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A Final Farewell (getfinal.com)
131 points by kreitje 10 months ago | hide | past | web | 75 comments | favorite

That's too bad. I loved using Final.

I know Privacy [0] is one possible alternative, but it's debit based rather than credit based like Final is, and they require linking a bank account by username and password, which AFAIK makes you entirely liable for any fraudulent activity for the account, so that's a non-starter for me. Anyone aware of any other services that provide virtual cards like these?

[0] https://privacy.com/

EDIT: just found out about Token [1], which seems similar. But the fact that it makes you enter your phone number to get a link to the app seems rather shady... I can't seem to find their app on the Play Store so I'm going to assume they're iOS only and skip it. Can anyone comment on their experience with the service?

[1] https://jointoken.com/#slide1

What also kind of gets my goat is that Privacy has rules in their terms permitting a 3% surcharge for virtual cards backed by a credit card. They just don't have that capability in real life.

I messaged them back when they first opened to complain about the username and password requirement and the response was basically "fraud prevention but we're going to require it for you to use our service."

I do use Privacy's service but point it at a "play" bank account that I keep relatively little money in at a different institution than my regular account.

Early Final adopter here. I liked the product but wasn't able to differentiate between Final and other VCCs.

Bank of America and Citibank offer virtual credit card creation which is very close to what Final does. Their UI is very clunky but does the trick without worrying about the liability part.

I was using Bank of America's ShopSafe system a decade ago. Remember all those "Get a free Xbox for completing these 12 free trial offers" scams?

Well, it turned out that some of them weren't necessarily scams, and there were whole forums dedicated to actually completing the offers, keeping proper documentation and claiming the prizes.

Most of the free trial offers validated your credit card for the initial free month, and then made it incredibly difficult to cancel the service. So I'd just sign up with a ShopSafe number that was valid for 1 month with a $1 limit.

Typically, instead of actually shipping you the Xbox or whatever the prize was, if you completed the offer they'd just send you a check. The year after I got out of college when I had plenty of free time, I managed to get about $1,200 thanks to those offers and ShopSafe.

It's not a feature I'd use enough to have it dictate my overall credit card choice, but I'd love it if more issuers added to their products.

Ahhh the good old days. I'd have spreadsheets of when to cancel trial offers. Probably earned about $20-30k in electronics and cash overall during Freshman year in college.

Me and my roommates did this as well. We did it so much that one of my roommates actually got a legally threatening letter from on of the companies behind most of them (Trilegent I think it was) telling him to stop because he was abusing the system. Which was funny because they were so scammy to begin with.

Yikes. The worst I got was being sent to collections for a teeth whitening product that was designed to bill regardless of trial cancellation. I learned a ton about negotiating with customer service departments during this time too.

I use both of the BofA and Citi virtual credit card services, as I used to do a lot of QA testing on payments processing systems. They both seem to be using the same backend service.

I even made a crappy WinForm app that would generate a ton of credit card numbers at once: https://github.com/ch4/ss_gen

I kept wanting to make something like this but I’ve always been too lazy. Thank you! Does it still work? I haven’t used shopsafe in years but I remember it being a pretty crappy interface

That's good to know. I've been eyeing the Citi Doublecash for the longest time, but being rather new to the US, I haven't built up a long enough credit history for them to accept my application (I was rejected the last time I applied).

Hopefully the service will still be there when I finally get my hands on that card.

Get a secured card and you'll be eligible for a Double Cash in no time. A secured card is for people with little to no history, its a credit card where you have to put up some collateral, a deposit account usually equal to the credit limit. Many cards just automatically convert to non-secured card after a while of good account history.

I've heard good things about Discover IT Secured https://www.discover.com/credit-cards/secured/ no fees, has rewards, and it automatically converts to a non secured version quickly.

Oh yeah, Citibank's website absolutely sucks. Very buggy.

You could also look at Abine's Blur. It avoids the liability problem. But is more expensive, in general.

My understanding is that Regulation E sharply limits your liability, even if you have shared your username and password: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-column-weston-banks/why-b...

Thank you for that read. I guess I may have fallen for the banks' FUD.

Maybe I will consider trying out Privacy after all? Probably with a secondary account at first.

I really liked the concept of Final and I used mine for all one-off purchases from random merchants online. The app made it very easy to generate a card on the fly, the UI was nice, and support was nice and helpful the couple times I reached out.

I found, probably like a lot of others, I just didn’t put much volume through it. The rewards were just too weak compared to any of my other cards to justify using it as a primary card.

