Apple’s Apple Card is one of the most hotly anticipated credit cards of 2019. It is also being touted as a “game-changer” by the California tech giant, but is the Apple Card worth it? Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s foray into the credit card market, how it will likely stack up against other cards, and whether you should consider signing up.
What Is the Apple Card?
First announced back in March, the Apple Card is not Apple’s first venture in the world of electronic payments. Apple Pay, the digital wallet that comes pre-loaded into iPhones, iPads, and so on, has been a staple of the Apple suite of software products for some time now. The Apple Card plays off this technology and tries to take it to the next level. According to Apple, one of the problems with digital wallet technology is that it doesn’t provide consumers with the entire picture when they make purchases – Apple Card will do just that. The card is a venture in collaboration with Goldman Sachs Bank and features the purchasing power and payment processing of Mastercard.
How Does Apple Card Work?
The Apple Card is essentially a digital credit card that is housed directly in a user’s Wallet app. As it is housed electronically, it is used in the exact same manner that a normal called connected to Apple Pay would be, except users have instant insights into how much they are spending through reports and charts, how much interest they can expect to pay if they don’t pay their entire balance, and other neat tricks. The digital nature of the card allows users to pinpoint their spending right down to the exact location, thanks to integration with Apple Maps, making it possible to identify where they are spending far too much (possibly on donuts or late-night tacos, perhaps). Also, the card provides both weekly and monthly spending reports, meaning you are never more than a tap away from a detailed understanding of your money management (or lack thereof). One of the most helpful party tricks of the Apple Card, however, is the interest calculator, which provides real-time insights into how much a cardholder can expect to pay in interest charges should they not pay off their entire balance each month. Apple claims that this feature is designed to help customers make informed decisions about their credit and to help promote credit responsibility, and it’s hard to argue with them.
Rates and Fees
The Apple Card features no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no over-the-limit fees, and no penalty APR should a cardholder miss a payment. In terms of APR, the typical APR should be competitive with other cashback credit cards, which is also variable and based on both creditworthiness and the Prime Rate.
The Apple Card is a cash-back reward credit card but in a slightly different way. Where typical cashback cards are redeemable through statement credits or as payment once a certain threshold is met, the Apple Card uses “Daily Cash” to provide real-time cashback rewards. Cardholders earn 3% cashback with all purchases made with Apple using the card, 2% cashback whenever the card is used for purchases through Apple Pay, and 1% for everything else. Instead of saving up cashback for later redemption, however, the savings are automatically added back to the card, hence the Daily Cash moniker. This automatic rebate feature seems to be one of the best features of the Apple Card, personally, the one that really sets it apart from the rest. Sure, it’ nice to get cashback in big chunks sometimes, but the thought of constantly getting little small pennies of joy each time a purchase is made isn’t bad either.
Other Card Features
As the Apple Card is essentially a digital credit card, many may be wondering what they can do if they want to use it for a purchase – say at an antique store, for example – but they don’t have the capabilities to take card payments through phones? Fortunately, Apple also wondered this and came up with a solution: a physical card to handle just this type of situation. Apple being Apple, they couldn’t just have a typical credit card. Instead, theirs is a “titanium, laser-etched, Apple-designed credit card.” Sounds fancy, and it is. The physical card is a pretty metal piece that is sure to wow Apple-fanatics and impresses their friends, but it is what the card lacks, which is the significant feature. The titanium card features no card number, no security code, no expiration date, and no signature, making it very difficult for the causal ‘ner do well and credit thief to get a user’s info. The Apple Card will also utilize the iPhone itself, using texting as a faster way of communicating and hopefully eliminating stressful wait times for good.
When Is It Available?
While the announcement in March was that the card would go live in August of 2019, there is no real indication of precisely when the first applicants will be accepted. Currently, several Apple employees are testing the card in their daily lives, but for now, that is the only roll out that has occurred.
Is the Apple Card Worth It?
Apple lauded the upcoming Apple Card as a game-changer in the world of credit cards and finance, and in some ways it is. The card’s digital approach and cash-back-made-simple are both great features – as is the lack of any hidden fees or annual costs. Do these unique features make the card worthwhile? In many ways, yes. Since the card features no annual fees, for those that are approved, the Apple Card is a great way to get cashback for the types of purchases we seemingly make every day. That means you get cash back when you use Apple Pay at the store to buy milk, chips, or anything else, as well as cashback when getting those Candy Crush boosters and paying for the iTunes subscriptions we can’t live without.