Apple Card is great, but it does have its growing pains

Apple Card Wallet app on iOS
Apple Card Wallet app on iOS (Image credit: iMore)

Apple Card has been out for a few months now, and it has been great. I've loved having an easy way to keep an eye on my spending in the Wallet app, earning Daily Cash, and knowing that all of my card usage is being backed by arguably the best security in the industry. Even though better rewards can be found if you take the time to optimize your credit card for that spending, Apple Card has made the experience so easy and enjoyable that it has become the only card that I use now. It has taken the credit card model and flipped it on its head, helping me become a more conscious spender.

That said, it is not perfect. There are some confusing and sometimes costly quirks to this card that do lessen the overall experience. One such problem came to light when the Daily Cash I had earned when buying my Apple Watch Series 5 was added back to my Apple Card balance.

You don't really keep your Daily Cash when doing a trade-in

If you are purchasing an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac from Apple's website, you have the option of trading in a device to put towards that purchase. Even if you go through the trade-in process, Apple's website will still act like you will receive Daily Cash for the full purchase price of the device you are buying. The Apple Store app goes as far as showing you the actual dollar amount. This is misleading, as the Daily Cash you earn will be taken back once the trade-in processes. I experienced this issue when I traded in my iPhone towards the purchase of an Apple Watch.

Back in September, when I was preordering my Apple Watch Series 5, I traded in my iPhone XS towards the watch. According to Apple's website, the trade-in value of my iPhone was $500. This would effectively lessen the cost of my new Apple Watch Series 5 with Cellular in Aluminum to $29.99 plus tax. However, when I went to checkout, I noticed the website saying I would earn $16.82 in Daily Cash if I used my Apple Card to make the purchase. This seemed too good to be true, so I called Apple and Goldman Sachs Support and they confirmed that yes, even though the value of the trade-in will be returned to your Apple Card when the trade-in processes, you get to keep all of the Daily Cash earned on the original transaction.

Daily Cash calculation in cart

Unfortunately, this information was incorrect. When your trade-in processes, two things will occur. The first is that the value of your trade-in will be refunded to your Apple Card. Apple will then take the Daily Cash earned, equivalent to the refund, and add that to your Apple Card balance.

I personally found this out when I woke up one morning to two transactions that had occurred overnight. The first was a $500 refund for the value of the iPhone I had traded in, an expected and welcomed sight. The second, however, was a $15.90 adjustment that took the Daily Cash I had earned from trading in my phone and put it back on my Apple Card balance. People have reached out to me on Twitter and said that the same thing is happening to them as well. I reached back out to Apple and Goldman Sachs support and this time they said that the original information I received was inaccurate and that the value of the trade-in will cause the Daily Cash originally earned to be added to your Apple Card balance.

If a trade-in does affect the amount of Daily Cash earned on a purchase, then Apple could do something pretty simple to prevent this confusion with customers. Currently, when you check out with a trade-in on the website or through the Apple Store app, it says you will earn 3% Daily Cash on your purchase (the app is even worse because it tells you the exact amount you will earn). The obvious problem is that this calculation is not factoring in the value of the trade-in. One thing Apple could do to would be to hold off on applying Daily Cash until the trade-in processes. That way, you don't have to worry about getting some Daily Cash now and some later, or getting Daily Cash now only for it to be put back on your balance later. Regardless of how Apple improves this, keep in mind that if you put a trade-in towards a purchase online, you're not going to keep all of the Daily Cash earned, so hold off on spending it.

Moving forward

This issue has caused confusion and frustration for customers of Apple Card, including myself, so it would be great to see Apple address them. It's also not the only issue that people are having with Apple Card. Since the launch of Apple Card, the Wallet app prompts users to set Apple Card as their default even if they already did, a confusing behavior that requires some digging to make sense of.

There are also still a host of feature requests for the card, like being able to manually categorize a transaction, add an authorized user, and itemized statements. These are pretty common features in the credit card industry, and I understand potential Apple Card customers holding off on making it part of their financial tool belt until those things are added. That said, these are the growing pains that can and should be expected when a company enters a completely new market as Apple has done here.

Apple has gotten the most important things right, and it shows in the fact that many of us have already put our other credit cards to rest and adopted Apple Card as the new and only card we use. Its focus on the financial awareness and health of consumers is evident, and its security and privacy features are currently unmatched. The problems that have come about so far are, in the grand scheme of launching a new product category, relatively minor and easily corrected. Doing so will remove a couple of confusion points and make using and understanding Apple Card a pleasure.

Joe Wituschek

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.