The Apple Card is going to be a reality this month. By 1 September, Apple iPhone users will be rejoicing due to the existence of another Apple product/service. The preview roll-out will involve a random selection of iPhone users who signed up to be notified when the card was going to launch.
The sign up process required iOS 12.4 and needs some information: your address, birthday, income level and last four digits of your Social Security number. That information is sent to Goldman Sachs, who then approve or decline your application in real time. Apple says it takes less than a minute from an article by theverge.com, but make sure your TransUnion credit check infomation is unlocked, because Goldman Sachs needs that information too.
Not Premium Competition
Apple also stated that the Apple Card is not meant to compete with premium cards like the Chase Sapphire or American Express Platinum cards. The goal is to have a card that is easily accessible to iPhone users without the strict signup requirements of other cards.
Once approved, the new card will show up in your Apple Wallet right away, and be available for use. You can request a snazzy titanium card for free during setup, which will arrive in the post later. The card setup is quite interesting: the envelope it comes in has an NFC tag allowing the phone to tap on the tag to activate automatically – no phone call or sticker required.
There will be 3 credit card numbers associated with the Apple Card: one number assigned to your phone, the number assigned to your physical card and a virtual number to access in the app for online retailers that don't take Apple Pay. A new virtual number can be requested at any time. The card doesn't have an expiration date or security code or a number printed on it, but you can lock the card if it is misplaced or deactivate it entirely from your wallet app with just one tap.
The Apple Card Interface
In the Wallet app, the Apple Card interface looks extremely nice, providing detailed information about all your purchases, using machine learning to clean up merchant names and categorize your spending over time. Payment schedules can be set up in different ways, play with a circular slider that lets you see exactly how much interest you'll be charged, as well as tracking weekly and monthly spending.
Apple isn't charging the user for late fees, annual fees or international fees. Apple says, in fact, that it doesn't see any of your purchase data at all – the transaction data cleanup and categorization happens locally on the phone itself. Goldman Sachs can see the data, obviously, because they need to approve or decline purchases, but Apple stated they have a special privacy agreement with Goldman Sachs which restricts Apple Card purchase data from being used for anything other than operating the card itself: no advertising, no third parties or anything else.
The Reward Programme
The reward programme for the Apple Card is really simple: there's a 3% cashback on any Apple transaction from the Apple Store, the App Store or even iCloud storage. There will also be a 2% cashback on Apple Pay transactions and 1% on purchases made with the physical card or virtual card number. That money is available on your Apple Pay Cash account every day, and you can use it to pay off the balance, send it to friends or transfer it to a bank.
This programme seems a bit small compared to other cards with airline lounge access, concierge services, etc., but the simplicity of the cashback system should entice customers away from premium card holders who are tired of complicated points schemes.
Just like any other card, it is easy to sign up for the Apple Card and to use it, but very difficult to cancel. Cancelling requires messaging or calling Goldman Sachs.
Although the features and all the goodies to come with app are, in some ways, new, the Apple Card is still a credit card. It has a standard APR, which starts at 12.99% and goes up to 24.24%. Apple says its goal is to offer the lowest possible rates you can qualify for.
Apple customers have high expectations. Time will tell if the Apple Card meets, exceeds or fails those expectations.