Apple Card: Best and worst features of Apple's credit solution

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2019
Apple Card has yet to launch, but we already have a solid idea on what it will offer to the user. Here are AppleInsider's favorite, and least favorite features about the upcoming credit solution.

Apple Card
Apple Card


Starting off, let's dive into the best features.






Interest range

The first top feature of the Apple Card, is the range of interest rates available, with a wider spread than other, similar reward cards. By having a wide range of APR available, Apple Card will ultimately accept more customers than it would otherwise. If Apple were to just go with a low APR, it would likely have to restrict access to those with very high credit scores.

We don't know what credit score will get you those best APR rates quite yet, but they already are better than those advertised by many competitors. Apple Card has a range of 13.24 percent to 24.24 percent as of March 2019 and looking specifically at the lowest APR, it is lower than the national average which was 17.65 percent according to a CreditCards.com survey.

Security

Apple put a huge focus on security with Apple Card. The physical card has no identifying information sans your name. There is no credit card number, no CVV, no expiration, no signature. This means no one can quickly take a photo of the card and steal your number. Instead, should you need a card number, you can glean it right from within the Wallet app, or an auto-fill in Safari.

If you ever lose your physical Apple Card, it can be frozen and replaced right from your phone within seconds.

Most importantly, Apple Pay purchases are also ultra secure. When you sign up for Apple Card, a unique number is created on the spot and stored in the secure element of your device. Whenever you make a purchase, it needs that secure number, as well as a dynamically generated transaction ID, then is further secured by Face ID or Touch ID.

Apple also keeps all of your data private, and the issuing bank Goldman Sachs is disallowed from ever sharing or selling that data as well.

Customer service

Instead of needing to call in or go through a robotic voice system, you can just chat with representatives through Messages Chat for business should you ever need assistance with your card.

Apple Card support
Apple Card support


We can see this being far more convenient than dealing with a voice recognition system or when you are a place you can't easily chat on the phone.

Machine learning

Machine learning has been big for Apple, using it broadly across its products and services. It is applying that tactic to Apple Card as well. It can automatically categorize your purchases and color code them, letting you see where you are spending the bulk of your cash.

Apple Card spending categories
Apple Card spending categories


It can also easily see where you physically made a transaction, and compare it to its existing mapping data, to give you a better idea of where you made a purchase. That way instead of random names on your statement, you can see the actual store or restaurant, and the physical location.

No fees

There are no fees with Apple Card. No annual, foreign transaction, late, or otherwise. When they say no fees, they mean it. This means it is a great card to have and never have to worry about how much it is costing you.

Foreign transaction fees, in particular, are huge for travelers. Often times there is an annual fee, or a higher-end card needed to nix those pesky fees.

Interest calculator

Apple Wants to make it easy to see how much you are paying in interest depending on what you pay. A simply wheel mechanism allows you to gauge interest based on how much of a balance you are carrying and your monthly payments.

To help curb interest, Apple even allows you to pay more frequently to get that balance down.

Daily Cash

Instead of using points, or waiting to give you rewards monthly, Apple is using Daily Cash. Daily Cash is just as it sounds -- rewards cash paid out daily, each time you make a purchase.

Apple Card Daily Cash
Apple Card Daily Cash


One, two, or three percent of each purchase is directly applied to your Apple Cash card. Then it can be transferred to your bank or spent via Apple Pay.

You get one percent back if you use the physical Apple Card, two percent on all purchases using the Apple Card via Apple Pay, and three percent back when buying from Apple -- including the App Store or iTunes.

Worst features

There are a lot of great features to Apple Card, but there are some downsides too. Here are the most lackluster features of Apple Card.

Physical card rewards

As we mentioned, using the physical Apple Card at retail only earns you one percent back in rewards. This is subpar as compared to other reward cards, and clearly encourages people to use Apple Pay whenever possible. Apple may have chosen this to encourage user security, as even with Apple's fancy Titanium card, a physical card presents more of a security risk for Apple than Apple Pay.

Apple Card
Apple Card


Even though there are no numbers on the card, the card can still be stolen and used before someone cancels it. For those reasons, Apple really prefers you to use Apple Pay.

Rewards

Rewards for Apple Card, in general, are just average. Two percent is fairly common in the industry with many other cards offering similar perks. Apple could have increased, at a minimum, the three percent rewards for shopping at Apple.

