Apple Card review 2022: Great for Apple buys, lacking everywhere else

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2022
The Apple Card launched in 2019, and it has been a challenging few years. Three years after launch, does it still hold up in a challenging market?

Apple Card could do more in a challenging market
Apple Card could do more in a challenging market


The Apple Card recently turned three years old, and in those three years, it's received plenty of criticism and accolades. So, years after debut, it's worth another look.

Apple Card benefits in 2022

As we see it, there are two significant benefits to owning the Apple Card.

The first, and by far the best feature of the Apple Card, is the interface in the Wallet app. This is hands-down our absolute favorite feature of the Apple Card.

Compared to other credit card apps, it blows their interfaces out of the water. A quick glance shows how much open debt you have, the color codes show what categories you've been spending money in, and a list of your last several transactions.

Making payments is as easy as tapping "pay now" and using the dial or keypad to enter how much you want to pay. It even shows you how much you'll need to pay to avoid paying any interest and how much you'll pay if you don't make a minimum payment.

There are no slow-loading, fiddly tabs to fuss with. This is a vast improvement over something like the Barclays or Capital One app.

Managing Apple Card from the Wallet app is fairly simple
Managing Apple Card from the Wallet app is fairly simple


The second big benefit is how easy it is to buy Apple products on a monthly installment plan. It's super easy, and the 3% cash back is excellent.

Sure, some credit cards and credit payment programs will let you take an interest-free grace period for purchases over a certain amount, but the ease of using the Apple Card is hard to beat.

If you routinely upgrade your Apple gear, the Apple Card is one of the best options out there.

There are other benefits, too. Namely, the lack of fees. There are no yearly fees or late fees -- though you will still continue to accumulate interest. This is nice, though not unheard of, either.

Apple Card drawbacks

While there are things we love about the Apple Card, there's plenty not to like as well.

The titanium card doesn't have tap-to-pay
The titanium card doesn't have tap-to-pay


First, the APR skews exceptionally high. For example, one AppleInsider staffer, who has a 780 credit score and a credit usage of under 3%, got assigned a 24.99% APR rate, making them hesitant to use the card regularly. And there's no easy way to determine what the APR of your Apple Card will be before you apply.

Credit score seems to have less to do with it than it does for other cards, and many users who report a low debt-to-income ratio have pointed out that their APR is also high. Even credit age and payment history are poor indicators of what your APR will be.

And there's still an issue with the card offering some users a meager starting limit. Some users, years ago, reported that they were offered as low as $250 for their starting limit, making the card useless for purchasing any Apple gear in the first place.

Fortunately, many of those users have reported that within the first 90 days, with moderate use and paying the balance in full, the credit card limit increased to $2,500.

Apple Card has a chip and magnetic stripe for payments
Apple Card has a chip and magnetic stripe for payments


Lastly, there's the rewards system. Compared to other offerings, it's not stellar. You'll get 3% cash back on any Apple gear you buy, and the 0% APR for up to a year is pretty nice. The 3% cash back also extends to media, app, and subscription purchases via Apple.

If you use Apple Pay at select retailers, such as Uber, Nike, Panera, or Walgreens, you'll get the same 3% back.

You'll get 2% back if you use your Apple Card via your iPhone or Apple Watch at any retailer that accepts Apple Pay. And, to be frank, 2% is not much to write home about.

You'll get a paltry 1% cash back if you use your physical Apple Card, which is enough to dissuade us from ever using it over a different card.

And then, there are some durability issues with the card. This isn't Goldman Sachs' or Apple's fault, but the finish on the card can get rough over time. Most of the pictures in this review are of a clean, new card.

This one is decidedly not. Wes received his titanium Apple Card in January 2021, and his MagSafe Wallet with AirTag hasn't been kind to the finish.

An Apple Card after almost two years of regular use
An Apple Card after almost two years of regular use


Literally, your mileage may vary. Obviously, the more you use the card, slide it in and out of a wallet, handle it, and so forth, the worse the card is going to look over time. Apple makes it easy to replace, though.

Is the Apple Card worth it in 2022?

We've discussed the Apple Card's pros and cons, and for the most part, it still comes up pretty short if you look at it purely from a credit card standpoint.

Plenty of other cards on the market offer better rewards and lower APRs. We encourage you to do a little research before applying for the Apple Card if you want this to be a card used at the grocery store or the gas station.

However, if you routinely buy Apple gear or if you tend to spend a lot on digital purchases via Apple, it's a good secondary card to keep in your metaphorical back pocket.

The market has evolved, but Apple Card has not
The market has evolved, but Apple Card has not done much to keep up


There's also another thing to consider -- the upcoming Apple Card savings program.

