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Is It Worth Getting the Apple Card to Buy an iPhone?

Last updated on October 12th, 2021

The hotly anticipated iPhone 13 is now available for purchase. If you’re considering whether to open an Apple Card to buy the new iPhone 13, there are a few things you should consider before hitting the “Submit” button on your application.

Apple’s New iPhone 13 Models Are Live

Less than a month ago, Apple had the web buzzing about its sleek new iPhones – the 13, 13 Mini, and 13 Pro. The question on everyone’s mind, “Should I buy the new iPhone?” is now likely accompanied by a new query: “Should I get the Apple Card to pay for it?” Before diving into whether the Apple Card is worth opening just to finance a new iPhone 13 – let’s look at the card itself.

A Quick Refresher on the Apple Card

Boasting simplicity, transparency, and privacy, the Apple Card offers a seamless user experience centered around digital transactions. Requiring a credit score of fair (640) or higher, Apple Card owners will earn cash back through the following categories:

  • 3% cash back on Apple purchases (including Apple subscription services such as iTunes, Apple Store purchases, iCloud storage, etc.), Uber & Uber Eats, Walgreens & Duane Reade stores, T-Mobile, Nike, Panera Bread, and Exxon & Mobil stations.
  • 2% cash back on Apple Pay transactions
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

The other major highlight of the Apple Card is the lack of fees it charges. The card features no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no hidden fees of any kind.  Add to that a slick titanium card for instances where Apple Pay isn’t accepted, and you have one of the most popular credit cards on the market today.

Are There Any Downsides in Getting the Apple Card Just for the new iPhone 13?

At first glance, applying for the Apple Card to buy the new iPhone 13 seems like a no-brainer. Suppose you’re already deep in the Apple ecosystem. In that case, the Apple Card is inherently useful for funding the inevitable future iPhone upgrades, plus the day-to-day convenience of earning extra cash with Apple Pay.

The 3% cash back with the Apple Card is essentially an automatic 3% discount on every new piece of Apple tech that you purchase. Although it’s not much, with the average iPhone Max costing $1,000+, that’s a guaranteed $30 back on your new iPhone – not too shabby of a return. So yes, it could be worth getting the Apple Card to score extra rewards on the new iPhone you intended to buy anyway.

What if You Don’t Upgrade Your iPhone Every Year?

Are you a part of the growing trend of iPhone users who hold onto their phone for one, two, or even three years and bypassing the upgrade? If yes, the Apple Card might be worthwhile when you splash the cash for a new iPhone 13. Even if you only plan on using the card to upgrade your phone every few years, the card’s no annual fee means there is no cost, financial obligation, or minimum spend required to make the card “worth it.”

If you subscribe to any of Apple’s services (like AppleTV+), why are you still reading? Go out and get that 3% back before another iTunes Music payment hits! But— and this is a big but – if you’re planning on using a payment plan for a new iPhone, there’s a pretty significant consequence you should consider before getting the Apple Card.

The One Reason You Should Be Wary

What do the Apple Card, the Apple flexible payment plan, and the Apple upgrade program have in common? This answer isn’t a fun one – a credit check. The iPhone 13 is a perfect storm that combines the demand for flexible payment options with the promise of an even better phone in the next iteration.

For this reason, many Apple fans are not only considering using the Apple Card as a way of financing their next iPhone but two other financial assistance programs offered by Apple. Unfortunately, most people don’t consider that signing up for Apple’s various programs will impact beyond the bottom lines of their bank accounts.

Sure, it’s convenient to buy an iPhone today and worry about paying it off tomorrow. However, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll quickly find yourself with a triple whammy in back-to-back hard inquiries on your credit history. This series of credit checks can, in turn, seriously harm your credit score in the short term.

So, Should You Apply for the Apple Card to Get the iPhone 13?

To answer the overarching question: yes, it’s worth applying for the Apple Card to earn 3% back on the newest iPhone. You should apply for the Apple card if you fully intend on sticking with Apple phones for the next few years and can afford the credit inquiry that an application will cause. If you’ve had less than two inquiries on your credit report this year (and don’t anticipating needing to invoke many others in the next two years), getting the card makes sense.

Did you want to partake in all three Apple programs – the credit card, the payment plan, and the upgrade program – but want to stay within the optimal number of credit inquiries? Consider the number of credit checks this scenario may cause. Is saving 3% on the iPhone 13 Max is worth forgoing the flexible payment option of 0% interest for 24 months or kissing the automatic upgrade goodbye?

Related Article: The Best Fintech & Crypto Credit Cards of 2021

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About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.