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- A crypto-focused rewards credit card from Gemini is coming soon, and the waitlist is now open.
- There’s no annual fee, and it earns 3% on dining, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else.
- Rewards aren’t limited to bitcoin — you can choose from 30+ digital currency options for rewards.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.
Another day means another headline about cryptocurrency. Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange run by the famous Winklevoss twins, unveiled the details of the new Gemini Credit Card recently, and it’s a simple way to rack up rewards in something other than traditional cash back, miles, or points.
The waitlist for the Gemini credit card is now open, with the card is slated to launch this summer. You don’t need to be an existing customer to sign up, but when you apply, a Gemini Exchange account will be created for you.
Gemini’s main competition in the space right now is BlockFi, which launched its card earlier this year. Both Gemini and BlockFi offer the usual protections of credit cards, although they have different payment network logos emblazoned on them. Gemini comes with the standard World Mastercard liability protections and a few other perks at certain merchants, and BlockFi comes with the Visa Signature benefits.
Which one is better? I’m going to ask the same questions about Gemini’s card that I considered when weighing the BlockFi offering.
Does the Gemini Credit Card have an annual fee?
Nope — and this is one of the big points of differentiation from BlockFi. While BlockFi charges a $200 annual fee, Gemini has no yearly fixed price. With BlockFi, the $200 fee feels like a real drag on the potential for earning.
Sure, you can score a sign-up bonus in the first year that offsets the fee, but for every year after that, you’ll have to cough up $200. If you really want to hold some bitcoin, it seems easier to put that $200 directly toward your investment. So, the score here: Gemini 1, BlockFi 0.
Are there credits or perks that apply to your everyday spending?
As we’ve all been sitting at home and not traveling, many cardholders are reexamining their rewards opportunities to determine what matters on a regular basis — not just when you book that vacation. The Gemini Credit Card has a straightforward bonus structure designed to work with your stomach:
- 3% back on dining
- 2% back on groceries
- 1% back on all other purchases
The dining and grocery payouts can make this card especially appealing if you’re regularly trying new restaurants or have fairly sizable weekly grocery bills. The 1% back on everything else, though, falls short of BlockFi’s 1.5% back. We’ll call it a tie, and give them both points: Gemini 2, BlockFi 1.
What’s your relationship with crypto — not just bitcoin?
Bitcoin is the biggest name in the world of digital finance, but there are a lot of other coins/currencies that hold the potential for growth. While BlockFi’s card currently pays rewards in bitcoin, Gemini’s card offers the ability to diversify your earnings.
Rather than restrict your rewards solely to bitcoin, you can choose from more than 30 different cryptocurrencies. For example, you could opt for Ether — the second-largest cryptocurrency, which some analysts are more excited about than bitcoin — or you could get more adventurous and go for The Sandbox, a virtual world where gamers use NFTs.
BlockFi offers some extra earning power via stable coin holdings, trading, and referrals, but it’s a bit more complex than earning rewards needs to feel. I give Gemini the edge for more coin options. Final tally: Gemini 3, BlockFi 1.
How do these cards stack up again cash-back cards?
While I think Gemini’s card will beat BlockFi in a head-to-head competition, it’s important to note that there are plenty of traditional credit cards that still feel more valuable to have in your wallet. Rather than waiting to start earning rewards in crypto, you could pick from a variety of cash-back cards, redeem your cash and buy some non-US dollars.
For example, open a Chase Freedom Unlimited®, score the welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening, and buy some bitcoin on Gemini’s platform. You could also forego the bonus route, choose the Citi® Double Cash Card to earn 2% cash back (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off the purchase), and steadily invest those earnings in whatever crypto you prefer.
Gemini wants to answer skeptics like me and differentiate from those cash-back rewards cycles. The card delivers real-time payouts, which can make all the difference in earnings versus waiting for the end of the statement cycle.
Let’s say you buy a $200 dinner on a Monday when bitcoin is valued at $54,800. You’ll get those rewards immediately. If bitcoin soars to $64,000 by the weekend, your rewards do, too. Of course, on the flip side, real-time could translate to really disappointing. If bitcoin has a flash crash and loses nearly $3,000 in value in five minutes after you pay your tab, your rewards look, well, less rewarding.
David McMillin has written about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes, and travel for the past 10 years. His goal is simple: help readers figure out how to minimize fees and maximize rewards.