In the coming months, Apple is gearing up to launch a new feature that allows users to put their Daily Cash rewards into a high-yield savings account from Goldman Sachs.

While Apple isn't the first to create a feature like this, it's fantastic just the same. So again, if you're someone who is routinely using your Apple Card to buy Apple gear, apps, or media, this could be a great way to passively save some extra money.

With all financial decisions, choosing a credit card is highly personal. So again, we encourage you to do your own research to see if the Apple Card is the right card for you.

Apple Card in 2022 pros

  • 3% cash back on Apple gear, media, apps, subscriptions

  • 3% cash back at select retailers

  • Wallet app integration is fantastic

Apple Card in 2022 cons

  • APR skews high, even for those with good credit scores and low debt-to-income ratio

  • Credit limit may be low initially

  • 1% back on all purchases made with the physical Apple Card

  • Rewards may not be comparable to other, similar cards
Overall, the Apple Card in 2022 is challenging to score, and your personal score for it, depends very much on what your main use case is. As just a credit card, with no other niceties considered, it is a 1 out of 5. There are better cards available to college students who hit the quad for the first time and get accosted by a card company under a tent.

The Wallet interface is second-to-none. That, on its own, is very clearly best in class, and a 5 out of 5. And, that 3% back on Apple gear from Apple is nice -- but there are better bargains elsewhere, almost always.

If you make frequent purchases from Apple, including media, apps, and services, the Apple Card in 2022 remains a 4.5 out of 5. The problem is, for everybody else, it is at best a 2.5 out of 5.

Overall, encompassing everything, we give it a Score: 3.5 out of 5.

Read on AppleInsider
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,714member
    I finally got an apple card last year before getting a new MBP. After using it for a year I’m mixed. I like the way it does the cash back and lets you automatically apply it when you make a payment but I find the wallet app management to be confusing and a pain in the butt to use. Making a payment is easy enough, but the Apple Card is not the only card I have or use and not the only part of my finances. If you want to use a program such as Quicken you have to go through a kludgy process to download the transactions and you can only do so after the statement has been issued. Until then you’re SOL. The fact that you can’t access the data from your iPad or Mac (or any other computer) also puts it way behind other cards in terms of management.
    muthuk_vanalingamneoncatgrandact73
  • Reply 2 of 31
    My largest frustration with some Apple products is that they don’t scale well. Apple Card is available in the US and where else? Canada? What about other markets? I can’t imagine how complicated it must be to roll out something like this to more countries… but then why does it even exist in the first place?
    And now I find out in this article that Apple Card is even meh where it exists? Ok…
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 31
    When traveling outside the US, where NFC payments are the norm, the Apple Card has this combination of features that’s *very* hard to find in a US card.

    - no annual fee
    - no foreign transaction fee
    - 2% cash back
    - universal acceptance (vs. AMEX)
    tokyojimuStrangeDayswilliamlondonmike1scstrrftenthousandthingswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 31
    Guess I’m one of those for whom the card is 4.5. Wife and I have accumulated a couple of thousand in Apple Cash over the time we’ve had the card (early adopters). We do regularly upgrade our many Apple products so that part’s a no-brainer. That, and we pay off our balance due every month so APR is meaningless. Those students getting their first cards under pop-ups on campus would do well to adopt that habit from day one! Then there is the unparalleled Apple Card security that was never mentioned. Our Capital One Venture card (our go-to back up) has had to be replaced three times due do security breaches which is a pain in the ass. Apple Card with its unique number for each transaction? Never. “What’s in YOUR wallet?”
    tokyojimuscstrrfwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 31
    haikus said:
    My largest frustration with some Apple products is that they don’t scale well. Apple Card is available in the US and where else? Canada? What about other markets? I can’t imagine how complicated it must be to roll out something like this to more countries… but then why does it even exist in the first place?
    And now I find out in this article that Apple Card is even meh where it exists? Ok…
    It exists because the US is a big market for Apple, and they can make money putting their name on a card here and integrating it into their ecosystem. That surprises/frustrates you?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 31
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,714member
    haikus said:
    My largest frustration with some Apple products is that they don’t scale well. Apple Card is available in the US and where else? Canada? What about other markets? I can’t imagine how complicated it must be to roll out something like this to more countries… but then why does it even exist in the first place?
    And now I find out in this article that Apple Card is even meh where it exists? Ok…
    Financial products are in a different class than other consumer services and products. It would be virtually impossible to ‘scale’ the Apple Card internationally due to the myriad of regulations in different countries. As @neverindoubt said, the U.S. is Apple’s home and largest market so it makes sense to have it here. Whether they can expand to other areas is going to be entirely dependent on the local markets.
    StrangeDaysJFC_PAwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 31
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,259member
    I only have two complaints about the Apple card: 

    Cash back is paltry
    It's a Master Card
    I think it works as any other conventional card in a reader in that there's no token.

