What Is Final Credit Card?
The Final Card is a hybrid of a cash-back rewards credit card and a security-focused app that lets you assign any of the credit cards you own to websites and recurring charges.
On top of these basic functionalities, the Final Card also creates one-time use credit card numbers that function like a diaper – use it once and throw it away. The card is marketed as a part-rewards, part fraud-fighting card.
This unique blend of consumer-focused characteristics was the brainchild of founders Aaron Frank, Matt Rothstein and Andrew Dietrich.
The trio of entrepreneurs launched the company in January 2014. Their reasoning? One of the founders was traveling through Europe when his credit card was deactivated because of the infamous Target security breach.
During that time, another founder’s credit card was also deactivated because of the breach, leaving both cardholders unable to use their card.
At the time of publishing, Frank was Final’s CEO, Rothstein the CTO and Dietrich the COO.
We see the Final Card having three main functions: credit-card rewards, one-site credit cards and one-time use credit cards.
We’ll spend the next few minutes in this review taking a look at each of these features. Once we work through all three, we’ll talk about any fees or interest rates associated with the card as well as how other sites are reviewing the card.
Final’s Cash-Back Rewards Credit Card and Fees
The first part of Final’s trio of features is the Final Visa credit card. The card has no annual fee and you’ll earn 1% cash back on any purchases you make.
We read through the card’s terms and conditions and discovered that these rewards will only be given to you when you pay off a balance, not when you make purchases. This method of giving rewards is similar to what you see with the Citi DoubleCash.
The Citi DoubleCash gives you 2% cash back on all purchases but 1% is given for the actual purchase and the other 1% is given when you pay the purchase off.
We like this type of cash rewards structure because it gives you a reward for paying off your balances, not a reward for making purchases.
While it’s hard to say whether or not this method is effective in getting consumers to pay off their balances, we do think it’s a step in the right direction.
The card offers no up-front rewards like other cash back cards – no intro APR period or cash-back incentive.
As far as fees and rates go, the APR for the Final Visa is 18.15%, a middle-of-the-road interest rate that’s neither great nor awful.
Late fees are $25 a pop, which is $12-$13 cheaper than late fees on popular cards from Chase and Capital One.
The application process for the Final Visa is identical to what you’d do for any other credit card. You provide personal information including your address, income and social security number.
Pro tip: Cash-back rewards must be redeemed starting at $10 (1,000 points).
Final’s One-Site Virtual Credit Cards
There have been several startups over the past five or six years who’ve tried to provide consumers with an easy way to keep all of their credit cards on one card while protecting their privacy and providing formidable security features.
The Final gives you the chance to assign one card for use on one site. For example, through the app you can designate your Chase Freedom Unlimited as the card you want to use when you make purchases on BestBuy.com.
The idea here is that locking a specific card to a specific website helps you cut down on credit-card fraud. If Final sees that your Freedom Unlimited was used to buy gas or a new living room set, then they automatically block the transaction.
“Merchant-locked cards are designed for subscriptions, recurring purchases, or merchants you purchase from regularly, like Amazon, Uber, Netflix, your car insurance bill, or mobile carrier,” Final’s site says. “When you create a merchant-locked card, the first purchase automatically locks that card information to that merchant, so it can’t be used anywhere else.”
Pro tip: Payments aren’t made directly from the app. Final knows which cards you use for which sites and fills in the payment information when it comes time to finalize your purchase.
One-Time Use Credit Cards
The third major feature you get with the Final card is the ability to link a one-time use card number that’s linked to your Final Card.
Basically, Final will generate a credit card number that’s only good for one purchase. Once you make that purchase, the credit card number no longer works.
However, since that number was linked to your Final Visa, you’ll see the transaction show up on your Final Visa statement.
This feature isn’t unique to Final. In fact, PayPal, Citi and Bank of America offer this option for their customers.
Are Virtual Card’s Really Useful?
After seeing several “new” credit card companies spring up offering increased security and a “modern” solution, it got us thinking if having an app or credit card store multiple cards is actually a good thing.
In one sense, we think it’s a great idea for the same reasons the founders thought when they first launched Final. If you’ve got one main card on you and it gets deactivated because of a security breach at one retailer, then you’re stuck.
What’s hard for us to understand, though, is why they focused on the one-card consumer. Based on data from Experian, the average American consumer has 2.24 credit cards. That statistic includes people who have no credit cards, so we’d expect that number to be closer to three credit cards per person.
So, if people with credit cards are carrying around three cards, then why would it be a big deal for one of those cards to be deactivated?
Now, we certainly understand it’s kind of a big deal if you’re traveling abroad and you only bring one card with you. Having that card deactivated would be pretty disastrous.
However, Final is marketing their card to everyone, not just travelers.
Downside to Virtual Credit Card Numbers
MyBankTracker’s Rebecca Lake brought up some other good arguments against virtual cards, noting that returns can be difficult if your card number no longer exists and that numbers are useless for non-online purchases.
Another drawback? Any online purchases that require in-person use of the same card number could cause some headaches.
Our verdict? We think Lake brings up some good points but we also believe that the founders of Final are moving in the direction of the future.
A 2016 study from Pew Research showed that 15% of Americans buy at least one thing online every week and 43% shop online weekly or a few times a month.
Upside to Virtual Credit Card Numbers
A concept like Final may not be a necessity for most consumers today, but, in a few years, we imagine it will be a critical part of the shopping experience for consumers who want a safe, fluid online purchase process.
We certainly think it’s a positive tool for that 15% who buy something online every week.
Reviews of Final Card
The tech-site reviews we read were very positive about Final, deeming it a godsend for people who do a lot of online shopping.
One site confirmed the drawback that we found on MyBankTracker – that Final could cause problems when you have to make a purchase online that requires confirmation in-person.
The tech sites did note that Apple Pay and Android Pay may one day offer the same capabilities as Final, so they questioned the app’s staying power.
Final had, at the time of publishing, 18 reviews on the Google Play store with an average of 4 stars per review.
Our Closing Thoughts About Final Visa Card and App
We believe that Final, when taken as a suite of consumer-friendly features, presents a unique mix of secure purchasing options. Here’s our take on the pros and cons of this card, as well as who might like it.
Pros of Final
The Final Visa has a 1% rewards rate and no annual fee, which makes it similar to some of the cash back rewards cards we’ve reviewed. You also get the advantage of setting up virtual cards for your favorite websites as well as one-and-done credit card numbers.
Cons of Final
The Final Visa’s single APR is average, which isn’t a good thing for someone with great credit scores who can get lower rates on other cash-back cards. Also, the virtual card capability does present some problems with certain transactions.
Who Is the Final Card Good For?
Based on the research and information we presented in this review, we believe the Final Visa and its corresponding app are a good fit for someone who makes online purchases every week.
The Final Word: A Forward-Thinking Credit Suite
It’s hard to say that Final is a credit card or an online shopping tool. It’s both of those in one, which is why we consider it a suite of features and not a single standalone product. We believe the features it offers will become more popular in the next few years but it remains to be seen if mobile payment titans Apple Pay and Android Pay.