What the Tech? A review of the Apple Card
Folks using Apple's credit card, The Apple Card are facing a due date this week and two months after its release you might be wondering if it's everything it's supposed to be. I've been using it almost exclusively for the past two months to see if it's a good option for holiday shopping. The verdict? Yes, it is.
The Apple Card is a virtual credit card that lives on an iPhone inside the Wallet app. Applying for the card, which is backed by Goldman Sachs is both easy to apply for and from what I've learned, easy to get approval. I know of several people who were approved for the card with no credit history. One part-time employee said he received approval in a few minutes for a $250 credit limit. If he pays off the balance consistently, he'll be able to apply for a higher limit. The card, which is a MasterCard credit card, has an interest fee of 21%-24% depending on credit history.
What I like about this card is the convenience. I don't like to carry a lot of credit cards with me but since the Apple Card lives on the phone, I always have it with me. I've also found that it's easy to use at retailers that accept Apple Pay.
To use the card, I just put my phone next to the register and click the side button. It'll ask for my Face ID to approve the purchase. If you have an older phone, iPhone 8 and older, you'll be asked to provide Touch ID.
There's also the physical Apple Card. A titanium credit card is optional. It's a good idea to have one for when you're shopping at retailers without Apple Pay such as most gas pumps. The physical card has no numbers on it, just your name and a chip. You use it the same as any other credit card. Apple says since there is no number associated with the card, it makes it virtually impossible to be cloned or skimmed.
I have read several reports of Apple Cards being cloned or skimmed and Apple is reportedly investigating how that could have happened.
The Apple Card does have cash back benefits. It's typically 1% of the purchase price at most retailers though some offer 2% and 3%. Using my Apple Card to reload a Starbucks mobile payment I received 2% back. Using the card for Lyft rides shows another 2% back. A $5.40 Lyft ride put 11 cents back on my Apple Cash Card.
The Apple Cash card also lives in the Wallet app and can be used to make purchases from the Apple Store as well as for paying off the Apple Card at the end of the month.
I think the Apple Card is a good choice for anyone establishing credit for the first time. For one thing, it makes it easy to keep track of spending. Statements are available at any time and you can see how much you will save in interest charges by paying off the card on time. The Apple Card app shows weekly activity with color-coded categories. For new credit card users, I think it's probably helpful that the bill is due on the last day of each month. Something as simple as that makes it easy to remember to send in the payment.
Users attach their bank account or accounts to the card and use the Wallet app to make payments.
The Apple Card is also a good choice for anyone who typically uses a debit card to make purchases. Using a debit card is never a good choice. If a hacker manages to skim the data from a debit card, they will have access to the user's bank account.
If you are choosing a credit card for privacy protection, I don't think you can do better than the Apple Card. If you are choosing one based on cash back benefits there are some better options. For example, anyone making a lot of purchases through Amazon will benefit more with the Amazon Prime Benefits card which pays 5% for purchases at Amazon.