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When the new Apple Card debuted in 2019, there was an expectation within the market that it could be a genuine game-changer. After all, Apple built a reputation for turning industries on their heads with products like the Mac and iPhone.
The reality hasn't quite lived up to the expectations, although there are certainly Apple Card features that other credit card companies are likely to adopt in the coming years.
The physical Apple Card is unique, in that it has no numbers and is made of a titanium alloy. It features just your name on the front and a magnetic strip on the back. This protects against the practice of "skimming" credit card numbers, as well as the danger of someone gaining access to your information if you lose the card.
For iPhone users, there is an Apple Card app which syncs with your card to provide several features including purchasing by Apple Pay®, color-codes your transactions and tracks the location of your purchase, keeps track of your cash back rewards and even has a "payoff calculator" which helps users estimate how much interest their purchases will accrue based on their payments and the balance they're carrying over month-to-month.
Apple Card avoids fees whenever possible and the interest rate is low for those with excellent credit.
Although the Apple Card cashback rewards aren't outstanding, the program is easy to understand and use. If you are an Apple fan, you'll likely find at least a few ways to benefit from this card.
Free and easy is always a good place to start. Apple Card has no annual fee and doesn't charge a fee for foreign transactions, late payments or returned payments.
While Apple Card does not offer an introductory rate, the regular rate (10.99% - 21.99% Variable APR) can be attractive for those with excellent credit.
The security that comes with a numberless titanium card is a terrific plus. When paying by Apple Pay®, all purchases require either touch ID or facial ID. And if you have to use the physical card, there are no numbers for fraudsters to potentially "skim".
The Apple Card app for your iPhone provides some nifty features, including purchase tracking (synched to Apple Maps) and a calculator that helps you figure out how much in interest you will owe based on your payments and carryover balance.
Applying for the Apple Card is easy using the Wallet app on your iPhone. If approved, you can begin using your Apple Card immediately, even before your physical card arrives in the mail. In fact, you may choose to never receive a physical card and instead, use the card primarily for Apple Pay® and online shopping.
The Apple Card cash back program is simple and straightforward and offers an immediate payoff.
While there is no signup bonus offer, you can start earning cash back as soon as you are approved, even before your physical card arrives.
If you are an Apple devotee, it won't take long to see how you can maximize the Apple Card cash back rewards. You earn 3% cash back on all your Apple purchases. This includes purchases made at Apple stores or through the website, app store purchases and Apple services.
You also earn 3% when using your Apple Pay® for purchases at Walgreens, Duane Reade, Uber, Uber Eats and in-store purchases on Nike products and at T-Mobile.
You earn 2% cash back on all other purchases when you use Apple Pay® and 1% cash back on all other purchases, including from websites and stores that don't yet have Apple Pay®.
The best part? No matter what your eligible spending is, your cash back is credited to your account daily.
The Apple Card requires excellent credit for approval. If you have limited credit history or are working on building your credit, you might not get approved for this card.
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Both the Apple Card and Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser) have a $0 annual fee and both offer a fairly straightforward cash back rewards program. But that is where the similarities end.
You'll earn a little more cash back with the Citi card if you aren't an Apple Pay® user, because this card essentially offers a straight 2% cash back on all purchases. You earn 1% when you make the purchase and another 1% when you make your statement payment.
If you are thinking of transferring a balance from an existing card, Apple Card has no introductory APR offer, while Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer offers an introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then, 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)).
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
Both cards have a $0 annual fee and offer a tiered cash back rewards system but there are distinct differences.
The Apple Card gears its rewards program toward iPhone users and those who are fans of Apple products. It also has no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn.
With Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card, you can select a "Category of Choice" to earn 3% cash back. The list of categories includes online shopping which, given the current state of retail in America, could prove to be extremely beneficial. Other categories include gas, dining, home improvement, travel and drug stores. In addition, you can earn 2% on grocery store and wholesale club purchases and 1% on all other purchases. The drawback with Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is a limit of $2,500 per quarter in rewards earned in the 2% and 3% categories.
Plus, Bank of America Cash Rewards offers a welcome bonus of $200 cash when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days after you are approved. Apple Card has no bonus offer for new cardholders.
(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)
Both cards have a $0 annual fee and both offer a fairly straightforward cashback rewards program. However, Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card offers a straight 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
IPhone users get a bonus here, also. You can bump your cash back up to 1.8% for the first 12 months you have the card, when you make purchases using Google Pay™ or Apple Pay® on your iPhone. So, if you're a frequent Apply Pay® user, you'll earn more with the Apple Card.
The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card offers new cardholders a $150 sign up bonus when you spend $500 in the first 90 days after you are approved. Apple Card has no sign up bonus.
The Wells Fargo card requires at least a "good" credit score for approval while the Apple Card requires good to excellent credit
Apple Card charges no fees, including no foreign transaction fees. The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card charges 3% on foreign transactions, which can add up if you do a lot of traveling for business or pleasure outside of the U.S.
For certain groups of people, the Apple Card can be an excellent addition to your wallet. If you have excellent credit, you could start with an interest rate lower than the rate you'd get with other cards, which might be attractive. But if your credit is merely good, you might find your interest rate in the high teens or even 20%. Not bad but not as low as other cards offer.
Further, if you plan to carry a balance from month to month, you'll be better off with a low-interest credit card rather than one that focuses on rewards.
If you love Apple products, you can take full advantage of the cash back program and you can make full use of the Apple Card app for your iPhone. The interest calculator is a particularly strong tool that you won't find with many other rewards credit cards, and it might come in handy if you need help with financial planning and managing debt.
But if you are an Android user and don't do business with Apple, you'll be looking at just 1% cash back on your purchases, which is below the industry rate for most purchases with other cards.