Should you get the Apple card? What you need to know before you bite
When Apple announced in 2019 the launch of a new apple credit card, some fans might have hoped it would reinvent the way we pay for things. But the product’s features make it the credit card equivalent of a Red Delicious: relatively ubiquitous and somewhat bland.
Yet despite a crowded cash back card market, consumers can find room in their digital wallet for one that will earn rewards, especially on expensive Apple purchases.
As with all Apple product announcements (and, indeed, all credit cards), the important question to ask yourself is: is this product right for you?
Why you might want the Apple Card
Apple card at $ 0 annual fee earns 3% cash back on Apple purchases, as well as at certain merchants and via certain apps, and 2% off everything else, but only if you shop via Apple Pay on your iPhone. If you use the physical version of the card, which is an option at retailers that don’t accept Apple Pay, you’ll only earn 1% cash back.
It is not known what type of credit scores you will need to qualify for the Apple Card, but assuming you are creditworthy, you could qualify for this card if:
1. Apple juice runs through your veins
Siri is your spirit guide. Every device in your home, car, and office comes from the Apple Store (which, coincidentally, is where you spend the weekend). Getting 3% cash back on your many Apple purchases would be a godsend, and for all other purchases, you’re already used to hovering your phone over the point-of-sale device at checkout. Here’s a look at the current Apple Card reward categories:
• Apple Pay purchases made directly from Apple (including Apple stores, the App Store, and for Apple services).
• Uber and Uber Eats purchases via Apple Pay.
• Walgreens and Duane Reade purchases via Apple Pay.
• T-Mobile in-store purchases via Apple Pay.
• Nike purchases via Apple Pay (in US stores, via Nike.com and on Nike apps).
• Purchases at Exxon and Mobil gas stations via Apple Pay. This includes fuel, car washes, and convenience store purchases.
• Panera purchases via Apple Pay.
All other purchases made through Apple Pay.
All purchases made with the physical Apple Card.
2. Looking for instant gratification
Apple says you can apply for the card through the Wallet app on your iPhone within minutes, and you can start using it as soon as you’re approved. No need to wait seven to ten business days to receive a card in the mail. Likewise, when it comes to earning and redeeming your cash back, the rewards are credited daily and can be used more or less immediately. Unlike many other rewards cards, you don’t have to wait until the end of your billing cycle.
3. You live or travel in cities where Apple Pay is widely accepted
Apple claimed by announcing the Apple Card that 70% of US retailers accept Apple Pay. Granted, as of this writing, several major merchants are accepting it (or are rolling out it), including Target, McDonald’s, CVS, and Best Buy. It’s also worth noting that the Apple Card has no overseas transaction fees, and Mastercards are widely accepted around the world, so in general, it will make a decent travel companion.
4. You are sometimes forgetful
Apple says you won’t be charged a penalty rate or late fee if you miss a payment. The company notes, however, that “late or missed payments will lead to an accumulation of additional interest on the customer’s balance.” Either way, NerdWallet recommends making payments in full and on time because late payments can still hurt your credit rating.
Why you might pass on the Apple card
The 2% cash back on most purchases matches many of the highest lump sum cash back cards on the market. But it comes with a big asterisk, because you must use Apple Pay to get high rates. The physical card only earns 1% on purchases, and it’s just not competitive when the industry standard is at least 1.5%. (Also, you don’t automatically get the physical credit card; you must apply for it separately once your application is approved.)
Here are some reasons why the map may not make sense to you:
1. You are an Android user
To use Apple Pay, you must have an iPhone model that can support it (usually iPhone 6 or later). If you are committed to another mobile wallet, such as Samsung Pay or Google Pay, consider the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer. It pays 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay – and you can add it to any digital wallet you want.
2. You want travel rewards
Dreaming of a big sign-up bonus that can earn you a free flight? The Apple Card does not offer this. A travel rewards card can, however. Annual fee of $ 0 Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, for example, earns 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases, not to mention a signup bonus. If you are willing to pay the $ 95 annual membership fee, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earn 2 points per dollar on travel (you will earn a total of 5X points on Lyft journeys through March 2022) and restaurant purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on all other expenses. There is also a great sign up bonus. Points are worth more when redeemed for travel through the Chase portal, and you can also transfer your points to several airline and hotel rewards programs.
3. You mainly buy from stores that do not accept Apple Pay
Some large retailers, including Walmart, do not accept Apple Pay. And while Costco does, you can only use Visa cards there; the Apple Card works on the Mastercard payment network. That’s not to say anything about the much smaller merchants where you may run into issues: food trucks, mom and pop stores, bodegas and the like may simply not be equipped to handle Apple Pay.
4. You spend a lot in specific daily categories
You can buy a new MacBook Pro once every few years, but if your day-to-day spending is mostly focused on a specific area, other cash back cards may make more sense. Maybe you have a large family and you spend most of your groceries and gasoline expenses. the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card earn 6% cash back in US supermarkets, on spending up to $ 6,000 per year (then 1%); 6% cash back on select US streaming subscriptions; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and public transportation (including taxis, ridesharing, parking lots, tolls, trains, and buses); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Conditions apply (see rates and fees). Or maybe you go to town regularly? the Capital One SavourOne Cash Rewards credit card earns 3% cash back on restaurants, groceries and entertainment, including streaming services, and 1% everywhere else.
5. You want to add an authorized user or finance a large purchase outside the Apple brand
To consult the rates and costs of the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card, see this page.