CardsFTW #74: The XBox Mastercard Launches

Plus, the MLS Forward Card, First Card, and Conference Season

Conference Season is Coming

I’m excited about the upcoming fall conference season. It’s already kicked off with folks at Finovate and elsewhere. Totavi will be attending two conferences this fall.

CardCon 2023

CardCon is the conference for consumer credit cards. As with the past few years, I have been helping organizer Jason Steele put together a panel focused on fintech card entrants. This year, I am moderating a panel exploring alternative secured card models. Joining me will be founders from Pesto,* Yendo, and Vie.

CardCon is November 7th through 9th in Nashville. Register today with code “cardsftw” to save 20%.

LobbyCon 2023

LobbyCon 2023, I mean Money20/20 2023, is another event I look forward to. With a pandemic-related exclusion, I’ve attended every Money20/20 since its inception in 2013. We’ve set up a party tracker (please contribute) and look forward to seeing you roaming the Venetian halls near Starbucks or Illy Caffè.

Illy Caffe
Image if the line was this short during Money20/20!

New Cards!

I discovered several new credit cards this past week.


First Place is Gold

FirstCard announced its seed funding round. The card is another credit builder for college students. FirstCard is a cash-secured card with a few interesting notes. The secured deposit earns interest, which is uncommon. At least, this is what it seems like. The footer notes, “Firstcard Mastercard® Credit and Debit Cards are issued by Regent Bank, Member FDIC.” So, I guess there is a debit card? I can’t find the Cardholder Agreement without creating an account.

The marketing site does say, “No annual account fees, no overdraft fees, no minimum balance required.” However, if you position the product as consumer-friendly, you need to be consumer-friendly and make it easy to find your cardholder agreement.

Xbox Mastercard

XBox Mastercard
Five “Iconic” Designs

Mastercard announced the planned launch of the Xbox Mastercard, which will be issued by Barclays US. Starting yesterday, Xbox insiders (whatever those are, I don’t play) can apply, and in 2024, the card will have open applications. The card earns 5x points at Microsoft, points on select streaming platforms and dining delivery services, 1X card points for other everyday purchases, and more. Gamers: They love buying games and food being delivered.

MLS Forward Credit Card

No Red Cards for this design

Avant announced the general availability of their previously launched MLS Forward Credit Card. Sports cards are a super-tough space. I love soccer (Go LAFC!), but I think making a sustainable co-brand card business on MLS alone will be tough. The card earns 5X rewards at, 3X on gas, 2X on dining and grocery, and 1X on all other eligible purchases and is issued by WebBank. A cool feature would be accelerated earnings on something like sporting goods stores. The cards have low limits ($3,000) and top-flight APRs (29.99%). It is hard to issue a compelling fintech card in today’s environment. I’ll show my team support with a hat.

Less Plastic

Last week, I wrote about recycled plastic cards. This week, news comes that Blackhawk Network, one of the largest purveyors of gift cards, is working with Visa to transition away from non-reloadable plastic cards to paper-based cards. It’s a good start.

More In-Car Payments?

Hyundai also has some in-car payment plans. I already wrote about this. TL;DR: Why?


Thanks for reading CardsFTW, a debit and credit newsletter by Matthew Goldman. Matthew is the founder of Totavi, LLC, which provides GSD Product Consulting with real operational value. Visit to learn more and engage us.

* Indicates a company with whom Matthew Goldman or Totavi, LLC has a financial relationship.


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