Just when we were starting to think that the X1 Card would become the coolest new credit card of 2021, a new contender steps up! The Owner’s Rewards Credit Card from M1 Finance offers a fresh take on cash back, with rewards going up to 10% on some purchases!
The plot twist here, is that in order to get the insane rewards from M1, you must own a bit of stock in an eligible company in an investment account with M1 Finance. But don’t worry, the amount of stock you have to own is quite small (read below for details).
Below we will cover all the details about this new card, how it works, and how you can get your hands on one.
Table of Contents:
- What is M1 Finance?
- What is the M1 Owner’s Rewards Credit Card?
- What are the Rewards?
- How to Earn and Redeem Cash Back Rewards
- Cash Back Limitations
- What are the Fees for the M1 Card?
- Features and Details of the M1 Card
- How to Apply for the M1 Card
- Should You Get the M1 Card?
- Final Thoughts
What is M1 Finance?
M1 Finance is an all-in-one Investment and Banking ecosystem that provides users seamless integration and automation for their finances. They were launched in 2015 with a goal to reshape the investment landscape, using the latest technologies.
An account with M1 is free, and the majority of their services are also free, including Checking Accounts, Investment Accounts, and access to lending services. An optional paid Membership Service is also available with more features and enhancements.
New features are constantly being rolled out to give more tools to investors, and the M1 Owner’s Rewards Card is the latest example of the type of innovation you can expect from M1 Finance.
What is the M1 Owner’s Rewards Credit Card?
The M1 Owner’s Rewards Card is a brand new credit card from M1 Finance, offering incredible cash back rewards on major brands of up to 10%, along with seamless integration in to the M1 Finance ecosystem.
Like most Credit Cards, the M1 card offers a baseline 1.5% cash back on all purchases, but rather than having special categories that earn more, M1 instead allows users to earn more on purchases with big brands, provided that they own some stock in that company.
For example, if you own Netflix Stock (minimum of $0.01 worth) in your M1 account, you are eligible for 10% cash back on purchases made from Netflix with the M1 card.
Cash back rewards in M1 are paid back into your investment account, and can easily be automatically reinvested.
What are the Rewards?
All purchases with the M1 card receive a minimum of 1.5% cash back. Bonus cash back rates of 2.5%, 5%, and even 10% are available for purchases at select companies, if you own some stock in that company.
Here are just a few examples of companies available at each tier:
- 10% – Netflix, AMC, Wayfair, Gamestop, and Tesla (sadly, you can’t use it for car payments)
- 5% – Starbucks, Nike, Domino’s, Dollar General, and many Airlines such as Delta, American, Southwest, and United
- 2.5% – Amazon, Target, Costco, Walmart, Airbnb, Ebay, Apple, Best Buy, and Uber/Lyft.
Rewards are likely to change over time, and a full list of the current reward offerings is available here.
How to Earn and Redeem Cash Back Rewards
Before we jump into the details of how to earn that sweet, sweet cash back, it’s important to note that using the M1 Credit Card essentially requires you to have an investment account with M1.
If you’re not interested in having any investments, then this card will not be a very good fit. If you want to check out another new Credit Card with huge rewards potential (up to 4% back on everything) then take a look at the X1 Credit Card.
With that out of the way, let’s get into how you can get in on the crazy cash back!
Make a Pie or Add Slices to an Existing Pie
If you’re new to M1 Finance, you’ll probably want to learn more about their pie system here before you go any further. All investments with M1 are represented in your portfolio as slices in a pie, where you control their percentage out of 100.
There are a few ways you can add stocks to your pie to become eligible for their rewards.
Method #1 – Add Slices to Your Existing Portfolio
If you already have an M1 investment pie, you can add slices of any stocks you want to gain rewards from. Keep in mind that you will have to lower your investment percentage(s) in other things to account for the new slice.
Additionally, you can only have a minimum slice size of 1%. This means that if you want to have all stocks in your portfolio, 51% of your pie will be occupied with these stocks at a minimum.
This method is probably only ideal if you just want a few of the rewards stocks. If you want to have them all but not hog your whole portfolio, check out the next methods.
Method #2 – Add a Pie as Slice to Your Existing Portfolio
Rather than take up your whole portfolio with individual stocks, you can simply make a new pie, add all of the stocks into that, and then add that new pie as a single slice in your investment account.
To do this in the M1 App, tap the “Research” tab at the bottom, then open the menu from the upper-left, and choose “My Pies.” Click the “+” icon in the upper-right to start building your own rewards pie. Use the rewards list here to see all available stocks.
Alternatively, you can import the pie that I made here. Be aware that I reduced the size of Gamestop and AMC both to 1% as I consider them riskier investments, so be sure to adjust the pie to your liking.
Method #3 – Make a New Investment Account
This works if you’re new to M1 Finance, or just want to set up a second account to manage a rewards pie separately. M1 will allow you to set up a separate investment account (this is what I did) and simply make the whole account your rewards pie. You can make your own or copy mine as outlined above.
To add a new account in the M1 App, tap the “Invest” tab at the bottom, then open the menu from the upper-left, and choose “Add account.” Select your account type and provide the requested information, and you’ll now have a second account showing within M1.
A few things to keep in mind: This new account is managed separately, and will require you to re-connect your bank accounts to it. It can have its own investment rules, separate from your other account(s). Even though it’s in a separate investment account, it still contributes to rewards eligibility for the M1 Credit Card. The total value of the account (unless it is a retirement account) also contributes to the eligible amount for the M1 Borrow Service.
Pie Slice Limits and Increases
If you try and add a rewards pie to your main portfolio that already contains a lot of pies or slices, it’s possible that you will receive an error about having too many slices. It’s not clear what the threshold is to encounter this.
