In July 2023, we launched the first-ever credit card integration with your HSA. Customers could put HSA eligible purchases on their Ness Card and earn points. We’d then allow them to pay off those transactions directly from their HSA.
Every consumer credit card faces the same challenges:
- Acquiring customers is expensive and difficult.
- Once you acquire the customer, you have to earn their spend and get close to top of wallet.
This second problem is very difficult. It’s tough to break existing habits. Customers instinctually pull out their Chase/Amex whenever they’re in the checkout line or forget to put your card in Apple Pay. Updating subscriptions is another bear entirely.
Companies have used numerous tactics out there to drive spend.
- X1 releases new “boosts” every Friday and offers 3x in points only after you’ve spent $1,000 in the month.
- Bilt requires you to make 5+ purchases in a month in order to maximize your rewards.
- Nearly every card offers some kind of spend incentive over the first X months to get you swiping.
We tinkered with these ideas at Ness, but we also looked for untapped ways to drive spend within our product and move us closer to the health space.
We ultimately decided to build a seamless way to use your HSA account with your Ness Card. This was the first-ever HSA integration that I know of for any consumer credit card.
Customers could use their Ness Card to make HSA eligible purchases (medical copays, prescriptions, doctor visits, eye care, etc). They would earn 5x points on these purchases through Ness’ reward program. Then, they could link their HSA account to their Ness Card and pay off the specific transaction directly from their HSA. This way, they earned points and used their tax-advantaged HSA.
This feature was largely driven through our customer discovery efforts. I spoke with multiple customers that were already using their Ness Card in this way. They would make the purchase on their Ness Card and then submit receipts to their HSA for reimbursement. Our goal was to release an MVP that made this process easier for our customers.
For Ness, this offered two main benefits:
- This earned more of your spend because you would now put HSA eligible expenses on your Ness Card versus your HSA card directly.
- This strengthened the narrative of Ness as a healthcare-oriented company, not just a consumer fintech play. Ideally, this could strengthen our efforts for a subsequent move into health insurance in the future.
This was a challenging feature to develop for a few reasons. First, we had to build the ability for customers to link more than one bank account to their Ness Card. Second, we had to overhaul our payments infrastructure that expected only one account to be linked per customer. Finally, we had to decide on the UI elements and overall structure for how this feature could work alongside regular payments.
Regarding the overall structure, we decided that this feature would exist outside of our normal statement cycle. Customers could pay off HSA eligible transactions that were made within the past 30 days, regardless of when their statement closed. We did this to reduce the complexity and get an MVP out as quickly as possible.
I led this project from start to finish including:
- Designing all screens from the ground up with our Design team and nailing the UI interactions.
- Scoping this feature with Engineering and writing out the PRDs to drive development.
- Working cross-functionally with Growth, Card Operations, and Customer Experience around the launch.