The newly announced Apple credit card sounds attractive on paper: no late or international fees, up to 3 percent cash per day and a physical card made of titanium. Are there any catches?
There's a lot to know about the Apple Card, how it works, how to get it, and how it compares to other credit cards. Here is all the important information you should know about the Apple Card if you want to purchase one.
How do you qualify for an Apple Card?
You need an iPhone to apply for an Apple Card, and you may also need an existing credit. Apple declined to share an exact credit score range in which you need to be in order to qualify for its credit card, but due to the variable interest rates listed on its website, we know that those with lower credit Credit scores are subject to higher interest rates. up to 24.24 percent. This is similar to other credit cards in this category, such as the Chase Freedom or the Discover Card, which also offer cash back without an annual fee, but do not necessarily shake up the status quo.
The Apple Card is issued by Goldman Sachs and payments are processed by Mastercard. Apple announces The Verge that Goldman Sachs has considered other criteria than credit checks, but has not specified which ones. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
If the Apple Card is available this summer, you can apply for it from the Wallet app on your iPhone. Once approved, you will instantly get access to a digital version of the map that automatically appears in the app. After a short wait, the physical chip card will be sent to you, which you can use with merchants accepting Mastercard. Currently, Apple does not plan to allow users to log in via a web browser.
How do you use the Apple Card?
There are three ways to use the Apple Card. If you select it as a payment source in Apple Pay, you can use it anywhere you normally use Apple Pay, either online or through tap-to-pay sales terminals and other contactless service points.
The physical card works like a regular chip credit card. However, Mastercard confirmed The Verge that contactless payments are not supported, so you can not easily connect the card to a terminal. Non-Apple related physical card rewards may be a maximum of 1
There are no numbers, CVVs or expiration dates printed on the card on the card, but a magnetic stripe and a chip. If you pay online to a merchant who does not accept Apple Pay, use the third payment method: Go back to the Wallet app to generate these numbers virtually. You can either keep the same credit card number or generate a new number for each transaction. This is akin to how banks allow you to create new digital credit card numbers for online payments to prevent your information from being abused.
What are the advantages of the Apple Card?
With the Apple Card, Apple says it & # 39; This makes it easier to manage your payments. Apple uses machine learning to translate card data and banking business data into the exact names of the businesses you've visited for the purchases you make, rather than the typical set of confusing company names.
The card's incentives include 2 percent cash back on all purchases made with Apple Pay, and up to 3 percent cash back on Apple products, which include digital services such as Apple News Plus, iCloud storage, Apple Music and in-app purchases for iOS games include . All other purchases give you 1% Cash Back.
Apple promises you will not have to pay any fees to use the card. This means no renewal fees, no international fees when traveling overseas or shopping on foreign websites, no fees beyond the limit, and no late fees. Nevertheless, there is a great incentive to repay the entire balance every month: As with any credit card, you can receive interest on late payments. Apple promises, however, no penalty interest. The interest rate you see when you qualify for the card is the one you get. Apple also displays an interest rate estimator to show how much money you owe on interest when you add up your balance. However, it is important to know that late payments can still affect your credit score.
Finally, Apple relies on privacy as an advantage of the card. Apple says it does not show what you buy or where you buy it. You must also authorize payment via Face ID or Touch ID. This is one of the reasons why you can not use the Apple Card with an Android device. There are also fraud alerts to inform you of suspicious activity.
How Does the Apple Card Stack on Rival Cards?
With the Apple Card, Apple has partnered with tech companies like Amazon and Uber to make their own credit cards. But the rewards remain in comparison: the competitors offer sign up bonuses, while Apple does not. Amazon offers 5 percent cash back on Amazon purchases and a $ 50 gift card upon signup. Uber will provide 4 percent for all restaurants and $ 100 if you spend $ 500 in the first three months. "Three percent cash back on Apple products is not very impressive," says Tim Devaney, personal finance and credit card expert at Credit Karma.
Experts – even from Goldman Sachs himself – agree that the Apple Card can provide a better cash back. Apple hopes to attract customers with a competitive cash back price of 2 percent for every product you buy – but not every retailer accepts Apple Pay. Devoney points out that Citi Double Cash offers the same rate from two percent to 100 percent.
Other credit cards also offer at least some categories of purchases that consistently give you 5 percent cashback, for example, in terms of food or gas, the categories often change every few months. Sometimes these categories contain 5 percent cashback for Apple Pay purchases, which makes Apple's own 2 percent cashback appear sparse.
"I'm not particularly excited," said Rivka Gewirtz Little, research director for global payment strategies at International Data Corporation, The Verge . "I want Apple to be more innovative when it comes to changing the way we pay."
Similarly, Apple Card interest rates ranged from 13.24 percent to 24.24 percent. The credit rating is neither better nor worse than its competitors, even though the company said in its keynote "lower interest rates." , "If Apple really wanted to blow people away, they would have set up a card with an APR of 0 percent. That would have been in line with the whole idea that iPhone and iPad would revolutionize the industry completely, "says Devaney. "If they issued a card with an APR of 0 percent, not just an intro, but never an APR, it would have blown anyone away."
The Apple Card is characterized by the fact that it simply signs up for the card and it is immediately available, says Sarah Silbert, senior credit card editor at The Points Guy . "It's not an unattractive option if you do not have a balance," she says, referring to Apple's fine pressure on how interest rates can be incurred if you're late with payments. "They get back money, that could be worse." Silver points out that users who are interested in premium designs could be attracted to the titanium material of the Apple Card, much as American Express cards are prized for their designs , At the same time, Apple could have offered buy protection that would make sense for large purchases on computers and phones, she adds.
One thing is certain: Experts agree that the Apple Card is intended for iPhone users who already buy an iPhone many Apple products. Three percent cash back gives them the advantage of giving a small discount when they pay for Apple products, including services, rather than having to wait for a sale.
What if you lose the card?
In the event that you lose the Apple Card, you can freeze the card and order a new one. Apple says you can continue to use your virtual card in the Wallet app while the physical card is reissued.
Similarly, Apple's approach to privacy differs from other credit card companies: Apple relies on Goldman Sachs to secure users' credit card information. This also means that Apple will not be held responsible in the event of a breach. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
When will the card arrive?
The Apple Card will open in the summer of 2019 for registrations. But while the Apple Card's public market launch is several months away, Goldman Sachs employees may be the first person to pick up the card. In an internal memo he shared with The Verge Chief Executive David Solomon wrote to the staff, "I know that many of you like to apply for and use our credit card. The Marcus team will contact you shortly to find out how we can achieve this. "
For the rest of us, we have to wait until the public launch to find out how the card really works in practice.