“Thousands of Apple employees are using the Apple Card every day in a beta test and we will begin to roll out the Apple Card in August,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.
The Apple card can be used by tapping an iPhone at a payment terminal, or by using a physical card made out of titanium that Apple will also ship.
Signing Up for Apple Card:
According to Apple, signing up for Apple Card will be as easy as opening up the Wallet app, tapping on the Apple Card interface, and walking through the activation steps.
Once you’ve signed up for Apple Card, it will be available for use directly for digital purchases, suggesting Apple will have some kind of pre-qualified application process in place. Apple says availability is subject to credit approval, so you need to qualify for Apple Card just like you do with any other credit card. For traditional purchases, you will need to wait until Apple ships you the physical Apple Card.
Using Apple Card with Apple Pay:
Apple Card is planned to work with any other credit or debit card stored in the Wallet app for use with Apple Pay. You can set it as the default card and use it for in store purchases on iPhone and online purchases on Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Using Apple Card for Non-Apple Pay Purchases
If you want to pay for purchases that can’t be made with Apple Pay, you can use the physical version of the Apple Card that Apple sends once you sign up.
According to Goldman Sachs, Apple is associating with MasterCard, so the physical Apple Card can be used wherever MasterCard is accepted. MasterCard is global around the world, so the Apple Card should be accepted wherever MasterCard is available.
The Titanium Apple Card
With Apple Card you can make digital Apple Pay payments, but Apple is also providing a physical card. Since this is a credit card designed by Apple, it is, of course, unique among credit cards.
It’s made entirely from titanium, which is laser etched with your name. The front of the card does not have a card number or an expiration date listed, and on the back, there’s no CVV and no signature. If someone finds or steals your card, there’s going to be no real way for them to use it, at least for online purchases.
There’s still a traditional magstripe on the back, along with a built-in chip. While the card number and CVV are not on the card itself, you can find them in the Wallet app if you need them.
When you actually get your physical Apple Card, you’ll be able to tap it to the iPhone to activate it, so you won’t need to place a phone call for activation like you have to do with existing credit cards. The physical Apple Card will not support contactless payments – you need to use your iPhone for Apple Pay payments. There is no cost for the card and there is no fee associated with replacing it if you lose it.
As with any other credit card, there is a credit limit for Apple Card that will vary from person to person. A better credit score means a higher credit limit, and credit limit also increases over time.
You’ll be able to pay your Apple Card balance using a linked bank account or Apple Cash in the Wallet app.
Apple says there are no annual fees, international fees, fees for making a late payment or fees for exceeding your credit limit. There are no foreign transaction fees, but the exchange rate for foreign transactions is determined by MasterCard.
Apple says Apple Card will offer an APR between 13.24% and 24.24 % based on your credit score. On the low end, that’s lower than the national average APR of 17.67 %, so the card will be a good deal for those with high credit scores.
With lower credit scores, it will be in the range of offerings from other credit card companies. A wide APR range like this means Apple will be making this card available to most people, even those with less than stellar credit scores. There are tools built into the Wallet app to encourage you to pay off your balance quicker to avoid interest fees.
Apple offers cash back rewards system for the Apple Card, providing daily cash up to 3 %. Depending on your particular spending habits, there may be better options available (Apple Card Rewards vs others).
With Apple Card, you get 1% cash back for all of your purchases, which is just okay compared to many other credit cards available. On purchases made with Apple Pay, you get 2 % cash back, a good motivator to use Apple Pay where available.
For purchases made from the Apple Store (physical or online) you’ll get 3% percent back. This also includes purchases made from the App Store, iTunes Store, and Apple services.
One of the perks of Apple Card’s rewards system is “Daily Cash,” with Apple paying out your cash back bonuses on a daily basis rather than making you wait weeks for them to show up on a statement.
If you’ve signed up for Apple Cash (the feature that adds an Apple Pay Cash debit card to your Wallet for sending and receiving money from friends) you will get your Daily Cash pay-outs on your Apple Cash card.
Apple Cash is required for Daily Cash, but if you don’t have Apple Cash set up, you’ll still get your rewards, just on a monthly basis as a credit on your statement balance.
How Daily Cash Can Be Used
Your Daily Cash balance, which is transferred to your Apple Cash card (essentially an Apple debit card) can be used for Apple Pay purchases, sent to friends or family using the Apple Cash feature in Messages, or transferred over to your bank account.
Apple Cash can be transferred to your bank account at no cost, a process that takes between one and three days. There’s also an Instant Transfer feature that will cost one percent of the total money being sent. Transfers can be initiated in the Wallet app after linking a bank account to Apple Cash.
Spend Tracking and Budgeting
All transactions made with the Apple Card are listed clearly in the Wallet app with color-coded categories like Food and Drinks, Shopping and Entertainment, and more. Apple Card will also offer weekly and monthly spending summaries, again using the same color coding so you can see what you’re spending at a glance.
As is the case with many cards added to Apple Pay, when you make a purchase with Apple Card, you’ll get an instant notification right on your phone. This will let you know immediately if there’s a charge that you don’t recognize, and there are built-in tools for flagging a fraudulent purchase.
Clear Transaction Labelling
Apple is using machine learning and Apple Maps to make sure that all of your Apple Card transactions are clearly labelled. If you’ve opened up a credit card statement and have seen a confusing arrangement of truncated letters and numbers instead of a full merchant name, that’s the problem Apple is solving.
All transactions are listed clearly with merchant name and exact location so you can better keep track of what was purchased and where it was purchased.
Apple Card will show you multiple payment options and it will calculate the amount of interest that you’ll be paying on different payment amounts in real time. Apple says Apple Card will encourage customers to pay a bit more every month to cut down on interest, and it will offer the flexibility to schedule payments in multiple ways, weekly, biweekly, and monthly rather than just monthly.