The rewards (1% cash back) would never pay for the (initial) yearly cost. When I called to cancel my card citing the yearly fee they waived it- and two weeks later announced they were killing the yearly fee.

In the two-ish years I had the card I put roughly $1,500 through. Comparatively, I have averaged over $9K/mo through my AmEx Platinum in the last two years.

Yeah, the lacklustre rewards is definitely one of my pet peeves with it too. That and the foreign transaction fee, which killed the prospect of using it for shady foreign websites.

Also, one thing that Privacy gets right that Final didn't was the UX around virtual card generation. Privacy had browser extensions that let you generate new cards and autofill them on just about any website. Final never did, and that made making online purchases with a one-time Final virtual card a huge chore (though still less so than using a regular physical credit card).

If someone makes a Final clone that has 2% flat cashback, no foreign transaction fees, and a browser extension, I could totally see myself putting all of my purchases on it by default without a second thought.

Hi - I'm Yana, Co-founder of Token. You can download the app via www.jointoken.com/app.

The reason you were asked for the phone number is to make your life easier and to text you the link :) Enjoy token and let me know how it works for you. Stay safe.

I used the link you posed to find your app in Google Play. Like the others who left reviews in Google Play, I don't want this tied to either LinkedIn or Facebook. Since you collect phone number, why not use Cognito to verify users?

Yeah this is a deal breaker for me too. Phone number is also no good. If you want to target people who value privacy, offering email and password signup is really a bare minimum.

Also, I do online shopping on my desktop browser much more often than I do on my phone, so the lack of a web app and web extension makes the app much less usable for me.

It doesn't make life any easier on Android, because you can install apps remotely through the Play Store.

All it does is drive away privacy conscious users who generally aren't willing to hand out phone numbers to random websites.

We're going to get to a point where no one is willing to invest any time or money (as a consumer) into products sold by a startup, because they all vanish quickly and with short or no notice. I'm already at that point.

It'd suck to be a stable startup with plenty of funds/cashflow in a similar niche to a company closing like this, and have people not willing to try your product because they're now too timid.

Only if those products are chained to a proprietary cloud offering, or otherwise dependent on the entity staying in business.

Something like a credit card is, of course, vulnerable to what you say. But the benefit to this sort of timidity is that companies making IoT things ought to lean more heavily into ensuring that their products will work even if they go under.

That's kind of inherent to someone billing their business as a "startup". The very label assures you that you get to enjoy the service 2, 3, maybe 5 years at most, but it's being built out in order to, and financed by the promise of, being sold and then either gutted for the parts the acquiring party really wants, or shut down as unnecessary competition for a preexisting service. Or, if no interested party shows up, go down into the sea of obscurity as another startup come and gone.

Thoughts on why this happened? I wish they were more forthcoming about the causes. This is the corporate equivalent of ghosting on your tinder date.

They ran out of money or realized that they would.

Of course -- but they didn't plan to run out of money. So what didn't go according to plan?

Many companies make a good plan of burning $X per month, with a runway of Y months. This is often a worst case scenario with projections of growth from their roadmap.

I think it's more like breaking up with someone, but not offering to explain why.

Final probably wasn't pushing much volume as a Visa Signature card issuer, with a cut of around ~1% of all transactions on average[1], it would take around 100mil in processed transactions to net 1 million in revenue for Final. Visa may have also kicked them off due to having such low volume.

1 - https://usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/Visa-USA-In...

Customer support is saying they have been bought.

They would not shut down if they were acquired. But it may be an acquihired, which in that case a shutdown is very common.

> ghosting on your tinder date

What does this mean? Apologies if it's something obvious I should know; I'm not cool anymore so this terminology escapes me. :)

"ghosting" just means ending all interaction without warning. not necessarily in the context of a relationship. one can ghost a job, a friend, or even someone selling things on craigslist.

"He ghosted me after finding out I have kids."

Ghosting can also be situational.

For instance, you can ghost from a bar or party, which is essentially just disappearing without saying goodbye and trying to avoid anyone noticing you leaving. Also called an Irish Goodbye.

FWIW in Spain is a French goodbye

I've heard it as the Irish Goodbye as recently as the monologue of last week's Saturday Night Live with Saorise Ronan!

The phrase refers to when you are in the early stages of a relationship with someone you met online and stop sending any communication to them without notifying them beforehand.

The phrase is probably a bit hyperbolic here.

