Apple is known for its business model for its ability to ‘own the consumer’. It is designed to drive consumers into its ecosystem and then hold them there, which has been hugely successful to date. However, when Apple announced during Apple’s Show Time event on March 25, 2019 that it was going to launch its very own credit card with Goldman Sachs, many were surprised and wondering what could Apple do to make Apple Card stand out from the already crowded credit card industry?
What’s Apple Card?
Unlike traditional credit cards, this one will live in your iPhone’s Wallet app, anyone with an ID and is at least 18 years old can apply for it in minutes, and can start using it the minute you’re approved! You can use it as a digital card anywhere Apple Pay is accepted. It also comes with a physical titanium card that doesn’t look like the typical plastic rectangle kind of card, which can be used in locations where Apple Pay isn’t accepted. The physical card comes carved with only your name. For security purposes, all of the sensitive data and authorization info is stored within your Wallet app.
What about the fees?
The Apple Card has no annual fee, no fees for over-the-limit spending, cash advances, late payments or international transactions. The only fee it has is a transfer fee for moving money outside of your Apple Pay Cash balance (1%).
How’s the interest rate?
The card’s variable interest rate ranges from 13.24% to 24.24%, depending on your credit history. That compares with a national average of about 17.5%.
Apple also won’t charge a penalty rate if you miss a payment, something other credit cards will levy to dissuade cardholders from missing payments.
Do the rewards look good?
You get 3% Daily Cash Back on Apple purchases; 2% back when using the Apple Card with Apple Pay; and 1% back when using the physical Apple Card.
Apple also highlights the ease of getting your rewards. Unlike other cashback rewards, Cash Back is added to your Apple Cash card every day (instead of weekly or even twice a month like other cashback rewards), it can also be redeemed for any amount right away, can be used to pay off your credit balance, or can be sent to family or friends via iMessage .
“Apple is trying to carve a new niche with the Apple Card,” Dana Marineau, vice president and financial advocate at Credit Karma, told Digital Trends. “Instead of trying to compete with other popular travel rewards cards, Apple is making a play for brand loyalty, hoping loyal Apple customers will join.”
Ultimately, the Apple brand and a trendy titanium card will attract a lot of people, especially hardcore Apple fans, but most people can probably find an alternative credit card with higher rewards.