    But having it since day one, it's my EDC card, and all the others sit in a drawer. Well, I do keep one VISA with me. The app is probably the my thing about Apple Card and Apple Pay. It's so easy to keep track of purchases and payments. Clicking the Pay Early button shows exactly what interest will be charged based on the amount of payment made.

    It also shows the minimum payment needed to avoid any interest if you decided not to pay the entire balance. This is not the "minimum payment" of some pittance. This is the full amount that charged up to the time of the monthly closing. Anything charged after that is due on the payment after next.

    I've used that a couple of time when making a big ticket purchase. Make it after the closing date and payment isn't due until the next billing cycle. It the meantime I've payed of the current monthly balance in full, and not a penny for tribute.

    Apple keeps the cash back on the Card use low to encourage the use of Apple Pay, and I'm ok with that. Though it would be nice if Apple bumped up the cash back so I could flaunt the Card itself. 

    And then there's the Apple Cash Card. I can't believe how quickly the daily cash back raises the balance on the Cash Card.
    williamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 8 of 31
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,062member
    Frankly, 2% cash back for Apple Pay is the best general/standard reward in existence and no one should carry a balance, so the APR is virtually irrelevant.
    scstrrfjimh2blastdoor
  • Reply 9 of 31
    This is terrible card. The crap benefits of this Carter second only to the Home Depot card, which has literally zero benefits, except for a longer return policy.  3% on Apple purchases from an Apple store is crap. It’s cheaper for me to buy stuff on Amazon and get 5% back on my prime card and that 3% is the only benefit that you get, since this card is garbage everywhere else. You’d think they could match their competition at least go to 5% of their own store, but damn!
    williamlondongrandact73
  • Reply 10 of 31
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,137member
    The best thing of the Apple Card is no physical number on the card and a hashed number on the receipt.  For eating out and handing off a card to a waiter this is so important as this becomes a big source of identify theft. I had to stop using my Amazon CC in restaurants because of this problem.
    StrangeDayswilliamlondonscstrrfJFC_PAdcgoo
  • Reply 11 of 31
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,323member
    badmonk said:
    The best thing of the Apple Card is no physical number on the card and a hashed number on the receipt.  For eating out and handing off a card to a waiter this is so important as this becomes a big source of identify theft. I had to stop using my Amazon CC in restaurants because of this problem.
    Yep, my SO had this happen with a Capital One card, was used dining while visiting a friend. 

    Apple Card is very secure, tokenized, etc. The app is the best bar none. The next-day cash back rewards is nice, no foreign transaction fees. Don’t care about the wear on a physical card (at all). But the interest rate is practically criminal…tho I pay it off every month. 
    williamlondonscstrrfJFC_PA
  • Reply 12 of 31
    haikus said:
    My largest frustration with some Apple products is that they don’t scale well. Apple Card is available in the US and where else? Canada? What about other markets? I can’t imagine how complicated it must be to roll out something like this to more countries… but then why does it even exist in the first place?
    And now I find out in this article that Apple Card is even meh where it exists? Ok…
    It exists because the US is a big market for Apple, and they can make money putting their name on a card here and integrating it into their ecosystem. That surprises/frustrates you?

    I’m 0% surprised. 
    But I’m frustrated because I can’t be access that product. Of course knowing that it’s not that great makes me less frustrated ;-)
  • Reply 13 of 31
    MplsP said:
    haikus said:
    My largest frustration with some Apple products is that they don’t scale well. Apple Card is available in the US and where else? Canada? What about other markets? I can’t imagine how complicated it must be to roll out something like this to more countries… but then why does it even exist in the first place?
    And now I find out in this article that Apple Card is even meh where it exists? Ok…
    Financial products are in a different class than other consumer services and products. It would be virtually impossible to ‘scale’ the Apple Card internationally due to the myriad of regulations in different countries. As @neverindoubt said, the U.S. is Apple’s home and largest market so it makes sense to have it here. Whether they can expand to other areas is going to be entirely dependent on the local markets.
    That’s exactly what I said…
    My point is a bit philosophical. I see Apple as a company that brings value to its customers. Putting efforts into something that is so distant from their core businesses and so geographically restricted feels like a distraction for them and little gain for us. Especially when I read it basically sucks. 
  • Reply 14 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,133member
    My interest rate is now under 15%, but it is tied to the Prime and that has increased recently. However, the rate is irrelevant to me as I pay it in full each month.

