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How does Apple Card's cash-back benefits compare to the best cards on the market?

Apple Card iPhone payment
Apple Card iPhone payment (Image credit: Apple)

Heads up! We share savvy shopping and personal finance tips to put extra cash in your wallet. iMore may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network. Please note that the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.

Apple's new credit card features one of the easiest to grasp rewards programs in the industry. A lot of credit cards are based on points, which, depending on your knowledge of your credit card provider's program, can become incredibly confusing and frustrating to manage. Apple has instead elected towards a simple, straight-forward, and non-limiting cash back program for Apple Card. The cash back benefits are as follows per Apple's website:

  • Get 3% back on everything you buy from Apple, whether you buy it at an Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store, or iTunes. That includes games, in‑app purchases, and services like your Apple Music subscription and iCloud storage plan.
  • Get 2% back every time you buy something using Apple Pay. That's in every category, with no limits. Imagine all the things you use a credit card for every day — at Target, Walgreens, Lyft. You'll get 2% back on just about everything.
  • If you happen to come across a store, website, or app that doesn't take Apple Pay yet, Apple Card still gives you 1% of your purchases back in the form of Daily Cash.

How Does this compare to other cash back credit cards?

Let's find out! First, let's break down Apple's cash back offerings. If we exclude the 3% cash back on Apple purchases, Apple Card is a non-limiting 2% cash back credit card. However, we have to keep in mind that the 2% cash back we are looking forward to is completely reliant on the merchant we are purchasing from supporting Apple Pay; otherwise, we are working with a 1% cash back credit card, which is low compared to most other card offerings from other providers. At least we'll all feel really cool swiping that Jony Ive designed titanium physical card.

There are a number of other cash back credit cards that already match (opens in new tab) or exceed the cash back rewards (opens in new tab) that Apple Card is going to feature, as well as also having no annual fee and offering bonus offers for when you sign up. Let's take a look at three cash back credit cards that go pound-for-pound against Apple Card.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a worthy challenger to Apple Card and sets it's customers up with a very similar cash back system as its competitor.

While Apple Card does keep the advantage when it comes to general spending (as long as you are using Apple Pay) the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express can easily pass it when it comes to one thing you are sure to always spend your money on: gas and groceries. Most gas stations are still lacking Apple Pay support, and even though more grocery chains are adopting the technology, the American Express will beat Apple Card by 1% at both. That, paired with no annual fee, makes the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (opens in new tab) a better option for those who find their largest areas of spending to be on groceries and gas.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great card for those who want straightforward cash back with no points or bonus categories to keep track of. It also features a fantastic bonus cash back offer for the first year.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card (opens in new tab) is a great card for those who want straightforward cash back with no points or bonus categories to keep track of, which a solid first-year offer. You'll earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent, which can triple Apple Card's normal rate. After that, you'll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The card also features 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (variable APR of 17.24-25.99% after that) and no annual fee.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the best cards around for those who are looking to skip any kind of categorized rewards and instead opt for a drop-dead simple rewards system.

That's it. No remembering which purchase fits into which cashback rate or playing the game of seasonal bonus offers. It doesn't get much simpler than this. If you're looking to keep things minimal for your credit cards rewards and Apple's system is just another complicated rewards program in your eyes, it doesn't get much more simple than the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (opens in new tab).

Chase Ink Business Cash℠

The Chase Ink Business Cash℠ card is a great cash back credit card for business owners who are looking to earn more cash back on business-related purchases than Apple Card can provide.

While most might be comparing Apple Card to other consumer credit cards, those with a small business might be wondering how it stacks up against a business cash back card. The Chase Ink Business Cash℠ (opens in new tab) credit card is hard to beat when compared to Apple Card. Business owners can earn up to 5% back on a host of expenses that you can expect to come across when running your business. It also sports a solid bonus cash back which Apple Card lacks. With no annual fee, its a fantastic card to get rewarded for doing business.

Which One Is For Me?

That all depends on you! How do you spend your money? If you find yourself keeping your cards in your wallet because you're in Apple Pay utopia, the Apple Card is a natural fit. If you spend a lot on gas and groceries, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (opens in new tab) would be a great fit. If you aren't lucky enough to be surrounded by merchants who accept Apple Pay, you can still consistently earn 1.5% cash back with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card (opens in new tab). If you're looking to keep things super simple and just want one unwavering/unchanging rewards program, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (opens in new tab) might be for you. Whatever you choose, you can be sure that you're getting some of the best cash back rewards available.

Joe Wituschek
Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.

2 Comments
  • The new Apple Card is AWESOME but the interest rate seems very high given the current fed rate. Also, Why does the user not directly have the ability to change a category for a transaction? I can purchase Gas or Groceries at a Hy-Vee store. I should be able to change the transaction type myself rather than having to ask that it be changed. We have many Fuel stations now that second as a Grocer. And usually folks buy fuel with one transaction and groceries with another. Secondly but equally important. Does Apple plan on adding this type of functionality (Recording and classifying transactions) to all card companies in the wallet? This would be awesome. Use the Apple Card as a guinea pig and the Apple card consumers as pioneers.
  • The interest rate on Apple card is pretty competitive compared to a lot of the credit cards currently on the market. I hear you on the transaction thing. There are a lot of merchants that can go one way or another as far as what actual category the transaction is supposed to be for, And it would be nice to have that ability to manually change it if Apple got it wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is something they’re considering adding in the future! I haven’t heard anything about Apple expanding this functionality outside of Apple Card. If they did, it would be a huge upgrade to the wallet app. We’ll just have to wait and see!