Ness Announces Discontinuation of Rewards Credit Card
A premium credit card focused on health and wellness is being shuttered mere months after it launched.
Ness has announced that it’s shutting down its Ness Card rewards credit card. In fact, according to Doctor of Credit, cards are already being deactivated. News of the closure was shared on the Ness site, with the company’s CEO and founder Derek Flanzraich stating, “[W]e’ve simply run out of money.”
A separate letter sent to cardholders explains that partial refunds will be given to customers based on how long they were a Ness member and what benefits they were able to use before October 31st. For example, the letter that stated someone who had the card for six months, used $200 of their Healthy Spend Credit and $15 of the Sweetgreens benefit would receive a refund of $67. This refund will either be applied to any outstanding balance or a check will be mailed for any overages.
What the Ness Card offered:
With an annual fee of $349, the Ness Card was a premium offering that emphasized health and wellness in a few ways. First, cardholders could earn 5 points per dollar spent on purchases from qualifying Health & Wellness Merchants (including select grocery stores/markets, healthy restaurants, nutrition support brands, vitamins/supplements, select meal delivery services, and more) as well as 2x points on all other purchases.
On top of that, taking a page from other premium cards such as the American Express Platinum Card, the Ness Card included a number of credits and offers. This included $200 per year in statement credits toward purchases from qualifying companies, $300 annual credit for Parsley Health, $100 in credits annually from Seed Health, $200 in credits annually for Exhale Spa, and more.
In related news:
Coincidentally, Ness’s announcement came on the same day that neobank HMBradley disclosed plans to sunset its consumer banking and credit card products. Furthermore, both companies revealed the news in similar ways (posting open letters on the former product pages). There is seemingly no connection between the two services aside from this intriguing timing.
What they’re saying:
Pulling back the curtain on the closure, in his open letter, Flanzraich wrote, “We’re a venture backed startup and always anticipated raising more funding (with big next step plans for a no annual fee card plus working with health plans to build cobrand cards with them!), but haven’t been successful there. I can’t tell you how hard we’ve been working to achieve another outcome, but ultimately we’ve run out of time.”
Flanzraich went on to thank cardholders and others, saying, “I want to share a tremendous amount of gratitude to our card members, partners, investors, and the larger community for being willing to take a leap of faith on us. Ultimately, we’re very proud of what we built—a from scratch credit card platform, a special discovery-driven app, and an experience that motivates people to make healthier choices.”
It’s disappointing to see the Ness Card fizzle out so quickly — especially since it seemed as though the card was growing via partnerships with Whole30 and JVN. Unfortunately, as Flanzraich points out, this development speaks to the nature and state of venture capital. What’s extra hard is that, when a card program ends in a fashion such as this, it may make it even more difficult for another unique rewards card to get off the ground (both in terms of finding investors as well as attracting customers who may have been burned before). Personally, I really hope that this isn’t the end of these types of credit cards and look forward to seeing what other creative spins future startups can put on the format.