Apple Card: A Surprisingly Great Card, But Who Needs It?

Michael Beausoleil

If you have an iPhone, you might be familiar with ApplePay. You may have even heard of the Apple Card, which is Apple’s attempt to enter the world of credit cards.

There are many hardcore Apple fans out there. Some of them are going to be interested in the card simply because Apple’s logo is on it. For those who are interested for more rational reasons, they might want to take a deeper dive into the card before applying.

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As far as credit cards go, the Apple Card is not the worst. It’s designed to be an everyday card, not a store rewards card. Even if Apple is not at the center of your universe, the card might be a viable option for you.

Who Would Be Interested in the Apple Card?

There are three types of people who might be interested in the Apple Card. If you check any of these boxes you might want to consider applying:

  • Cash back is your preferred reward
  • You are comfortable using Apple Pay
  • You are desperately looking for Apple discounts, including discounts in iTunes and in-app purchases

Keep in mind the most you can get back on a purchase is 3%, and that’s only on select purchases. If you’re able to receive an equal or greater rewards, the Apple Card may not be the best option for you.

How Do You Get Approved for the Apple Card?

The Apple Card is issued by Goldman Sachs, and requires your credit to be in “good standing.” A low FICO9 credit score may result in a declined application, which Apple defines as under 600. Further, applications may be declined due to poor credit history. This may include past-due debt, checking accounts that were closed due to spending more than available funding, or fully using your lines of credit in the past month.

Applicants in heavy debt or with negative public records may also be denied. If you have debt with insufficient income to pay or debt consuming the majority of your monthly income, you may not be a suitable candidate. Additionally, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy recently, you’re unlikely to get approved.

If your application is approved, your APR is determined by your creditworthiness. This can range from 10.99% to 21.99%, and better creditworthiness will get you a better APR.

What is Daily Cash? How Do You Get It?

Cash back is the biggest perk of the Apple Card. As the name implies, you receive your Daily Cash each day. No waiting until the end of the month, the money will automatically go into your Apple Cash account. If you’re unfamiliar with that service, it is essentially Apple’s answer to apps like Venmo and CashApp. So, you can spend this money wherever Apple Cash is accepted or transfer it into your checking account.

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When you make a purchase, your Daily Cash will fall into one of three tiers:

3%

The coveted 3% category requires two criteria: you use ApplePay and you purchase from a select vendor. These vendors include: Apple, Nike, Panera Bread, T-Mobile, Exxon, Mobil, Uber and Walgreens. While there are few vendors in the 3% tier, the ones that are there seldom offer great deals. 3% back at Apple or Nike can add up quickly.

2%

You can get unlimited 2% back at any other vendor when you use ApplePay. 2% back is still pretty good, especially when you have access to that money within 24 hours.

1%

Any time you use the physical card, you only receive 1% back. Not as good as the other categories, but it’s still something.

Are There Really No Fees?

Correct, there are no fees. This means you do not pay an annual fee, no late payment fees, and no foreign transaction fees. Apple has made a commitment to a simple credit card that benefits the customers.

That doesn’t mean there’s no penalties at all. If you miss a payment, interest will continue to accrue. You still want to make all of your payments on time, as missing your minimum monthly payment can impact your credit score in the future.

What’s Odd About the Apple Card?

If there’s anything unusual, it’s the titanium card offered to customers. Apple temps you to ditch the plastic for titanium. It seems they should want you to replace plastic with pixels, as the Apple Card centers around ApplePay.

I will admit, the titanium card seems nice. Most likely Apple wants their experience to feel premium and the plastic feels so ordinary. When you do need to whip out your card, having a heavy card feels sophisticated. Perhaps it’s really just a ploy to have people receive less Daily Cash by using the physical card, but I doubt that’s the case. Apple is the type of brand that wants the whole experience to feel top-tier, even when you have to stick your credit card into a gas station chip reader.

Should You Get the Apple Card?

Like all financial decisions, the answer to this question is not uniform. Everyone has different spending habits, and some people may not qualify. If you’re able to get approved, I would certainly consider it. This is especially true if you don’t have a card that gives you at least 2% cash back.

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There is one big caveat: you need to be comfortable with ApplePay. Once it’s added into you phone, it’s quite easy to use. I use it often, and in a world where we don’t know whether to swipe or insert, ApplePay bypasses this conundrum. I can attest to the fact that Apple has made this a very convenient process, but some people would rather use a physical card.

Of course, you can use the titanium card, but you’ll only receive 1% cash back. If you frequently find yourself in places where ApplePay is not accepted, you’ll miss the chance to get 2% back. Based on your spending habits, your cash back might be closer to 1% overall. If that’s the case, the Apple Card becomes a lot less competitive. The card may still be a viable option if you’re concerned with fees on other cards, but 1% isn’t a strong benefit for people with great credit scores.

If you can qualify for the Apple Card, there are a lot worse options out there. Even if you’re not getting massive amounts of cash back, your reward is cash. You’re not just earning Apple or iTunes gift cards, and the benefits of the Apple Card extend beyond the Apple services. For a lot of people, the card is a good option. You just need to know your preferences and understand what you can get with this card. There are no fees, no limits on cash back, and never any plastic.

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