Should you receive this error message, contact M1 Support and request that they increase your limits. They did this without issue for me, but your outcome may vary.
How Much do you Need to Invest in a Stock to get Rewards
This might come as a shock, but for now the minimum amount of money required in a single stock to be eligible for it’s rewards payout is just 1 penny ($0.01). Yes, you read that correctly.
With just a single penny invested into an eligible stock, you will be able to receive the full reward value for purchases at that company.
How Much Does it Cost to Invest in All Reward-Earning Companies
With a rate of just $0.01 per stock, and presently 51 eligible companies, you’d need an absolute minimum of $0.51, however there’s a catch.
M1 will not allow deposits or investment purchases for amounts under $10 total, so if you plan to invest only in rewards-earning stocks, you’ll need $10 which will result in ~$0.20 being invested per stock.
If you choose to make a rewards pie like I outlined above, and incorporate that as a single slice on your main pie, then you will need a minimum value of that slice to be $0.51 (containing at least 1 cent of each stock). If the slice accounts for 1% of your main main pie, then your total portfolio value will need to be at least $51 to maintain the minimum balance.
Do Stocks Inside of ETFs Qualify for Rewards?
In short, the answer is no. Even if you own an ETF which contains a qualifying stock, they will not be counted. You must have qualifying stocks as slices in one of your pies within your account.
When and Where are Rewards Paid out?
The official timeline stated from M1 Finance is “no later than 60 days from the transaction settlement date.” However, I received my first rewards payout just a week after the purchase of some Taco Bell, so it’s certainly possible for rewards to pay out rather quickly.
All rewards are paid out either an M1 Invest or M1 Spend account. Keep in mind that the payouts will follow any automation rules you have in place, such as auto-invest.
Cash Back Limitations
A maximum of $200 cash back may be earned per calendar month, which means a maximum of $2400 per year.
Here are some breakdowns of how much you’d have to spend to max out your rewards payout each month and year:
- 10% – $2000 in a month, $24,000 in a year
- 5% – $4000 in a month, $48,000 in a year
- 2.5% – $8000 in a month, $96,000 in a year
- 1.5% – $13,334 in a month, $160,000 in a year
It seems that maxing out rewards each month may be difficult for some. With the current cashback lineup, I think most people will find the bulk of their rewards coming from purchases in the 2.5% category. This could change over time though!
What are the Fees for the M1 Card?
At the moment, the M1 credit card has a $95 fee, or no fee if you are an M1 Plus subscriber. At the time of this article, the M1 Plus plan is $125/year, and M1 is offering the first year for free.
Should a cardholder decide they no longer want M1 Plus, they can choose to remove the plan and just pay the $95 fee for the card on its own at any time.
Features and Details of the M1 Card
The M1 has a variety of features both of the card itself, and through the App. Here are the most notable ones:
Foreign Transaction Fees
There are currently zero foreign transaction fees for the M1 Owner’s Rewards card. Combine this with 5% back on most airlines, and traveling is looking really sweet!
The Owner’s Rewards card comes with a Chip, supports contactless Tap-to-pay, and is able to be used in Apple and Google’s wallet Apps.
Manage and Freeze Your Card in the App
Most common features of the M1 Credit Card can be managed inside of the M1 App. This includes the ability to lock your card, view statements, and get additional support.
Visa Signature Benefits
As a Visa Signature Credit Card, the M1 Owner’s Rewards Card qualifies users for certain additional benefits from Visa. The benefits range from additional purchase protections, concierge services, extended warranties, travel assistance, and a whole lot more. See the full list of benefits here.
How to Apply for the M1 Card
Before you are able to apply to the M1 Credit Card, you must meet the following conditions:
- Be an active M1 Plus member.
- Have an active M1 Invest account (having stocks in bonus reward companies is not necessary to apply).
- Be located in the United States with a U.S. address.
If you meet the above criteria, you can apply to the card by going into the M1 App, navigating to the “Spend” tab, clicking the Credit Card icon, and selecting “Apply.” Provide the requested information to see if you are approved right away. Remember, this will perform a credit check and potentially impact your credit score.
Should You Get the M1 Card?
While I’m very much a fan of the M1 card, it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s rare for me to champion cards with an annual fee, but this is one of the few instances where I think the fee can be worth it. It’s important to estimate how much you think you might get back in rewards, and see if it’s possible you could earn more from a card with no annual fee, despite the lower payout rate.
Of course high cash back isn’t all that the M1 card has to offer. The fact that rewards can be automatically re-invested right away makes their potential payout even larger over time (assuming your investments go up). By continuously re-investing your money, M1 helps you really hone in on having an investor’s mentality as well, which can help you reach long-term goals.
The reward-earning stocks can change, so it’s best to approach this from an investment angle. If you find value in the M1 platform and ecosystem, then I think it’s easy to see how the M1 Credit Card fits right into the puzzle. Without leveraging the rest of the M1 features, it’s difficult to see how this card would bring much value to someone.
M1 Finance is constantly making big leaps to reimagine the financial and investing landscape, and their credit card is a great milestone in that journey.
While the M1 Owner’s Rewards card is certainly not for everyone, it’s definitely a strong fit for avid investors. It’s clear that M1 designed this card with that in mind, and I appreciate that it doesn’t try to compromise and be something else.
If the thought of constantly re-investing your earnings and dollar cost averaging into your portfolio sounds like an exciting prospect, then you’ll feel right at home with the M1 Credit Card.
We’re excited to see what M1 rolls out next, and what new rewards will be added in the future.
Let us know if you got the M1 card and what you think!
If you like the M1 card, be sure and read about the X1 Credit Card here as well.