Apple has entered the digital credit card game. The global tech giant announced Monday the details surrounding its new co-branded credit card.
While there are some cool and unique features, the earning structure for the new Apple credit card isn’t the best option to earn points, miles or even just cash back.
The card will be available in Summer 2019.
The new Apple credit card, which is a Mastercard, will be issued by Goldman Sachs. To no surprise, it will reward the most for Apple purchases but will also have a bonus for Apple Pay. The earning structure is below:
3% — Apple purchases (including the app store)
2% — All purchases made via Apple Pay
1% — Physical card purchases
By encouraging its users to use the card through Apple Pay, I imagine Apple is hoping that more merchants will add Apple Pay to their stores if consumers are motivated by additional cash back.
The main lure of this card has to do with what Apple calls Daily Cash. It is the idea that rewards shouldn’t have to wait until the end of a bill period, but instead the cardholders will get their balance daily through Apple Pay. If you get 1% cash back on a purchase, you will see that 1% in your daily cash that day.
The daily cash can be used for purchases through mobile apps, Apple Pay, transferred to the cardholders bank or even sent to friends via iMessage.
One of the main selling points of the card is also how secure it will be. Similar to Apple Wallet, the card number is secured on the iPhone and each purchase requires Face or Touch ID.
The unique security and privacy architecture created for Apple Card means Apple doesn’t know where a customer shopped, what they bought or how much they paid.
Apple.com | March 25, 2019
The physical card won’t have any numbers on it, but instead just a chip. That’s right, no card number, no CCV number, and no expiration date.
What’s unclear is how items will be purchased at stores that do not have a chip reader or Apple Pay. I imagine this goes back to the philosophy of Apple encouraging merchants to add Apple Pay for customers.
The card also won’t carry any fees – annual, international or late. Apple will not charge a penalty rate of a cardholder misses a payment.
No international fees on a no-annual fee card is certainly nice, but there are better options for this. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card which earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase and doesn’t charge international transaction fees.
I even would prefer the Chase Freedom which earns 5% quarterly on select categories and 1% on all other purchases. Similarly, with a Sapphire card, these can also turn into Ultimate Rewards.
All three of these cards will give you the Chase Trifecta which I believe is the most powerful way to earn points for free travel.
Another card that is better than the new Apple credit card is the Citi Double Cash Card earns a total of 2% on every purchase – 1% when you make the purchase and an additional 1% when you pay for those purchases.
As I mentioned at the top, I don’t see a whole lot of plus side to this card. It has cool features that Apple will no doubt use for brand recognition, but in terms of getting maximum return for points and miles, there’s no reason to get this card.
The daily cash feature is awesome – not sure there’s another card out there that allows cardholders to access cash back instantly. In fact, I hope having access to cash back (or points!) immediately is something that we see in more cards.
It’s also great that Apple has put a focus on securing data with the mobile and physical versions of the card.
But, with a plethora of better card options, the Apple credit card isn’t the best option for every day people wanting to maximize their purchases.