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Apple Card was announced during Apple's Show Time event on March 25, 2019, at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, and is now available to the public. It is a mobile-first credit card that's tightly integrated into the Wallet app on iPhone and offers exclusive cash-back benefits for Apple-related purchases. The card represents an opportunity for Apple to bring its user-friendly interfaces and functionality to an industry that is known for moving slowly when it comes to adopting new technology.
The credit card industry is an extremely crowded space with established players offering huge sign-up bonuses and lucrative cash-back offers, but Apple is betting its focus on a more user-friendly experience, security, and privacy will help it win over consumers.
What is Apple Card?
Apple Card is a consumer U.S. credit card issued by Goldman Sachs. A digital version of it lives in the Wallet app of your iPhone geared towards online and in-store contactless purchases. There's also a physical version which is made of titanium and, unlike most credit cards, does not contain your card number, expiration date, CVV security code or signature to better protect your account information.
What benefits does Apple Card offer?
Apple is positioning Apple Card's tight iPhone integration as its greatest benefit and key differentiator over its competition. The entire experience, from application to the redemption of rewards, all takes place in either the Wallet app on the iPhone or through the Apple Card website. That's in stark contrast to other credit cards that sometimes have multiple apps and websites to take advantage of their complete suite of benefits.
Apple Card provides weekly and monthly summaries so you can track trends in spending and make better budgeting decisions. Instead of nearly impossible to decipher statements, Apple Card provides actual merchant names, locations, and dates for each transaction. Additional features include categories to understand better where your money is going and clear payment options that encourage healthy financial decisions.
You can also download a CSV file of your Apple Card transactions or a PDF of your monthly statements. Transactions can also be exported to budgeting applications like Quicken and QuickBooks.
- How to make purchases with Apple Card
- How to schedule payments on your Apple Card
- How to add your bank account to your Apple Card payment option
- How to find your Apple Card account number, CVV and expiration date
Apple Card is a cash-back credit card that offers 2% cash-back on all purchases when you pay with Apple Pay and 1% cash-back when you pay using the physical card. Cardholders also earn 3% cash-back on purchases made directly from Apple, including purchases made at iTunes, the App Store, as well as subscriptions like Apple Music, Apple News+, and iCloud storage. Apple has also added 3% Daily Cash back on Apple Pay purchases at the following merchants:
- Duane Reade
- Uber Eats
Funds earned from the cash-back benefit are called 'Daily Cash' and are available each day to be redeemed in various ways using your Apple Cash card (sign-up for free now to be ready). Use your Apple Cash Card to make purchases using Apple Pay, send money to friends, or even pay your Apple Card bill. However, if you don't have an Apple Cash card, your only redemption method will be statement credit.
Apple Card does not currently come with any kind of welcome bonus, which makes it an exception as many of the best cash-back cards still offer valuable sign-up deals.
Apple has added the ability for Apple Card cardholders to finance their purchases at Apple. With Apple Card Monthly Installments, cardholders can finance an Apple product interest-free from six months up to 24 months.
When you finance an iPhone, Mac, iPad, or Apple TV, you will still earn your 3% back in Daily Cash at the time of purchase. The plan works with Apple Trade-In, so you can pay even less per month for your financed iPhone, iPad, or Mac if you trade in something towards your new device. The monthly payment for your financed device is simply added to the minimum monthly payment of your Apple Card and can be monitored or paid off directly in the Wallet app.
Security and Privacy
Another major benefit of Apple Card is its approach to security and privacy. Not printing any of your account information on the physical card is just the beginning. Once you're approved for Apple Card, a unique device number is locked away on your iPhone. Each transaction requires that device number and a one-time security code that's generated from Touch ID or Face ID, with no signature required. Reported by TechCrunch, you are also able to manually generate a new credit card number to use for situations where you need to disclose a number, but don't necessarily trust the merchant. Apple also promises that Goldman Sachs "will never share or sell your data to third parties for marketing or advertising."
