Review: Is the Final Credit Card the last credit card you’ll ever need?

If you store your card info on various online-shopping sites – and have countless bills set up for autopay – a data breach can be a huge pain. The issuer will refund any fraudulent charges and mail you a new card. But then it’s up to you to swap that new card number in to all your favorite online shopping sites and services on autopay. If you miss, say, a gym-membership payment in the shuffle, the consequences are on you.

A new card aims to solve that problem. It’s called the Final Card (no annual fee), issued by First Bank & Trust.

How Final works

In addition to giving you a physical card, Final lets you generate infinite virtual cards that can be permanently affixed to a merchant/service, or used for one-off purchases. Virtual card numbers are numbers that are in no way tied to your card’s actual account number. So, if hackers get ahold of it, your real card number isn’t compromised.

Virtual card numbers have been a thing for a while now on many credit cards, but they’re limited to one-time purchases. Final goes a step further by letting you generate a virtual card for Amazon, another for HBO and another for Netflix, etc., that gets used automatically every time you make a purchase or every time that service bills you. If HBO gets hacked and card numbers compromised, you simply use Final’s app to delete the virtual card number for your HBO account – and swap in a new one. You don’t need to do anything for your card number linked to Netflix, etc.

Final also makes it easier to cancel subscriptions. Instead of cancelling directly with the service you’re subscribing to, you can just delete the associated virtual card number from your Final account.

The card also has some other payment-organization perks:

  • Ability to set limits (coming soon): When this feature rolls out, you’ll be able to set a cap for the amount you want to pay to a merchant each month. So, if you have a subscription you pay $25 a month for and the merchant tacks on an extra fee or tries to bill you at a raised price, the card will decline the transaction and you’ll get a push notification. This prevents the merchant from surprising you with extra charges on a subscription you think you’re paying the same amount for each month.
  • Notifications: You can get real-time notifications when a charge hits your account.
  • Compatibility with digital wallets: You can use Final with digital wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

The rewards

Final gives 1 percent cash back on every purchase. This cash back is redeemed as a statement credit and is applied toward your card balance. You must redeem at least $10 worth of rewards at a time.

Credit score needed to get the Final card

According to Final’s website, you’ll need excellent credit to qualify.

A good choice?

Whether the Final card is right for you depends on your goals.

If you’re a rewards-maximizer, 1 percent cash back isn’t very exciting. After all, many cash-back cards these days offer 1.5 percent back or more on all purchases. And you may even forego cash back altogether to collect rewards currency that’s potentially more valuable, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards points or frequent flier miles. A card like Final would just dilute those earnings. The card’s site acknowledges this and emphasizes that the card is for those looking for the convenience and payment-management capabilities it provides – not necessarily for those playing the points-and-miles game.

Even so, some rewards seekers might find the Final card rewarding. Most online subscriptions and services don’t fall into mainstream cards’ bonus categories anyway, so getting “just” 1 percent back isn’t a huge sacrifice. It therefore might be useful to move a couple subscriptions and services on auto-pay over to Final and collect easy 1 percent cash-back statement credits as an aside to your main rewards strategy.

The bottom line: This card isn’t for hard-core reward chasers, who would likely scoff at a mere 1 percent cash back. It’s for those who prioritize managing their financial life easier and who would see some cash-back rewards with simple statement-credit redemptions as an extra bonus.

 
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