The Citi Double Cash Card gives you two percent back as well as an extended warranty on all electronic purchases, negating the need for Apple Care. Apple had a big opportunity here for some exciting rewards or benefits for Apple-focused users, but didn't take advantage of them.

No signup bonus

Similarly, Apple could have announced some incentive for signup up for Apple Card. A cash back bonus for spending a certain dollar amount within a certain range, or no interest for a certain time period.

Apple has enough marketing power to get loads of people signing up for the card at launch, so it doesn't need this. But, for the average consumer, other cards are more enticing.

No joint accounts

At present, Apple doesn't offer any sort of joint account. Each Apple Card is tied to one person, and one person alone. Couples can't have a shared account where each have their own card.

Availability

We may learn more about Apple Card in the coming months as we approach launch but we are already excited to start using the new card.




Apple says the Apple Card is expected to start shipping this summer, though you can sign up now to receive an alert of when it becomes available.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    There lots of benefits an American Express card offers which go way beyond the function of the card itself, so I’ll keep using it for most purchases, but for gas and food purchases I could see using the Apple Card.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member

    Apple also keeps all of your data private, and the issuing bank Goldman Sachs is disallowed from ever sharing or selling that data as well.

    I don't think that's true. There was very specific wording used by Apple, "for ads and marketing". I think it's almost assured that information will be shared with at least the credit bureaus if not others that "need to know", and no the initial reason can not be for ads according to the disclaimer. That does not mean it cannot find it's way into marketing at another juncture down the line, but that does not mean it will either. Entirely possible it may not find its way into marketing, but Apple does not say it won't be shared at all. 

    TBH I'm actually not afraid of ads, it's the other stuff that done with private data that concerns me. 
    anantksundarambeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 3 of 50
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,911member
    One more advantage: bragging rights on having a Titanium credit card. People will ogle it.
    AppleExposedwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 50
    gatorguy said:

    Apple also keeps all of your data private, and the issuing bank Goldman Sachs is disallowed from ever sharing or selling that data as well.

    I don't think that's true. There was very specific wording used by Apple, "for ads and marketing". I think it's almost assured that information will be shared with at least the credit bureaus if not others that "need to know", and no the initial reason can not be for ads according to the disclaimer. That does not mean it cannot find it's way into marketing at another juncture down the line, but that does not mean it will either. Entirely possible it may not find its way into marketing, but Apple does not say it won't be shared at all. 

    TBH I'm actually not afraid of ads, it's the other stuff that done with private data that concerns me. 
    Obviously credit bureaus always get customer info but I don’t follow your thinking on data finding it’s way into marketing, outside of a major hack job.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    fulwildfulwild Posts: 15member
    Wondering if it will be possible to export transactions to Mint, Personal Capital, Quicken etc. or will this card only live in its own world? 
    russw
  • Reply 6 of 50
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member
    gatorguy said:

    Apple also keeps all of your data private, and the issuing bank Goldman Sachs is disallowed from ever sharing or selling that data as well.

    I don't think that's true. There was very specific wording used by Apple, "for ads and marketing". I think it's almost assured that information will be shared with at least the credit bureaus if not others that "need to know", and no the initial reason can not be for ads according to the disclaimer. That does not mean it cannot find it's way into marketing at another juncture down the line, but that does not mean it will either. Entirely possible it may not find its way into marketing, but Apple does not say it won't be shared at all. 

    TBH I'm actually not afraid of ads, it's the other stuff that done with private data that concerns me. 
    Obviously credit bureaus always get customer info but I don’t follow your thinking on data finding it’s way into marketing, outside of a major hack job.
    Credit bureaus sell data. That's where they make their money. 
    https://datadrivenmarketing.equifax.com/why-equifax/overview/
    https://www.experian.com/marketing-services/targeting/data-driven-marketing/consumer-view-data.html
    https://www.transunion.com/direct/servicesolutions/marketingservices.page
    https://www.experian.com/marketing-services/targeting/data-driven-marketing.html
    edited April 2019
  • Reply 7 of 50
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,911member
    When you say there's no sharing of the card, I have a question. Does that mean it's against the rules or physically impossible to share a card? I imagine that an iPhone can be programmed with multiple people's fingers to the same touch-based login. How can Apple stop multiple people from using the same card?
  • Reply 8 of 50
    NotsofastNotsofast Posts: 450member
    When you say there's no sharing of the card, I have a question. Does that mean it's against the rules or physically impossible to share a card? I imagine that an iPhone can be programmed with multiple people's fingers to the same touch-based login. How can Apple stop multiple people from using the same card?

