Unboxing and activating Apple's titanium Apple Card

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 16
Apple is slowly ramping up its Apple Card Preview in anticipation of a wide launch sometime in August, which means U.S. customers lucky enough to be invited -- and accepted -- to the program are receiving physical versions of the card. AppleInsider goes hands on.

Apple Card


Apple is nothing if not unconventional. When the company announced Apple Card at a special event in March it touted the credit card as one that lives in the ether; a digital construct residing on your iPhone for one-tap purchases, easy-to-understand monthly payments and the ultimate in security.

Not everyone is ready for a touchless revolution, however. For industry laggards (and retailers who have yet to adopt Apple Pay), Apple -- begrudgingly -- released a physical card for ye olde swipe and chip-and-pin point of sale terminals. It is, of course, not simple plastic, but metal. Instead of company favorite aluminum, the thin-and-fairly-light card is punched out from a sheet of titanium.

The titanium card arrives in a special envelope, which itself is encased in a cardboard sleeve that, in our case, came in a larger FedEx envelope. Quite a bit of packaging to keep a sliver of metal safe.

That said, Apple's penchant for perfection is clearly on demonstration. The cardboard outer sleeve is opened by pulling on a trademark "tear here" tab that rips through pre-formed perforations in the material. Inside, the card envelope sits in a custom formed slot, its top flush against the sleeve's flap so as not to allow jostling while in transit.

Apple Card Packaging


An Apple logo engraved in luxuriously heavy card stock breaks the envelope's otherwise all-white glossy cover. Lifting the flap reveals a splash of color echoing the digital version's dynamic, color-coded spending overview tool.

The card is, as Apple announced to much fanfare, laser etched. The Apple logo is deeply engraved on the front, while Goldman Sachs and Mastercard graphics are cut into the card's finish on the back. Unfortunately, the cardholder's name does not receive the same treatment and is instead printed on the matte face.

Of note, Apple machined out a crevice for the card's magnetic strip, meaning both front and back surfaces are entirely flush.



Perhaps most impressive is Apple's card activation interface. Because Apple Card lives in Wallet on iPhone, the company is able to authenticate and activate a physical counterpart without subjecting users to the usual bank call center rigamarole.

Simply unlock an iPhone provisioned with the same Apple Card account, tap the packaging to invoke an activation pop-up and select "Activate." In all, the process took us about five seconds to complete.

It's pretty ok I guess. pic.twitter.com/7LTVH1RMxv

-- Mikey Campbell (@mikeycampbell81)


Apple is using iPhone's NFC capabilities to read data from a small RFID tag embedded in the lower portion of the envelope. While not detailed by Apple, the tag is likely programmed at the factory with a unique number associated with a user's Apple Card account. Reading the tag triggers an authentication process conducted on Apple's servers, which potentially reach out to Goldman Sachs or Mastercard systems for final verification.

Apple Card RFID


Once the card is activated, it is ready to use.

Customers can request a new card, lock or unlock their physical card in the Wallet app in the event that it is lost, stolen or damaged.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    pvonkpvonk Posts: 4member
    So after we activate the card, should we shred/cut up the card envelope for security?
  • Reply 2 of 34
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 453member
    The entire process was a breeze.  I've already made some charges and received cash back.  I've set up autopay to pay off the balance each month so I won't incur any interest charges.  

    Some things that are missing now, but I'm sure are on Apple's radar screen:

    1)  Bill pay
    2)  Allow sharing of data to Mint, Quicken, etc.   There is a way to export PDF reports, but this is not seamless
    3)  Cross integration with iTunes accounts - why can't I simply use Apple Pay there?
    4)  Cash advances (such as when traveling).   AMEX based their early business model on this and decades ago I never carried cash when traveling - only received local currency cash advances at an AMEX office in amounts I would spend in country.

    There is no other credit card that I am aware of that combines all of the features now available in Apple Card.  But the items above are available in some other cards and they would be useful for Apple to adopt.


    applesnorangeswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 34
    pvonk said:
    So after we activate the card, should we shred/cut up the card envelope for security?
    I don't believe that's necessary.
    applesnorangescaladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 34
    For those of us with an iPhone SE, my Apple Card was sent in an envelope that said "Open Wallet app and follow instructions," which I did to activate my Apple card (no illustration of an iPhone with a notch present on the card envelope).  So, Apple customizes the envelope for the activation process based on what iPhone model is linked to your iCloud account...so Apple!  And, no RFID tag to deal with.
    macguiwatto_cobrapommegrise
  • Reply 5 of 34
    one more set of data points for apple...?
    edited August 16
  • Reply 6 of 34
    Just got my Apple Card delivered to me today and as you mentioned, it took a mere 5 second to activate the card. Well, it took me longer than that because I had to document it with photos. It was relatively exciting to open the beautiful box, yet at the same time very anti-climatic to be so easy to activate. The card itself is very simple, elegant, and pretty. It's very Apple basically. But, a thought crossed my mind: do I need a 'case' for it? it's going to get dirty fast in my wallet... can I wash it? lol! google search didn't yield any answer to my question "can I wash Apple Card?"
    tomowawatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 34
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,671member
    But, a thought crossed my mind: do I need a 'case' for it? it's going to get dirty fast in my wallet... can I wash it? lol!
    I keep all my debit/credit cards in paper sleeves I get from the bank. It does seem to help with the wear and tear of living in my wallet.

    Not as much as mostly using my Apple Watch to pay for things, of course! :D
    not_antonstardustagwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    Opening a credit card - must be a slow news day.  
    yuck9bigtdschemengin1
  • Reply 9 of 34
    loekfloekf Posts: 37member
    Only in the US.

