Here’s everything you need to know about the new Apple Card
March 29, 2019
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Everyone already knows Apple as the company behind iPhones, iPads, and Macs. But now Apple wants to be known for something else: a credit card.
“Apple Card is designed to help customers lead a healthier financial life, which starts with a better understanding of their spending so they can make smarter choices with their money, transparency to help them understand how much it will cost if they want to pay over time and ways to help them pay down their balance,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay, said in a press release.
The card, created in partnership with Mastercard and Goldman Sachs, is still months away from being available but is already generating quite a bit of buzz thanks to some unique features that set it apart from traditional credit cards.
Interested in learning more about Apple Card? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the Apple Card?
Apple Card is both a digital card in the iPhone Wallet app and a physical card. While Apple expects cardholders will predominantly use the digital version, it said the physical card will ensure people can still use Apple Card in stores that don’t yet accept Apple Pay.
But in the typical Apple way of doing things, the physical card doesn’t look like a traditional credit card. Taking things a few steps further than plastic, the Apple Card is made out of titanium and has the cardholder’s name laser-etched on it. (Yes, really.) But that’s not the only interesting aspect of the physical card – it doesn’t have a card number, expiration date, CVV, or signature.
But don’t worry about not being able to use the card on websites that don’t accept Apple Pay. All of the necessary information will be accessible in the Wallet app. Plus, if you’re using Safari, Apple Card details will be automatically filled in.
One important thing to note is that if you get an Apple Card, you won’t be able to add a family member as an authorized user. That could be a drawback for those that share banking accounts with a spouse or family member.
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How secure is it?
Since the Apple Card will be stored in an iPhone’s Wallet app, it’s understandable if people have concerns about privacy and security. However, Apple said it would provide more privacy protection than typical credit cards.
An Apple Card number is created on a cardholder’s iPhone and stored in the device’s Secure Element, which is a security chip used by Apple Pay.
According to Apple, every time the card is used for a purchase, a “one-time dynamic security code” is generated after Face ID or Touch ID is used to authorize the transaction. That means that even if someone steals your phone, your Apple Card will be kept secure.
Plus, Apple said it won’t be able to track where a person shops, what they buy, and how much they paid. And for its part, Goldman Sachs said it won’t share or sell any customer data to third parties for marketing and advertising.
Apple will also send instant notifications after every purchase. If you do happen to notice some unusual activity come through, you’ll be able to report a problem by tapping the notification.
Like most traditional credit cards, Apple Card comes with a rewards program. But unlike a typical points program, Apple gives cash back for every dollar spent through a program called Daily Cash.
The rewards are calculated like this: 3% back on purchases from Apple; 2% back on purchases made using Apple Card with Apple Pay; and 1% back when the physical card is used.
And, as the program’s name suggests, Apple Card users get those rewards daily. The rebates will be added to a user’s Apple Pay Cash card every day and can be used right away for purchases with Apple Pay, put toward the Apple Card balance, or transferred to other people via iMessage.
Keeping tabs on spending
One of Apple’s big selling points for Apple Card is that it aims to help people keep tabs on their spending habits and better manage their financial situation by making information easy to understand.
The Wallet app will use machine learning and Apple Maps to pull together information that makes merchants easier to identify. You’ll be able to see exactly how much you spent and where along with the location pinpointed on a map.
The app will also help people keep track of how much they spend in a given week or month with purchase summaries broken into color-coded categories like food, shopping, and entertainment.
What about the fees?
Apple said there would be no fees associated with Apple Card – no annual fees, late fees, international fees, or fees for going over the limit. When reading the fine print, it says that “late or missed payments will result in additional interest accumulating toward your balance.”
Apple said it expects interest rates to be “among the lowest” in the industry. Taking another peek at the fine print reveals that Apple currently expects interest rates to range from 13.24% to 24.24% based on creditworthiness.
That’s a massive range. On the low end, Apple’s interest rate is lower than the national average which is currently around 17.6%. In an interview with CNBC, one industry analyst said that the high end of the range suggests Apple Card will be available to those whose credit history isn’t the greatest.
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How and when to get Apple Card
Apple Card will be available in the US starting this summer. While Apple hasn’t announced plans to launch in other countries, it’s likely that Apple will expand to other countries after seeing how Apple Card performs in the US.
If you’re interested in being one of the first to get an Apple Card, you’ll be able to sign up for one right in the Wallet app on your iPhone when it becomes available.
Apple’s announcement about its new card made it seem like anyone can get one and start using it right away, but, as with traditional credit cards, getting an Apple Card will be contingent on credit approval. Apple hasn’t shared the details on the qualification requirements, but those interested in learning more can sign up for notifications.
Since the launch time frame is still a ways away, there’s a good chance that the new card’s terms and conditions could change before it becomes available. Therefore, it’s a good idea to read through the fine print carefully before (digitally) signing on.
Especially since there are still some unknown details, like fees for any associated services, exclusions to the Daily Cash program (which is referenced in the fine print), and what happens if you want to cancel.
As the official launch date (whenever that is) draws nearer, we’ll see if Apple Card lives up to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s proclamation that it will be “the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years.”