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Apple card: Shiny package, but still & # 39; Just a credit card & # 39;

Apple cites the recently launched Apple card as another in a host of innovations, claiming it "rethinks all about the credit card." But that's a bit of an exaggeration.

While the Apple Card boasts some compelling attributes, perhaps the most innovative of them, is that it combines several tricky – but not unique – features into a single package.

"We have to keep in mind that this is simply a credit card," said Brian Riley, director of credit counseling services for Mercator Advisory Group, a payments and banking consulting group, via email. He notes that the Apple card will compete with some well-established issuers, including Chase and American Express, and says it will be "a case study in loyalty. Will the masses follow Apple?"

If you are tempted to take Apple The card step, you can separate the useful features from the hype here.

»MORE: Should You Get Apple Cards?

No, the Apple card doesn't "completely re-evaluate"

The Apple card doesn't break as much new as consolidating it.

Unlike many other cash-back credit cards, this is clearly designed for mobile-first users. In fact, the only way you can search the Apple card is through a qualified iPhone, which is unique (though also a potential roadblock).

"As with all Apple products, there's an elegance to it," Riley says.

But virtually all credit cards can be added to a mobile wallet and used in the same way.

The Apple card doesn't break as much new place as it consolidates. it.

The Apple Card stimulates the use of a mobile wallet and earns the following benefits:

When us edited with Apple Pay:

  • 3% back on purchases made directly with Apple, including Apple stores, in the App Store and for Apple services.
  • 3% back at select sellers and through selected apps. When the card was officially launched in August 2019, Apple noted that Uber and Uber Eats would be among the 3% category and indicated that others might come.
  • 2% back on all other purchases made through Apple Pay.

When used as a physical card:

  • 1% back on all purchases.

But many Apple Card competitors earn similar prices or higher without requiring to use a mobile wallet to get them.

And about the physical, "laser etched titanium" card, which you have to ask for separately? Apple has gone to great lengths to explain how to take care of it, but the best way to take care of it – and yourself – It's simply not to carry it around at all. The rewards rate just isn't competitive today.

»MORE: How 1.5% cash back became the industry's gold standard

When it comes to fees, Apple Card trumps their lack – but you can find any number of c ash back cards that similarly do not require an annual fee or any "over-the-limit" fee, which has been extinct for years. More interesting is the Apple card's lack of foreign transaction fees or late fees. It is more difficult (but not impossible) to find cash-back cards that do not charge a fee for overseas purchases, and although other cards already waive late fees, these products usually do not earn rewards.

So what's new about the Apple card?

The Apple Card reconsidered – that is, it chose to offer a registration bonus, a 0% introductory period in April, or the ability to add authorized users, all of which are common to competitors. .

But that's not all bad news. The Apple card brings some really fresh deals to the table:

  • See the credit limit and April before entering the card. If approved for the card, you can decide – based on the credit limit and April you are offered – whether you want to accept the deal. Apple says you will have up to 30 days to make the decision and that "your credit score will not be affected until after you accept it." You will be hard pressed to find another card that shows you this information before draws your credit.
  • Access 24/7 text message based customer support. 24/7 customer service is not new, but having a conversation with the issuer via text is novel, and ideal if you dislike phone calls and long hold times. (You can also call through the iPhone Wallet app.)
  • Use Apple Maps to clarify your purchases. You can tap individual charges you make with the card to find that merchant's location on the iPhone's Apple Maps app.

And what's just rare or interesting?

The Apple card also offers some features that, although not unheard of, are still nice to have and not a given:

  • Instant access to your card upon approval. Start shopping immediately, without having to wait days before receiving a physical card in the mail. Instant access to credit is unusual, but not new.
  • Ability to obtain (and use) real-time rewards. There is no minimum redemption amount and no waiting until the billing cycle is over to access your stash. These features are welcome, but available elsewhere.
  • A billing cycle that is always at the end of the calendar month. Apple calls this a payment plan "based on common sense" and it can certainly make it easier to keep track of when the bill is due. However, other issuers already allow you to set your own billing date.
  • Access to financial tools that help you distribute and categorize your spending. Useful, but accessible through many other credit card and third-party websites, including NerdWallet. (One drawback: Downloading Mint's transaction history or similar financial apps is not supported.)
  • Instant card replacement: If you suspect your Apple card may have been compromised, you can generate a new card number and invalidate the old one, all within the Wallet app. is nifty and can save time, but other cards offer free card replacement overnight and / or the ability to "freeze" or "lock" a misplaced card.

The Apple card claims to take security a step further and takes additional privacy measures so that App cannot tell where you shop, what you bought or how much you spent. (Apple notes, however, that Goldman Sachs has access to your data.)

Are interest rates "among the lowest in the industry"?

When the Apple card debuted in August 2019, Apple noted that it would have a variable APR of 12.99% to 23.99% based on credit rating.

The low end of that area is better than average – and better than what many other cash-back credit cards offer. But only those with excellent credit are likely to qualify for that rate.

Although the low end of the Apple card's APR series is better than average – and better than many other repaid credit cards offer – only those with excellent credit are likely to qualify for this price.

And you might be able to do even better with a credit union credit card.

It's worth noting that the Apple Card app has some great visual incentives to help you understand how much credit card interest you could potentially incur if you don't pay the bill in full each month. The "Choose Amount" dialog box goes from red to green, as it displays an estimate of the interest rate you pay, based on the payment amount you select.

There is also a longer than average period that lasts until the end of that month's billing cycle, instead of the typical 21-day window, which gives you a little extra time to pay the bill before you start accruing interest on your balance.

»MORE: NerdWallet's Best Low Interest Credit Card

& # 39; Created by Apple, not a bank & # 39 ;?

Apple obviously had a great hand in developing this product. But the card is still issued by Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. And it is Goldman Sachs who will evaluate your application, along with the credit score, credit report and revenue you claim on your application to determine if you will be approved for the card.

It is Goldman Sachs, not Apple, who will evaluate your application – including your credit score, credit report, and revenue you require – to determine if you will be approved.

That type of insurance is standard for most credit cards on the market. A handful of so-called "alternative credit cards" can evaluate credit worthiness beyond credit points and history – but the Apple card is not one of them.

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