency and the products you purchase with them.

    FWIW, I have a decent amount of disposable income and do use a credit card, but with cashback. I'm ~keeping pace with inflation and providing some sort of cushion between my chequing account and disreputable folk, so it's better than most other payment methods as far as I can tell.

keshwa01 2 months ago

Congrats on the launch. I would have thought that instead of trying to convert existing CC holders, you would have a better shot at converting cash/debit card holders who don't have great alternatives. Often these people will have low credit scores, keeping them from the very best CC opps, but by linking to their cash balance, you can give them rewards without having to handle credit risk.

newscracker 2 months ago

I read through all the marketing on the homepage and got to the end where it says it's currently invitation only and that one can sign up for the waitlist. Where exactly is the link to the waitlist? I tapped all over that box and didn't find any links. The contact link goes to Twitter, whereas your email address should be the main way to contact you (not everyone uses Twitter).

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Tap on "Reserve Your Account"

    • newscracker 2 months ago

      It doesn't work for me. There is nothing that accepts a tap or click on those words or in that entire box. I tried with iOS and Firefox on a computer.

Kye 2 months ago

I couldn’t find anything about the partner bank on your site. Most people probably won’t care, but it matters to enough people to mention it.

  • narak 2 months ago

    All rights reserved Point Up Inc. Additional banking services supplied by Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC. Point Card is accepted at all Mastercard locations.

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Our partner bank is Evolve Bank & Trust and the debit card is a MasterCard.

anonfunction 2 months ago

Looking at the career section I noticed you're backend stack consists of:

Node.js, Express, GraphQL Yoga, Prisma, PostgreSQL, Docker, and Fargate in AWS.

I'm wondering why you chose JS for a financial services org instead of a language that offers more safety in the sense of types and memory control such as Rust or Go?

snr 2 months ago

I bank with SoFi. 2.25% APY on a checking (like) account. $1.5M FDIC insured (not that I care/need it). Access to practically ALL ATMs. Beautiful app.

I use Uber Visa Credit Card, which is free, which auto pays itself from my SoFi, with helluva lot benefits: 4x dining, 3x travel.

Why should I use Point?

  • dansoto 2 months ago

    1) SoFi, by itself, isn't offering you points 2) You're only getting points by using your Uber Visa Credit Card. That's defeating the purpose of this product which is getting away from CCs.

    • snr 2 months ago

      I'm really asking out of ignorance here: What's wrong with credit cards other than the fact that they don't bill my account immediately (which might actually be an advantage sometimes?)

opportune 2 months ago

Will you be funding this with merchant fees? What about fraud protection, will it be as good as a credit card?

If the answers are "yes" and "no" it seems like there's almost no reason for me to pick your card over a credit card right? Unless I'm missing something big.

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Yes, the rewards will be.

    For fraud protection there is 0 liability and we will credit you with the disputed amount instantly and there are several security features built into the card to protect you (on/off switch for ATM withdraws, daily spending limits, virtual cards, and instant push notification).

    Point is a digital bank so we offer a checking account and high interest savings in addition to the card, so product/feature wise quite a bit different from a cc.

    • vesinisa 2 months ago

      > instant push notification

      Did you consult Apple on this? I was recently investigating Apple Developer Program T&C for APNS (Apple Push Notification Service) and they seem to expressly prohibit delivering financial transaction data over push:

      > You understand and agree that in order to provide the APN and make Your Push Notifications available on iOS Products, Apple may transmit Your Push Notifications across various public networks, in various media. You acknowledge and agree that the APN is not, and is not intended to be, a guaranteed or secure delivery service, and You shall not use or rely upon it as such. Further, as a condition to using the APN or delivering Local Notifications, You agree not to transmit sensitive personal or confidential information belonging to an individual (e.g., a social security number, financial account or transactional information, or any information where the individual may have a reasonable expectation of secure transmission) as part of any such Notification, and You agree to comply with any applicable notice or consent requirements with respect to any collection, transmission, maintenance, processing or use of an end-user’s personal information.

      • ceejayoz 2 months ago

        Interesting. I've got several banking apps, each of which sends push notifications for charges. Either there's wiggle room on what's deemed truly "private", or everyone's openly violating this.

        • vesinisa 2 months ago

          My thoughts exactly! It seems either all the banking apps have entered into special arrangements with Apple, or they are violating this provision out of ignorance or "me too" mentality.