    Of course, anyone can share their card with anyone they want.  What's not allowed, at least for now, is a shared "account."  Which means you can't have multiple people each having a their own card for the same account as you can with other credit cards- it's one account, one person.
    n2itivguyStrangeDaysentropys1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 9 of 50
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 401member
    It's important to note that these rebates of any amount are paid for by merchants who accept the cards. There is no goodwill being given to the user of the card. Closer to the Visa and MasterCard marking up their processing services and using the proceeds to pay the user of the credit card.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 456member
    There lots of benefits an American Express card offers which go way beyond the function of the card itself, so I’ll keep using it for most purchases, but for gas and food purchases I could see using the Apple Card.
    I have an American Express Blue card that gives me 6% off of grocery stores and 3% off of gas. It costs $95 a year, but saves me hundreds annually. 
    chemengin
  • Reply 11 of 50
    When you’re late on a payment Apple can send you notifications on all your devices!
  • Reply 12 of 50
    GG1GG1 Posts: 476member
    Obviously, this card will be accepted in the US first. But is it considered a Mastercard, Visa, or something new? I ask because if I want to use this outside of the US, I (and the merchant) need to know. Thanks.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 50
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,960member
    GG1 said:
    Obviously, this card will be accepted in the US first. But is it considered a Mastercard, Visa, or something new? I ask because if I want to use this outside of the US, I (and the merchant) need to know. Thanks.
    They said MasterCard in the presentation.
    GG1muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 50
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,278member
    jimh2 said:
    It's important to note that these rebates of any amount are paid for by merchants who accept the cards. There is no goodwill being given to the user of the card. Closer to the Visa and MasterCard marking up their processing services and using the proceeds to pay the user of the credit card.
    The Apple Card is a MasterCard. 
  • Reply 15 of 50
    GG1GG1 Posts: 476member
    mike1 said:
    GG1 said:
    Obviously, this card will be accepted in the US first. But is it considered a Mastercard, Visa, or something new? I ask because if I want to use this outside of the US, I (and the merchant) need to know. Thanks.
    They said MasterCard in the presentation.
    Thanks!
  • Reply 16 of 50
    Are they recycling old Titanium PowerBooks to make the cards?
    edited April 2019
  • Reply 17 of 50
    JKVisFXJKVisFX Posts: 1member
    This card may not be as evil as the other's are but, those interest rates are still onerous, what used to be called "usury," or "loan-sharking." I remember a time when the maximum interest rate allowable by law was 13%. I am completely done with ALL credit schemes. Period. Save your money up for major purchases you know you have coming such as an iPhone upgrade or a computer upgrade, you'll save a hell of a lot of money and not owe any of those fat-cat banks one cent of it. Hell, saving money is just good practice overall.
    davgregIreneWairnerdVirgilBoy99watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 50
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 948member
    Apple Card has a range of 13.24 percent to 24.24 percent

    should read:

    Apple Card has a rate range of usury to loan sharking.
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 19 of 50
    anomeanome Posts: 1,474member
    One thing I haven't been able to determine, and this probably reflects my poor understanding of how credit cards work in the US, but when does interest kick in on the card?

    Most cards here have an interest free period, which is just the time between the start of the billing month and the due date for the payment, so that if you pay your balance before the due date, you never pay interest. This is usually advertised as "55 days interest free", for example where the due date is 25 days after the statement date.

    So with the Apple Card, where the due date is the last day of the month, is that also the statement date? Do charges only accrue interest if you carry a balance forward past the end of the month? Do they accrue interest from the date of the charge? These are things that would normally be spelled out in the Terms and Conditions for a credit card, but I haven't seen for Apple Card yet.
    steveauairnerdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 50
    The additional 1% on Apple Pay only payments (total 2%), is probably more about getting merchants to invest in contactless payment infrastructure through consumer demand, as opposed to security features. The network interchange fee from MasterCard would likely be the same for a contactless or swiped transaction and could therefore ‘support’ the same cash back value. Apple is selecting not to pass the cash back on to drive this technology. 

    Apple wants to be synonymous with contactless payments in the US. 
    watto_cobra
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