The Xbox Mastercard, a collaboration between Microsoft and Barclays, has made its debut in the United States, and it’s poised to potentially influence the gaming industry in multiple ways.
The Xbox Mastercard is a credit card designed for gamers and gaming enthusiasts. It’s a partnership between Microsoft and Barclays, the financial institution behind popular credit cards like JetBlue’s. With this card, users can make purchases like they would with any other credit card, but it comes with gaming-centric benefits and rewards.
As of now, the Xbox Mastercard is available only in the United States, and access is limited to Xbox Insiders. The Xbox Insider program is open to everyone and offers various perks, including early access to the Xbox Mastercard. To apply, users need to join the Xbox Insider program, sign in on the Xbox Mastercard website, and complete the application process on Barclays’ website. The card is set to become available to the general public in 2024.
One of the standout features of the Xbox Mastercard is its points system tailored to gaming and entertainment. Users can earn points on their purchases, including:
- 5x points on purchases from the Microsoft Store
- 3x points on streaming services like Netflix and Disney+
- 3x points on dining delivery services like DoorDash and GrubHub
- 1x points on everyday purchases
These points can be redeemed for various gaming-related rewards.
Xbox Mastercard points can be redeemed to purchase games and add-ons through Xbox.com. However, it’s important to note that the redemption comes in the form of a credit on your next billing statement. Additionally, Xbox Mastercard points and Microsoft Rewards points cannot be combined, although users will continue to earn both types of points on eligible purchases.
Aside from the points system, the Xbox Mastercard offers several perks:
- Three months of Game Pass Ultimate for new subscribers, received after the first purchase
- Customizable card designs featuring the Xbox logo
- Support for contactless payments and mobile wallet integration
- Fraud liability protection
- Access to FICO credit score checking with no fee or impact on your score
The introduction of the Xbox Mastercard could have several noteworthy effects on the gaming industry:
- Financial Integration: The partnership between a major gaming company like Microsoft and a financial institution like Barclays demonstrates a growing trend of financial integration within the gaming sector. This collaboration could encourage other gaming companies to explore similar financial partnerships, leading to a broader range of gaming-related financial services and products.
- Incentivizing Gaming Purchases: The Xbox Mastercard’s points system, offering rewards for gaming-related purchases, may incentivize gamers to spend more on games, subscriptions, and related services. This could potentially boost revenue for both Microsoft and game developers.
- Competition Among Credit Cards: The introduction of a gaming-focused credit card could lead to increased competition among credit card companies to cater to gamers’ needs. This competition may result in the development of more specialized credit cards tailored to the gaming community.
- Increased Engagement: The inclusion of perks like free Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions could enhance user engagement with Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem. This may lead to increased loyalty among Xbox gamers and boost subscriptions to Xbox Game Pass.
- Consumer Data Insights: The Xbox Mastercard could provide Microsoft and Barclays with valuable insights into gamers’ spending habits and preferences. This data may inform future gaming-related financial products and marketing strategies.
- Expansion of Gaming Communities: By offering exclusive access to the Xbox Mastercard through the Xbox Insider program, Microsoft could attract more users to its gaming community. This could potentially expand the reach of the Xbox brand and ecosystem.