    • jasonwilk 2 months ago

      Patrick, just be careful calling this a bank. Evolve is the bank, you are not the bank. Saving you some headache in the future.

      • patrickmro 2 months ago

        Thanks for the heads up Jason.

qv1x0te 2 months ago

To reward your costumers for spending money is not exactly the same tactic of a traditional bank?

jwr 2 months ago

> because we are partnered with a smaller regional bank

This here is the problem. This industry is heavily regulated and dominated by behemoths. You can't innovate when you are partnered with a whale. Sooner or later there will be an impedance mismatch.

dansoto 2 months ago

It's disheartening to join a waiting list then see that the top two spots are reserved by two of the founders. It makes you wonder how many other of their people are holding spots while we're sitting at 2,000th in line :(

chelovek89 2 months ago

I think HN skews towards high income engineers who qualify for Chase Sapphires/Amex Platinum. Theres definitely a dearth of good rewards card for lower income people so I can see why this is a great idea.

JimDabell 2 months ago

Is this for Americans only? There's no mention of availability on the website.

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    Yes currently for US only.

    • anonfunction 2 months ago

      Can you add that to the website? It's a glaring omission, as I was wondering the same thing.

bluedino 2 months ago

Why, when I can just use a credit card? What's nex, checks with rewards?

wolco 2 months ago

Do merchants pay 3% on debit card transactions similiar to credit cards.

  • ceejayoz 2 months ago

    No. They were always lower, and were strictly capped in 2012.

    https://www.federalreserve.gov/paymentsystems/regii-average-...

    > The Board's Regulation II provides that an issuer subject to the interchange fee standard (a covered issuer) may not receive an interchange fee that exceeds 21 cents plus 0.05 percent multiplied by the value of the transaction, plus a 1-cent fraud-prevention adjustment, if eligible.

  • primitivesuave 2 months ago

    Yes - all payment processing networks impose a ~3% fee regardless of the credit/debit nature of the card.

    • ceejayoz 2 months ago

      Payment processors like Stripe may fix the rate at something profitable for ease of explanation, but the underlying interchange fees are not the same.

      They even vary by credit card type (rewards cards have a higher interchange rate than a non-rewards card), and by type of merchant. See the MasterCard rates at https://www.mastercard.us/content/dam/mccom/en-us/documents/..., for example.

    • lavezzi 2 months ago

      Source please?

atdrummond 2 months ago

Patrick - I'm in the payment services space. Do you have a phone number or email I can contact you at?

thoughtstheseus 2 months ago

I thought everyone used a CC just to build credit. Guess I was wrong.

donpdonp 2 months ago

Nice feature set. I'd also like to see an API/Direct OFX access.

ninetax 2 months ago

Loved the artwork so much, I impulse bought a print from Laura Berger!

truthhurt 2 months ago

Should have mentioned synapsefi in the website because it's big lie that they partner with this bank.

They really don't partner with bank. They use synapsefi

Giorgi 2 months ago

whaah? We have had debit cards in Georgia (Country) with points for years now. Maybe first in the US - Yes.

matz1 2 months ago

Instead of giving cashback/point, why don't lower the transaction fee instead ?

  • feifan 2 months ago

    The transaction/interchange fee is set by the card networks, not by any one card issuer. Merchants (businesses, restaurants, service providers, etc) pay that fee, not the consumer — cashback/points is basically a way of transferring some of that fee to the consumer. It's zero-sum at the end of the day.

  • umeshunni 2 months ago

    Because that doesn't benefit the cardholder. It only benefits the merchant. And, due to contractual restrictions, merchants cannot offer different prices based on payment methods.

    • matz1 2 months ago

      Lower transaction fee will benefit the cardholder, it enable the merchant to lower the price of goods/service.

77yy77yy 2 months ago

Point.com is in the business of financial services. Sounds like you chose a terrible name.

elliekelly 2 months ago

Very cool! There's a lot about the banking industry that needs improvement so I'm always excited to see people trying something new. I'm curious if you have (or perhaps have applied for) one of the OCC's new nondepository "financial technology" charters?

  • patrickmro 2 months ago

    We have not (yet). Our plan initially is to focus on launching a live product in the market getting users/traction then exploring a fintech charter once we reach scale.