With all the rumors about Apple Card launching this week I'm getting excited about a new way to keep track of my credit card spending. When Apple first announced the Apple Card, I thought, "Huh. Not what I expected from Apple, and not something I really care about." But the more I hear about it, the more I want one (I have a bad case of Apple gadget FOMO). Getting a new credit card is a lot different than getting a new iPhone, though. It's a major responsibility that could either make or break a person's ability to finance something big later on in life.
For one, getting a credit card requires a hard inquiry which could negatively affect your credit score, at least temporarily. If you've got limited credit history, don't plan on trying to finance a car or mortgage for at least a few months after opening a new credit card.
We don't have any specific details about what credit score you need to be approved for an Apple Card, but rumor has it that Apple will approve credit cards to people with lower scores, they'll just start with a lower balance. This is exactly how I started my credit history. I was approved for a credit card with just a $1,000 limit and 22% interest rate (a pretty high rate), which I cultivated into a higher balance within a few years and was able to get approved for a different card with a much better interest rate.
This, I think, is what makes Apple Card something special. If Apple approves customers with low or no credit history, and provides helpful finance management tools, this could be the pathway many people need to have a better credit lifestyle.
Of course, we have to do the work to build and maintain a better credit lifestyle ourselves. We can't rely on those nicely-designed management tools to magically make us better at properly maintaining a good credit profile. My current credit score is 802, but I had to work to get there. Some people think that paying off a credit card entirely every month is best, but it's actually better to have about 10% of the card's balance remaining with payments made on-time regularly. This shows a tangible credit history, which is part of what's used to determine your score.
Applying for a new credit card through Apple is going to be a big deal, and should be considered deeply before you decide. Do you need another credit card? Are you just going to apply because it's Apple? If the latter, maybe you shouldn't. Do you already have a lot of debt? Is your monthly budget stretched? It might be smarter to pay off what you have than to open up a new line of credit that will make your monthly budget even tighter.
Whatever you decide to do when Apple Card does finally become available, don't think of this as another Apple gadget that you've gotta have. It's way too easy to apply (you'll be able to apply right inside the Wallet app using your Apple ID), so you shouldn't just jump on the Apple fan bandwagon this time around. Your credit score is counting on you.
Keep that FOMO under control!