If you use Apple services or have been looking at credit card options, chances are that you’ve heard mention of Apple Card. Apple even spent some time on it during the April 2021 event.
But if you haven’t heard much about the card before, you’re probably wondering what it is. That’s what we’re looking at.
What Is Apple Card?
Apple Card is Apple’s own credit card. Launched in August 2019, this credit card is the first of its kind: run by a tech company. It’s worth noting straight away that Apple Card is only available in the US.
The credit card is fully integrated in Apple’s ecosystem, so it works flawlessly with existing Apple services and apps. Apple Card is built straight into the Wallet app found on iOS devices, and links directly to Apple Pay.
Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs to manage the financial side of the card. Apple Card was built specifically for use in Apple Pay, but still functions as a traditional, non-contactless credit card when necessary.
You’ll see that Apple Card isn’t your usual piece of plastic. Rather, this card is made from titanium with a white coating. The card gets laser-etched with your name on the front.
But the differences continue. Apple Card has no card number, expiration date, CVV number, or signature. You can find all those details in the Wallet app instead. The card just has the standard chip and magstripe.
Apple Card runs on the MasterCard network, so it should be accepted pretty much everywhere.
What Does Apple Card Offer?
Apple offers quite a few features on its credit card. When compared to other cards, Apple Card is a serious competitor.
There are absolutely no fees on Apple Card. Not only does this mean that there is no annual fee (as you have to worry about with other cards, such as many from American Express), but also that there are no late or over-limit fees either. These are instead charged in extra interest. Handily, there are also no international fees, which is a big plus for travelers.
With Apple Card, you can start using the card right away through Apple Pay. As soon as you get accepted for the product, Apple lets you add the card to Apple Pay from the Wallet app. You don’t need to wait for the card to arrive in the mail.
Unlike most credit card providers, Apple claims that it want you to pay as little interest as possible. To encourage this, the app estimates the interest you might need to pay on your balance when making a payment. Apple hopes by showing you how much interest you might pay, you can make a larger payment to avoid it.
Another big feature offered is unlimited daily cashback. Apple Card lets you earn cashback on all purchases, which gets paid out every day.
Purchases through Apple Pay get two percent cashback, while purchases from Apple earn three percent cashback. Apple purchases include everything from in-store products to Apple subscriptions and in-app purchases from the App Store. Finally, all physical card purchases get one percent cashback.
One unique feature Apple Card offers is an AirPods/AirTags-style method of activating your new card. By holding your iPhone near the NFC tag on the envelope, you get an on-screen display to activate your card that looks similar to the pairing process for those other devices. It doesn’t particularly change your experience, but makes it easier.
Finally, Apple Card comes with 24/7 support. This is pretty common among credit card providers. But it’s nice to know there’s a 24/7 dedicated Apple Card support team, rather than standard Apple Support.
Apple Card comes fully packed with features, taking advantage of the Wallet app to really make this a tech-focused credit card.
How to Apply for Apple Card
Apple makes the Apple Card application process easy. Remember, you can only apply for this credit card if you’re in the US.
Since Apple Card is still a credit card, Apple has some basic eligibility criteria you need to meet to be approved for the card. Bear in mind that meeting these requirements doesn’t mean you’ll get approved for the card—just that you’re able to apply.
As per usual when applying for a credit card, you must be at least 18 years old and have a US driver’s license or state ID to apply. You also need a US residential address.
Uniquely for Apple Card, applicants need to have an iPhone 6 or newer running at least iOS 12.4. This makes sure that you have the Wallet app on your device, which the card requires. You also need an iCloud and Apple ID account.
You can apply for Apple Card straight from the Wallet app, or from the Apple Card webpage if you’d prefer. If you’re applying from the Wallet app, hit the Add button, select Apple Card, and then tap Continue to start the application.
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As with any credit card application, you need to fill in the form with your information. The application asks for your address history, birthday, income, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and some basic personal info.
After this, you must accept the terms. Apple then submits your information to Goldman Sachs, and you’ll get approved or denied. The credit check gets carried out by TransUnion, in case you’re wondering. It only takes about a minute.
If you’re approved, you’ll see the offer with your credit limit and APR rate. You’ve got 30 days to accept the offer. As per usual with credit cards, your limit and APR rate varies based on your credit score and history. Apple does increase credit limits over time, so bear that in mind.
If you’ve accepted the offer, you can to start using the card online and through Apple Pay immediately, as mentioned. The physical piece of metal will arrive a few days later, and you’ll get shipping updates.
Why Does Apple Have a Credit Card?
You might be wondering why Apple has a credit card at all. There are two main reasons for this.
The first reason is, of course, profit. While Apple does say that it encourages you to pay less interest on the card, the company still earns money from your interest. At the end of the day, Apple is a business, and this is just another revenue stream. It thus makes sense for the company to expand further into payments.
Secondly, Apple is trying to expand its ecosystem. The Apple ecosystem is a term for how all of Apple’s devices and services synchronize and interact with one another fluidly.
An example would be using your AirPods to listen to Apple Music on your iPhone. That’s three Apple products/services at once, and is smoother than using another brand of earbuds to listen to Spotify on your iPhone.
Having so many services that integrate with one another is a feature that draws many to use Apple products. And it does create a better experience for Apple users. So it makes sense for Apple to expand the ecosystem with Apple Card.
When Tech Meets Credit
Tech in finance has been rapidly rising over the past few years. Seeing such a large tech company involve itself in the world of credit and finance is an important step in this.
Apple has stepped into the world of credit cards to deliver its product, bringing with it some pretty cool features you don’t get anywhere else.
Image credits: Apple
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