Apple and Goldman Sachs — the duo behind the innovative, no-hidden-fees Apple Card — launched the Path to Apple Card program in June 2020. The program is designed to help those who previously had their application denied receive a second chance at approval. It uses information gathered from the denied application and offers personalized tasks to improve potential cardholders’ credit, along with a once-a-month progress check. Once potential cardholders complete the goals outlined in the program, they’ll be invited to reapply for the Apple Card.

“I’m impressed with how proactive Apple Card has been in terms of financial literacy, financial wellness and cultivating long-term relationships with its customers,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate. “This is another example, along with things like not charging any fees, [of] actively encouraging cardholders to pay as little interest.”

How Path to Apple Card works

If you’re denied for the Apple Card, you may be invited to enroll in the Path to Apple program. According to Apple, your chances of receiving a notification to opt into the program depends on whether Goldman Sachs has identified you as being able to “meet the requirements for approval” after program completion.

Through this program, which can last up to four months, Apple and Goldman Sachs will work with applicants to understand their credit denial and improve their future chances for Apple Card approval. A few personalized tasks that may be assigned include paying off past-due balances, paying off credit card debt and other loan debt and establishing a history of on-time bill payments.

However, there are certain events that will cause participants’ enrollment in the Path to Apple program to end. Some of these events include bankruptcy, foreclosure or a new charge-off.

If the program is successfully completed, participants will have a 14-day window to reapply for the Apple Card, should they choose. Note that approval for the Apple Card is not guaranteed. For example, approval odds may be affected if an applicant has lost income or has increased financial obligations.

Why use Path to Apple Card?

In most cases, the primary method for determining which factors led to your credit denial is through an adverse action notice, which really only details the credit reporting agency that supplied your report.

Through the Path to Apple Card program, the veil of credit denial is lifted by offering educational information and action items to increase your chances of approval the second time around. Plus, if you complete the program’s steps, you should see an overall improvement to your credit score and profile, which will benefit you outside of applying for an Apple Card.

Expert’s take on Path to Apple Card

Rossman says that Apple and Goldman Sachs are intentionally focusing on credit-builders and re-builders with the Path to Apple program. According to Apple, FICO scores above 660 are more favorable for approval.

“[The] Apple Card is […] available to a broader range of credit scores than most credit cards,” Rossman says. “[…] The rewards are okay, but where this card really shines is in areas like financial wellness and customer service.”

Rossman views the introduction of tools and programs like Path to Apple Card as a jumping-off point for future products and services from Apple and Goldman Sachs.

“I think Apple and its partner Goldman Sachs view Apple Card as the start of something more,” Rossman says. “That could mean more financial services (like Goldman’s Marcus savings and personal loan products), more loyalty to Apple (which could extend to other services and hardware) and possibly even a future where more transactions take place within the Apple ecosystem (buying things with Apple Card, using the rewards for peer-to-peer payments, etc.).”

The bottom line

If you’ve previously applied for the Apple Card and were denied, you may be invited to enroll in the Path to Apple Card program. This program can help you to improve your financial health so you can reapply for the card and get approved.

If you don’t receive an invitation to enroll in this program, your credit profile may need more assistance than the program can provide. Carefully review your credit profile, dispute any errors and take consistent action to repair your credit before reapplying for the Apple Card or any other rewards credit card.