    One benefit the article doesn't mention is the potential 60 days of float before you have to pay. The simple monthly billing cycles means I can make a major purchase early in the month and not have to pay the bill until the end of the following month.

    Also, haven't had the issue I had in the beginning at restaurants, where you couldn't add tips when you give the waiter the card. Now I always seem to get the slip back to add tips.
    robin huberscstrrf
  • Reply 15 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,133member
    MplsP said:
    I finally got an apple card last year before getting a new MBP. After using it for a year I’m mixed. I like the way it does the cash back and lets you automatically apply it when you make a payment but I find the wallet app management to be confusing and a pain in the butt to use. Making a payment is easy enough, but the Apple Card is not the only card I have or use and not the only part of my finances. If you want to use a program such as Quicken you have to go through a kludgy process to download the transactions and you can only do so after the statement has been issued. Until then you’re SOL. The fact that you can’t access the data from your iPad or Mac (or any other computer) also puts it way behind other cards in terms of management.

    You can access from the web site.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,133member
    haikus said:
    My largest frustration with some Apple products is that they don’t scale well. Apple Card is available in the US and where else? Canada? What about other markets? I can’t imagine how complicated it must be to roll out something like this to more countries… but then why does it even exist in the first place?
    And now I find out in this article that Apple Card is even meh where it exists? Ok…

    Can you for a moment comprehend how complex it is to introduce banking products in other countries? Perhaps not even worth the effort for many.
    scstrrf
  • Reply 17 of 31
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,133member
    This is terrible card. The crap benefits of this Carter second only to the Home Depot card, which has literally zero benefits, except for a longer return policy.  3% on Apple purchases from an Apple store is crap. It’s cheaper for me to buy stuff on Amazon and get 5% back on my prime card and that 3% is the only benefit that you get, since this card is garbage everywhere else. You’d think they could match their competition at least go to 5% of their own store, but damn!

    Then I guess this isn't the card for you.
    scstrrf
  • Reply 18 of 31
    mystigomystigo Posts: 162member
    I will reiterate how amazingly good the AppleCard is for travel. There are no transaction fees and the exchange rates are for all intents and purposes the rate you will find on Google. When I fill out my company expense reports, I often get more back for expenses than I actually spent because the transaction rate is so low. An added bonus is that virtually everywhere in Europe takes contactless payments. I didn't even have to take my physical card out on recent trips to Europe.

    I will admit that the last time I took my card out, I noticed some disappointing wear on it.

    The APR could be a million percent for all I care. If you have to carry a balance, use a different card.

    scstrrf
  • Reply 19 of 31
    You’d think they could match their competition at least go to 5% of their own store, but damn!
    This is really the surprising thing: It's not that hard to beat the Apple Card's 3% back on Apple Store purchases. My US Bank Cash+ Card gives me 5% back on Apple purchases (well, any electronics purchase, really), plus an additional 0.5% in loyalty bonuses. Chase regularly offers 10% bonuses on Apple purchases if using points. Which is basically the thesis of this article: It was a cool and innovative credit product, but it's not keeping pace as the competition adjusts with far more agility. 

    That doesn't even address the complete lack of competitive signup bonuses. With some careful card flipping and observing the 5/24 rule, you can keep those $200, $400 and even $600 retention bonuses flowing. I think the most Apple ever offered as a signup bonus was $50.

    The one exception would be access to Apple's super easy 0% financing. If your goal is to spread a large Mac or iPhone purchase over many payments (which, to me, suggests you couldn't afford it in the first place, but that's obviously "IMO"—none of my business how people choose to use credit and there are plenty of legitimate reasons to finance a major purchase), the Apple Card becomes a handy tool like any "store" card. 
    edited December 2022 grandact73
  • Reply 20 of 31
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,639member
    Even if the interest rate was half what it is, it’s insane to pay those rates of interest. I haven’t paid any interest on a credit card in over 40 years. 

    I don’t care about wear and tear on the physical card because I never carry it.  If a place doesn’t take Apple Pay, I use a debit or other credit card.  

    I like the fact that the charges I make in November aren’t due until the end of December and there’s still no interest.  The payment schedule on a regular credit card is much shorter. 

    I don’t order Apple products directly from Apple, except for the iPhone because B&H photo has their PayBoo card, which discounts the equivalent of the sales tax. In NYC, that’s 8.875%, which is a much better deal than Apple’s 3%.  
    scstrrf
Sign In or Register to comment.