In a move to provide added value to the Xbox community, Microsoft has announced the launch of its Xbox Mastercard. In collaboration with Barclays US Consumer Bank, this new financial product aims to provide unique perks and benefits for Xbox users. What makes this card particularly intriguing is that, at least initially, it will be available exclusively to Xbox Insiders in the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii starting September 21, 2023.

What’s In the Box?

The Xbox Mastercard comes with no annual fees and allows cardmembers to earn points on everyday purchases. These points can then be redeemed for games and add-ons directly through the Xbox store. The earning structure is rather generous:

  • Xbox & Microsoft: Earn 5x card points on eligible products at the Microsoft Store.
  • Streaming Services: Earn 3x card points on eligible streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.
  • Dining Delivery Services: Earn 3x card points on eligible services like Grubhub and DoorDash.
  • Everyday Purchases: Earn 1x card points on all other regular purchases.

More Than Just Points: Added Perks

In addition to the points, cardmembers are privy to several more benefits:

  • Sign-up Bonus: 5,000 card points (worth $50) after making their first purchase.
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: Three free months for new Game Pass members. Current Game Pass members can gift this to a friend.
  • Customization: Choose from five iconic designs for the card, and even personalize it with your gamertag.
  • Digital Flexibility: The card can be used for contactless payments and integrated into digital wallets.
  • Credit Health: Free online access to cardmembers’ FICO Credit Score.
  • Security: $0 Fraud Liability protection against unauthorized charges.

How to Join the Party

Becoming an Xbox Insider is the first step to getting your hands on this unique financial tool. You can join the Xbox Insider Program by downloading the Xbox Insider Hub app on your Xbox or Windows PC. If you’re already an Xbox Insider and reside in the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii, you can apply for the Xbox Mastercard starting September 21. The card will be rolled out in phases to Xbox Insiders throughout the fall of 2023.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Interestingly, this isn’t Microsoft’s first foray into merging gaming and finance. The company had previously offered an Xbox Live Diamond loyalty card back in 2005 that provided discounts at certain retailers. This new venture appears to be a more integrated approach to serving the financial and gaming needs of the Xbox community.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft’s new Xbox Mastercard is a fascinating step in monetizing and adding value to the gaming ecosystem. It hits the sweet spot by not just being another credit card with a brand name but offering tangible, relevant benefits to the users. The exclusive initial offer to Xbox Insiders adds an extra layer of desirability, while the promise of a broader roll-out in 2024 keeps the rest of the community intrigued. All in all, it’s a game-changer in the true sense.