Apple Card Review: A Detailed Look

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Sep 4, 2020

The Apple Card is a cash-back credit card from Apple that has no fees and a generous rewards structure for Apple devotees.

If you’re approved, Apple gives you a digital version of the card you can use within hours rather than having to wait days or weeks for the physical card to arrive.

In this review, we are going to take a detailed look at the Apple Card to help you decide if it is right for you.

Rewards Structure

Like its other products, Apple has invested a lot of effort into marketing the Apple card as something innovative. However, it uses the same type of rewards structure you’ll find with other cards but with one small, beneficial variation.

3% on Apple Purchases and 2% on Apple Pay Purchases

Like most rewards credit cards, Apple will give you extra bonuses for Apple-related purchases.

The 3% rewards rate kicks in whenever you make purchases at an Apple store, Apple.com, App Store, or iTunes.

The card’s website points out that the 3% rate also applies to “services like your Apple Music subscription and iCloud storage plan.”

You’ll also earn 3% back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases.

To give you an idea of how this works, we’ll use an Apple Music subscription as an example.

Let’s say you’re a family so you pay for the Family option at $14.99 a month. If you link your Apple Card to your Apple Music payment, then every time Apple charges you $14.99, you’ll earn around $0.45 in cash. Over the course of 12 months, those rewards add up to $5.40.

Now, when you use your card through Apple Pay, you’ll earn 2% cash-back on your purchases. This is a great benefit for those who try to use Apple Pay as often as possible but, according to a 2018 report from Pymnts.com, very few people use Apple Pay in stores that accept it.

“Since October 2015, Apple Pay was used for between 1.8% and 3.0% of transactions from smartphone users when visiting a store that accepts Apple Pay,” the site noted.

The site’s data indicates that more people are adopting the payment method but your normal spending habits may not take full advantage of the 2% Apple Pay rewards rate.

So, if you decide to get this card, try and be more conscious of retailers who accept Apple Pay and use it whenever you can.

All other purchases that aren’t Apple or Apple Pay purchases will earn 1% rewards.

What makes this card different from most of the rewards cards is that Apple will deposit your rewards the day you earn them, whereas the majority of rewards cards deposit what you’ve earned at the end of each month.

Assuming you spend $500 in the 3% category, $500 in the 2% category, and $29,000 on everything else, this card can earn you $315 per year.

Unique Features

The main feature that makes this card unique is that it offers a full-service app with metrics about your spending and rewards.

Apple Card App

Some of these features include:

  • A tool to see how much it would cost you in interest to pay back a balance over time choosing monthly, every-two-weeks or weekly payments
  • Generate reports for weekly and monthly spending habits
  • Running summaries of how much you’ve spent on specific categories like shopping and entertainment
  • Running a total of how much you’ve spent for the day and month

Also, Apple gives you a transaction summary of your rewards so that you can see how much cash you earned for every purchase you made.

Furthermore, the app offers individual pages for each transaction, a page that includes a pinned map location of where the transaction took place, the date on and city in which it was made, the reward amount it earned.

In this sense, the Apple Card exceeds the user-friendliness of other cards in that it combines the features of a budgeting app like Mint with the spending power of a credit card. Typically, rewards credit cards don’t feature apps as robust as what you get with this card.

We think that the Apple Card is an innovative option for people who like to access interesting and valuable metrics.

As for the physical credit card you get, innovation abounds. The card is made out of titanium and has no card number, CCV security number, or any other information on it. Apple claims the card is “more secure than any other credit card.”

Rates and Fees

The Apple Card’s purchase interest rate is between 10.99% and 21.99%.

The card does not charge you any of the following fees:

  • Annual fee
  • Cash-advance fee
  • Foreign transaction fee
  • Returned payment fee
  • Penalty APR

There is no mention of a late fee or a balance transfer fee. The fine print indicates that late or missed payments “will result in additional interest accumulating toward your balance.”

What this means is that the “fee” you’re paying isn’t a set dollar amount like you’d be charged with other cards but, rather, you’ll just end up paying more interest on your balance.

How the Apple Card Compares to Cash Rewards Credit Cards

When it comes to rewards, we think that the average Apple customer can earn anywhere from $250 to $300 a year based on average household spending numbers. This yearly total includes bonuses you get from Apple purchases.

Now, for a card like the Citi Double Cash, you can earn around $500 per year in cash back. We mentioned this card in particular because its lowest APR is reasonable at 13.99% and its rewards are more lucrative than the Apple Card.

The Discover It card is another option for a cash rewards card. What makes this card different than the Apple Card and the Citi Double Cash is that the Discover It offers a sign-up bonus in which they double the cash rewards you earn your first year.

The card has a 1.5x rewards rate, which means you can earn around $375 a year in cash. The first year, Discover will double that, which means in the first 12 months of using your card you could rack up $750 in rewards.

Pros and Cons

The card’s strengths lie in the fact that you get a 3% bonus for making Apple purchases and that it integrates all the features of a budgeting app into the app, including how much interest you’d pay if you carried a balance for a certain amount of time.

We also think the card’s lack of fees is a huge plus if you have a habit of making late payments. Most cards have late fees between $35 and $39, so even avoiding three late fees could save you more than $100 a year in fees.

The downside to the card is that it did not have an upfront bonus. Also, the 2% rewards you get on Apple Pay purchases sounds great but the data indicates that not many people use Apple Pay for purchases at retail locations.

Also, it’s a drawback that you only get 1% rewards when you use the physical Apple Card to pay for something.

The Bottom Line

This card is best for someone who spends more than average on Apple purchases.

For example, if you run a small business and you make frequent Apple computer and phone purchases, this card may have a special appeal to you because of the 3% rewards rate.

If you don’t spend a considerable amount of money each year at Apple, we suggest looking into other rewards cards that have reasonable interest rates and provide more cash back per year.

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