Apple Card review
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The Apple Card is one of the most unique cash back credit cards on the market today, but it’s also geared specifically toward consumers who already own Apple devices. This rewards card works in conjunction with iPhones or your Apple Watch, as well as with Apple Pay, to streamline purchases and help users earn up to 3 percent cash back on everything they buy.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Apple Card comes with an array of unique features geared to Apple users, and consumers get to earn tiered rewards on everything they buy—including 3 percent back on Apple products like phones, computers and accessories. However, this card isn’t for everyone, and it has several limitations you won’t find with other rewards cards.
- Top rewards rates have stipulations: You’ll only earn the top 3 percent back rate when you shop with Apple and use Apple Pay at select merchants, and earning 2 percent back hinges on paying with Apple Pay.
- Must own Apple products: This card is designed for Apple users and not really useful for people who own other types of devices.
- Doesn’t allow balance transfers: Goldman Sachs, the issuer of this card, has reportedly made it difficult to transfer balances from this card to another. The Apple Card does not allow transferred balances from other cards, either.
- You have to request a physical card: The Apple Card is meant to work within Apple Pay, so it doesn’t automatically come with a titanium card unless you request one.
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Earn 3 percent back when you shop with Apple and select retailers, 2 percent back on other spending when paying with Apple Pay and 1 percent back on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: None
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 10.99 percent to 21.99 percent variable APR
While the Apple Card doesn’t always offer a traditional sign-up bonus (it does occasionally offer limited-time bonuses), cardholders can earn some pretty generous rewards on their spending from day one. This is partly because this card offers up to 3 percent back on select purchases, but also because your rewards accrue daily as purchases are made.
How you earn
You’ll earn 3 percent back when you shop with Apple, 2 percent back on other spending when paying with an Apple Pay and 1 percent back on all other purchases. While the 3 percent cash back rate is very generous, you have to ask yourself how much you spend with Apple within a year. Maybe you frequently upgrade your phone or invest in a new Macbook every few years, but unless you’re a heavy Apple shopper this bonus category may not lead to a ton in rewards.
Also note that this card offers 3 percent back with specific merchants that can change over time. Current retailers that earn 3 percent back include Duane Reed, Mobil, Panera Bread, Uber, Walgreens, Exxon, Nike, T-Mobile and Uber Eats. However, you must pay with Apple Pay at these retailers to earn the bonus rate.
The 2 percent cash back rate is also generous, but keep in mind that, you’ll need to pay with your Apple Card and use Apple Pay on a device like your iPhone or Apple Watch. Though support for the mobile wallet has grown considerably in recent years, not all merchants accept Apple Pay. If Apple Pay isn’t an option, you’ll only earn 1 percent back on non-Apple purchases made with your physical card.
Meanwhile, earning 1 percent back on general purchases is pretty standard among cash back credit cards.
How to redeem
The Apple Card lets you add to your cash back rewards balance daily, which is a major plus. However, the ways you can use your Apple Card cash back is rather limited. You can turn your rewards into Apple Cash—a prepaid card in Apple Wallet—and send money to friends or make purchases via Apple Pay using those funds, or, if you don’t have an Apple Cash account, you can redeem your rewards as a statement credit to your account.
How much are the rewards worth?
Since the Apple Card offers cash back instead of rewards points, the cash back you earn is worth the exact dollar value you would expect. For example, earning 3 percent back on a $100 purchase would leave you with $3 in rewards, and the same purchase at the 1 percent back rate would leave you with $1 in rewards.
Other cardholder perks
The Apple Card does have a handful of benefits users might grow to love, but its perks aren’t the same ones you will find with other cash back credit cards. For example, the Apple Card doesn’t come with any travel insurance protections, nor does it come with purchase protections like purchase security or extended warranties. Instead, you’ll enjoy a unique and useful mobile experience, a few consumer-friendly payment and expense tracking features and more, including:
Mobile expense tracking
Since your Apple card is meant to work alongside Apple Pay and your iPhone, this card makes it easy to monitor your spending on a daily basis or over the course of many months. You can use the app to view receipts for all your purchases, or to get a visual of your spending by color and by category. You can even look at a spending summary by the week, the month or the year.
Smart payment suggestions
Apple not only lets you set up payment alerts on your phone, but also makes smart payment suggestions that can help you pay less in interest over time.
Features for families
Apple Card lets you co-own an account with another person. You can also set up an Apple Card Family account that lets you keep track of spending and rewards of all cardholders and authorized users to your Apple Card in one place. Apple Card Family users who are ages 18 and older can even begin building credit through their participation.
End-of-month due dates
Finally, this card keeps things simple by setting end-of-month payment due dates. You’ll never have to wonder when your payment is due as a result.
Rates and Fees
The Apple Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, nor does it charge foreign transaction fees. Cardholders won’t even pay late fees on their card, which is really a stand-out feature.
If you carry a balance, you’ll pay a variable APR of 10.99 percent to 21.99 percent.
How the Apple Card compares to other cash back cards
Before you sign up for the Apple Card, you should compare it to a few other cash back credit cards with different features and rewards. The chart below compares the Apple Card to the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and the Chase Freedom Flex℠, two other no annual fee cash back cards worth considering.
Best cards to pair with this card
Since the Apple Card only gives the 2 percent back rate on everyday purchases made with the card through Apple Pay and your Apple device, you may want to pick up another rewards card to use for in-person spending where Apple Pay isn’t available. That way, you can earn more than 1 percent back in these circumstances, which is what the Apple Card offers for purchases made with the physical card.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card could be a good choice, since it offers a flat 2 percent cash rewards back on purchases with no annual fee.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Apple Card worth it?
If you use Apple devices and spend a lot on Apple products already, the Apple Card may be well worth signing up for. This is especially true if you spend a lot in other categories the Apple Card offers 3 percent back in, such as T-Mobile for your phone bill each month or Uber Eats. If you make most of your purchases with Apple Pay and your phone already, then you’re already primed to earn 2 percent back on most of your non-Apple spending as well.
Still, there are plenty of other rewards cards that offer a lot more flexibility, meaning you’ll earn the promised rewards rate no matter whether you pay with a physical card or through an app. With that in mind, you should compare the top card options before you decide.