Crypto Cards Will Leave Bank Cards in the Dust
Banks brought reward cards to the forefront of consumer banking. But a number of crypto companies are working to take this product category to the next level.
Hey guys, I wanted to try something new with the newsletter this week. Today we’re going to focus on a single brand do a bit of a run-down on how I like to look at product marketing, brand positioning, and go-to-market strategy.
One of the best things I’ve done for my personal finance journey is gamifying credit card rewards. I have a card from my bank that I use for accruing travel points. I have the Amazon card that gives me a generous 5% cash-back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. And I have the Apple card, which I think is probably the best fintech user experience of any card on the market right now.
The whole vision for the fintech industry is that companies emulate banking activities without having to be a bank. We see this with companies like CashApp, PayPal/Venmo, Betterment, Wealthfront, and many, many others. In fact, each of these companies have launched their own cards, trying to steal users away from the incumbent consumer banks.
For the last three years, there have been a number of companies working on bridging traditional and “future finance” realities. One of the most interesting and under-appreciated are the crypto card providers.
What we’re seeing in the crypto industry is a quiet evolution of card rewards.
For the first time, consumers can earn significantly more in cash-back than the traditional consumer card. There are bonuses for just using the card. There are bonuses for using the app. There are even prize pools just for using the card. And while some of these have analogues in the traditional card market, almost none of them have been developed as a stand-alone product, rather than a feature of a wider offering.
I think it’s worth us digging into one of the most interesting cards available to users now and why they might be a better alternative than your traditional bank card. There’s one in particular I want to focus on for this issue.
Fold’s Bitcoin Rewards Card
If you’ve been at all active on Crypto Twitter in 2020, you’re more likely than not to have seen someone talking about Fold. First and foremost they are a platform where you can earn free bitcoin when you shop. They allow you to buy gift cards with a credit card or bitcoin at your favorite retailers, and checkout instantly in-store, online, and in-app. And people love it.
One of my favorite things about their app is their gamified user experience. They have a digital “spin wheel” within the app that rewards you with a rotating list of bonuses every day. Some days you might get 100 sats. Others you might get a refer a friend bonus. And sometimes nothing at all. But it keeps you coming back daily. Great idea.
Another thing I love is that they give away prizes to random users. Here’s a great example from Valentine’s Day:
One whole bitcoin. Just for spinning a wheel in an app. Wow.
From a product marketer’s perspective, you’re always looking for opportunities to create stickiness. The spin wheel is a great real-world example of this done right. And we’ve seen some other apps already attempt to emulate a similar strategy. Very cool.
This brings me to the Fold Card.
The idea of earning bitcoin has really only gotten popular over the last 2-3 years as interesting-bearing accounts and cash-back products have taken the crypto market by storm. As a marketer, the hard part is figuring out frame your value props in a way that sticks out. Or in marketer speak — what is your unique selling point (USP) that differentiates you from your competitors?
So what we have here is a debit card that offers more value potential and flexibility than almost any credit card on the market. Fold also provides interest on the rewards you earn and store on the account, compounding in value over time.
As far as gamification goes, this one of the best examples we’ve seen in crypto to-date.
Fold has developed two versions of their card: a free version and a paid version. The offerings are very similar, but the premium card has boosted perks, like a jump from 2% to 10% interest on rewards, an increase from 1% to 3% for average spin rewards rate on purchases, and a $50 bitcoin deposit bonus. You can read more details about the features of each card here.
Ok great, this product has some good features, but how is it being marketed?
I’m glad you asked.
In marketing copywriting, the best way to sell something is to focus on the benefits, not the features. I think the Fold team has really taken this to heart.
The debit card was launched with a particularly eye-catching value proposition.
“Swipe the card. Spin the Wheel. Win every time.”
Win every time. Who can hate that? This wheel mechanic that Fold has developed is an interesting way to add gamification to the experience while introducing a risk-free game of chance. Just by spinning the wheel, you can earn an extra 2% spending boost, a 2x match on direct deposits, or even a whole bitcoin. That will keep users around.
It’s also worth pointing out how the Fold team uses a narrative of financially “winning” to connect with their customers. One of the strongest and earliest narratives in the crypto industry is the rejection of debt financing and an increased emphasis on self-reliance.
“Be rewarded for good behavior. No more debt payments, credit checks, or interest payments.”
The messaging for this card is very much carrying that idea in the forefront. At the end of the day, good marketing is knowing your customer, and the Fold team has shown their ability to do just that.
No debt. Get paid for spending. Earn more than you would with your bank.
For Fold and its growing list of customers, it’s that simple.
Another thing I particularly love with Fold’s approach to the rollout of this product is the transparency. They publish monthly early-access updates, detailing the ongoing performance of the product, features they’re working on, and things they’re working to fix. It’s a unique look inside the community growing around this product that I find particularly interesting and insightful.
It’s also work mentioning how much work Fold does to encourage their community to be vocal on Twitter about their experiences, good and bad. My Twitter timeline is often filled with people showing off their cash-back on every day purchases. Just take a scroll through the Fold Twitter feed for some RT’d examples.
There is currently a waitlist of tens of thousands that the Fold team is working through. As of February 1, they are sending out about 100–200 invites each day. Get yourself on that list by signing up here.
Here are my 5 key takeaways from this look at the Fold Card:
Selling the benefits (“earn bitcoin on everything”) will always beat selling the features (easy to use app)
Gamification is key, particularly within crypto products (spin wheel creates stickiness and keeps people coming back)
Having a free and paid versions of a product is a great way to:
a) Introduce market-leading features with a guaranteed return for the business
b) Give non-paying customers a way to take advantage of the benefits without the cost, keeping the barrier to entry as low as possible
Presenting the brand with your community’s shared values in the forefront is an excellent way to endear your brand to the wider bitcoin community
Transparency with your community is key (blog posts, social posts, etc)
The Fold card is not only an exciting product for Bitcoiners, but also an interesting look at the future of non-bank card providers. With the BlockFi Rewards Credit Card and Gemini Crypto Credit Card coming right around the corner, this is a space you’re going to want to keep an eye on.
Who’s Hiring in Crypto?
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VP, Content Marketing & Editorial @ Genesis [APPLY]
Senior Social Media Strategist @ Paxful [APPLY]
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