What is the physical card like?
For purchases where you can't use Apple Pay, Apple has designed its own physical card. The credit card is, much like everything Apple does, one of the most interesting cards ever created. It's built out a titanium unibody construction, which Apple pioneered in computing with the first MacBook Air. This design helps the card's durability and ability to withstand the test of time and conditions.
The front of the card features the cardholder's name, the Apple logo, and the EMV chip that has been redesigned by Apple. The back of the card displays the Goldman Sachs and Mastercard logos, as well as the magnetic stripe, which runs to the bottom of the card. All of the markings on the card are laser etched engraved. The attention to detail is phenomenal, something that is indicative of Apple's obsessive commitment to design. If you are looking for a deep dive into the design of Apple Card, Arun Venkatesan goes into intricate detail on his blog post.
The Apple Card packaging contains a caption underneath the card reading "Activate Your Card: Wake iPhone and hold here." New cardholders activate their physical Apple Card, much like pairing AirPods by holding their iPhone near the packaging and following the activation prompt that appears on their iPhone.
Those who have received the physical titanium card in the mail which has given us a look at the full packaging and have reported more details about the card itself, including the weight.
Does Apple Card have an annual fee?
Apple Card does not have an annual fee. Furthermore, Apple promises not to charge any late, international, or over-the-limit fees. However, the fine print does state that "late or missed payments will result in additional interest accumulating toward your balance." It is important to note that this does not mean that Apple will increase your interest rate if you miss a payment. They will, however, report your late payment to credit bureaus, and you will continue to accrue interest on your balance.
Interest rate information is as follows: "Variable APRs range from 13.24% to 24.24% based on creditworthiness." While this isn't as revolutionary as many had hoped, Apple places all Apple Card users at the lower end of whatever interest rate tier they land in. This is a small but meaningful change, as every percent less means accruing less debt, which is something Apple Card promises to help all of us avoid.
How and when can I sign up for Apple Card?
You can apply for Apple Card now directly within the Wallet app on your iPhone. You need to be running at least iOS 12.4 and meet a few requirements to be eligible for the card.
Currently, the product is set up for only one card per person, meaning that there is no way to sign up for a shared card or to add an authorized user.
How do I activate my Apple Card?
Activating your Apple Card is incredibly easy. Your virtual card will be available in the Wallet app immediately when you are approved for the card, as well as being auto-filled for use in Safari. When you get your physical titanium card in the mail, you'll activate it by simply tapping your iPhone to the card. This will trigger a welcome animation of your new card and an activation button on your iPhone, similar to how you pair AirPods. As soon as you activate, your physical card will be ready for use. If you ever lose your physical card, replacing it is entirely free.
Are there any other cash back cards like Apple Card?
Here are some of the best cash back credit cards on the market right now that are a fantastic alternative or partner to Apple Card. You may even find a card better suited for your needs!
Tiered cash back
This card gets you 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There's no annual fee, and unlike Apple Card, you'll earn a valuable welcome bonus to the tune of a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 within the first three months
Twice the cash
Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After the first year, earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers (variable APR of 17.24-25.99% after that). No annual fee.
Simple cash back
Earning cash back doesn't get easier than it is with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. You'll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, and no annual fee is required. We also love that it includes a $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within three months. Put off paying for that iPhone purchase with 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months.
All the cash back
This card gets you 6% cash back on U.S. streaming services, 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S gas stations and on transit, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You'll earn a valuable welcome bonus to the tune of a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 within the first three months. There is also a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable APR, 15.24% to 26.24%.
Feed your inner foodie
This card gets you unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back at grocery stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. The card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
Updated April 1, 2019: Added Apple Card features and news gleaned from a recent TechCrunch report. Updated May 13, 2019: Added information about Apple Card image leaks from a recent Macrumors article. Updated August 23, 2019: Updated article with new information after Apple Card's public release.
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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.