I emailed their support and they said they've been acquired by another company but can't disclose the details.

my theory is that their main asset wasn't their consumers, or even that data, but their ability to be a card processor and issuer (like the big banks). I don't think there's very many of them, and the effort required to build that is very time consuming and expensive.

The footer of their pages says their cards are issued by First Bank & Trust, Brookings SD.

They have the ability to issue tokenized numbers, that's something that not everyone can do.

TBH, I'm not deeply involved in payments, but what they're doing is extremely unique and I could totally appreciate a larger company (such as a paypal competitor like stripe) wanting a piece of what they're doing.

wondering if the buyer will unwrap a turd and void their check

They told me the same thing.

Had to look up their page (getfinal.com). Had I known about this product, I probably would have embraced it. Wish the team the best of luck, and hope it gets revived!

I feel kind of guilty since I rarely used my card.

The points I would usually get from my other cards were better.

Also for online transactions, which was supposed to be the strong point of Final, I never use my card on unreputable sites. But even if I did, disputing transactions is so easy these days.

Sorry that you didn’t make it folks. Good luck in your future adventures.


Came here to say this.

Amex has a more compelling offering (and a better website), Discover offers better rewards, same with pretty much every card I have.

This is such a shock to me! I've been a Final customer for a year or so now, and I have absolutely loved their product. I told all of my friends about it. I'm so sad to hear they're shutting down, and very curious as to why.

For a credit card company their support was amazing. I had a few issues with the 2fa SMS being delayed and they answered within a couple minutes.

That was fast (or slow, I guess)... I knew this was gonna happen with Final.

Now let's hope Privacy doesn't also decide to close one day. (It does just virtual cards with your bank ACH backing it)

Privacy closed my account abruptly after refusing to process some disputes. From my limited experience they don't appear to comply with the requirements to run a payment network

This really, really sucks. I have a business credit card that I have to update 20+ sites for every time there's a compromised card issue, and I'd really love to be able to use one card # for each business I work with. They were going to launch a business card in the future but apparently that is now scrapped.

Are there any alternatives out there for doing this?

We use Brex for this! They're YC W17, and do credit cards for startups. You should email them at pedro@brex.com!

I've had a good experience with privacy.com, although I'm not super excited that you have to give them your bank logins.

Really? You do? Rather weird for a company by that name.

Try www.jointoken.com. The reason you described above is exactly why we created token - so you'd have an option to use a unique card for every business you work with. Enjoy token and please feel free to share your feedback. Yana, Co-founder of token

Hi, check out Emburse (W16). We have virtual and physical cards that you can set for one-time or recurring.

I think this was a great idea, so I'm sad to see it go. I have prepaid credit cards for potentially sketchy sites and one "main" credit card that I use for most of my payments online. This could probably have reduced the "administration" overhead involved.

Is anyone aware of a similar offering that is available in Germany? I wouldn't think so, after all most people here don't even have a credit card. We do have debit/ATM cards, but they use a separate payment network developed in German and are not interoperable with Visa/MasterCard.

On that note, I wouldn't mind not getting any benefits since most cards here don't offer any notable ones either. This is probably a direct consequence of there being a pretty strict cap on transaction fees (iirc 0.3% on credit cards).

I received the same message. I'm a little disappointed that such a notification would be sent via email without any verification on their website, blog, or social media accounts.

If it's legit, I'm saddened. Final had a great idea in virtual cards. I hope someone can explain why they are closing down.

I interviewed with them very very recently. I guess not getting the job was a good thing!

Yeah I also met with them but they were waiting to hear back about headcount. It’s too bad, there product was useful.

Anyone know how this closing could affect your credit if you were a Final customer?

Probably not much as long as you were in good standing. It'll reduce your average length of credit by a bit, but afaik having one account with a short age probably won't hit you more than a few points for a little while.

I would have used Final if it were a debit card. Didn't want another credit card and was bummed to see that's what it was.

I never used Final but from a quick skim it seems like Revolut cover a lot of what they did (and more).

Wow it must have just went up. I looked and saw nothing.

Yeah it seems to have gone up after the email.

To save others a click, the blog post just says the same thing the (linked) e-mail announcement does.

That's more for acquihires.

discreditable's comment says that they were in fact acquired, although with a username like that who knows ;)

Plus they mentioned their "journey" twice. That's got to count for something :)

our journey...a true masterpiece, that blog post - the poetic equivalent of realizing there's a shit-stained toilet paper scrap stuck between your ass cheeks, but only after you've stood and washed your hands. A thing was done, but poorly.

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