    Maybe AppleInsider should make a kind of filter, so we don't have to be bothered by stuff never introduced outside the US.

    It's just a creditcard, who gives.
    ITGUYINSD
  • Reply 10 of 34
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 358member
    loekf said:
    Only in the US.

    Maybe AppleInsider should make a kind of filter, so we don't have to be bothered by stuff never introduced outside the US.

    It's just a creditcard, who gives.
    The odds are 100% the card will expand globally. “Never” is just not likely: Apple is a global enterprise: things to come. So: give. 
    caladanianeideardStrangeDaysronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 34
    I don't understand everyone's excitement for this ancient technology. Could not be happier after adding all my cards to Apple Pay. Now I cannot forget wallet at home, and literally every single business accepts Apple Pay here in Finland - Ikea caffeteria and local dentist office were literally two slow adopters but even they installed contactless payment terminals this year. Why would someone carry a physical card in addition to a phone?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 34
    eideardeideard Posts: 399member
    Got it.  Used it. Love it..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 34
    I got my card yesterday and tried to use it 3 times. It worked once. It did not work at a gas pump (swipe) or at a restaurant (likely a swipe).

    I texted the help number and was connected to a specialist at Goldman Sachs. The specialist seemed very inexperienced, taking a long time to respond with several starts and stops in his texting. After just one text response they said if you continue to have this problem, please chat back. We did continue the chat, though, but still ended with a “we’ll look into it.”
    chemengin1
  • Reply 14 of 34
    Opening a credit card - must be a slow news day.  
    Actually, having opened quite a few credit card envelopes in my life, dealing with blobs of glue, peeling off stickers, calling a 1-800 number, getting sold collateral stuff while they’re activating the card, etc., this one was a pleasure to open/activate. Felt a teeny bit like dealing with the iPod packaging when it first came out. Nice feeling!

    Little things, perhaps. But that’s what differentiates Apple. Some people appreciate it, others don’t. 

    As an aside, given that I’ll be traveling abroad next week, I wanted to put a ‘travel notice’ on it. Had to call the card’s 1-800 number to do so, it was not something I could do online. That was a tad surprising. 
    edited August 17 macguironnstardustagchemengin1muthuk_vanalingamkuraiphilboogiewatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 34
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 134member
    Opening a credit card - must be a slow news day.  
    My thoughts exactly. It's a friggin credit card.
    ITGUYINSD
  • Reply 16 of 34
    arinker said:
    I got my card yesterday and tried to use it 3 times. It worked once. It did not work at a gas pump (swipe) or at a restaurant (likely a swipe).

    I texted the help number and was connected to a specialist at Goldman Sachs. The specialist seemed very inexperienced, taking a long time to respond with several starts and stops in his texting. After just one text response they said if you continue to have this problem, please chat back. We did continue the chat, though, but still ended with a “we’ll look into it.”
    Maybe the misreads were a result of the recessed mag stripe.
    macgui
  • Reply 17 of 34
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member
    One thing that I don't think has gotten any attention is the ability to quickly contact Goldman Sachs to Report an Issue. I have a double charge but it's still pending. I still reported this through the Apple Card transaction on my iPhone and it sends a message to Apple. The initial reply was to put me in contact with Goldman Sachs. The interesting thing is Messages shows the conversation in gray, not blue or green. It took about a minute for GS to respond and a half minute each time I chatted with them but this is so much faster than waiting on hold on the telephone and I have a documented conversation (see below).

    For those Apple Card haters, I'm finding this card to be the easiest to use, both as the card and within Apple Pay, of any card I've ever have. Now if Home Depot would just turn NFC back on and I could use it there--again.

    me:

    I was charged twice for this transaction for $83.04 on August 16, 2019 at 7:33 AM.

    It's still pending. I talked to cashier and she said that isn't supposed to happen. Another charge at same store today, 6/17, is only showing one charge.

    Apple:

    I can help with that. Let me connect you with an Apple Card Specialist at Goldman Sachs.

    Hello, I'll be happy to assist you with that.

    me:

    Thank you

    I’ve used Apple Pay at (this store) 3 times and the middle charge was the one that double charged. Do I wait until it’s not pending to worry about it?

    Apple:

    You're more than welcome. I do see that the transaction is still pending. It takes a few days for the transaction to post. If the transaction post contact us back and we can dispute it for you.

    me:

    Thank you. 


    Solironnkuraiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 34
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 627member
    Hope I can just tap the FedEx package after unlocking my iPhone and activate/pair the card, without having to open up the box/packaging.  :cold_sweat: 

    Got keep it sealed, the goal is obviously to NEVER use the actual card right? /s NOT

    Laters...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 34
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 215member
    Mine did not activate through the phone, although I admittedly removed the card from the package before activating it.  But several attempts were unsuccessful.  Support chat told me to use the procedure without the packaging.  Couple of extra steps but it worked fine. 
    edited August 17 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 34
    arinker said:
    I got my card yesterday and tried to use it 3 times. It worked once. It did not work at a gas pump (swipe) or at a restaurant (likely a swipe).

    I texted the help number and was connected to a specialist at Goldman Sachs. The specialist seemed very inexperienced, taking a long time to respond with several starts and stops in his texting. After just one text response they said if you continue to have this problem, please chat back. We did continue the chat, though, but still ended with a “we’ll look into it.”
    Similar experience here. Tried the ‘insert and pull out card quickly” at a car wash twice, and no luck. Tried the swipe and then the chip reader at a retailer, again no luck. Other cards worked fine at both places. 

    Was on the chat with GS support (45 minutes!) and they had no clue what was happening or how to resolve. Said they’ll send me a new card...

    Hmmm... not impressed so far with the physical card except for the unboxing (and it being nice eye-candy). :-/
    chemengin1
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