Update – 20th August 2019: Apple Card is now available to qualified customers in the US with iPhone 6 and later. To apply, customers can update to iOS 12.4 on iPhone, open Wallet and tap +. The Apple Card 3 percent Daily Cash is now extended to new merchants – Uber and Uber Eats.
Update – 23rd August 2019: The article has been updated to include details of how Apple wants users to store and clean the card.
At its March event, Apple announced its paid subscription service, Apple Card. This is Apple’s new digital credit card which can be used for purchases and comes with simpler applications, no fees, lower interest rates, and daily rewards. Now, Apple Card is available as a “preview rollout” since yesterday and will be broadly available to all iPhone owners in the US later this month.
The Apple Card is created in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard. It is available as two options. First, as a digital card which users will be able to access by signing up on their iPhone in the Apple Wallet app. Second, as a physical titanium card with no credit card number, CVV, expiration date, or signature. All of the authorization information is stored directly in the Apple Wallet app. The card also provides a virtual number for online merchants that don’t take Apple Pay. Users can deactivate it entirely from the Wallet app with a single tap.
The preview version is available to a random group of users who have signed up to be notified about the Apple Card. The sign up will require iOS 12.4, address, birthday, income level, and last four digits of their Social Security number. This information is sent to Goldman Sachs, which will approve or decline an application in real-time. Users would also need to enable two-factor authentication. They are also not allowed to modify their Apple device or jailbreak it.
The card makes use of machine learning and Apple Maps to label stores and to categorize them based on color. Users can easily track purchases in the Wallet app across categories like “food and drink” or “shopping.” It also has a rewards program, “Daily Cash,” which adds 2 percent of the daily purchase amount in cash to your Apple Cash account, also within the Wallet app. Though, purchases made through the physical card will get just 1 percent cashback.
Apple has although faced criticism for its variable APR (Annual Percentage Rate) which starts at 12.99 percent and goes up to 24.24 percent. John Gruber from Daring Fireball wrote, “Variable APRs range from 13.24% to 24.24% based on creditworthiness. Rates as of March 2019.” What a crock of shit this “low-interest rates” line is. Those interest rates are usury, right in line with the rest of the credit card industry. 24% interest ought to be criminal, and 13% is not “low”.”
Apple is quite cautious of the card’s privacy features and will store the spending, tracking and other information directly on the device. Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay said, “Apple doesn’t know what you bought, where you bought it, and how much you paid for it. Goldman Sachs will never sell your data to third parties for marketing and advertising.”
Store your Apple Card lot in your wallet without touching another credit card, warns Apple
Although Apple’s new titanium Apple Card boasts of a multitude of features, it requires detailed handling, care, and cleaning which is quite different from how people use and store their normal credit cards.
Apple says you should clean your Apple Card with a microfiber cloth and avoid contact with leather and denim. You should also be placing your card in a slot in your wallet or billfold without touching another credit card. It should not be placed in a pocket or bag that contains loose change, keys, or other potentially abrasive objects. Apple warns that storing the card with other credit cards can scratch and damage it.
Apple has previously been criticized for making products that are aesthetically pleasing but easily damaged in everyday use. People on Twitter agree.
— Jason Hirschhorn (@JasonHirschhorn) August 22, 2019
Do not look directly at Apple Card. Do not speak to Apple Card. Do not denigrate Apple Card in Its Holy Presence. When not in use, Apple Card should be returned to a uniformly lit white cube containing only a British man softly repeating al-lu-min-ee-um. https://t.co/GA1RDb3SvV
— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) August 22, 2019
Apple Card also signifies a transition from devices to services. In light of the recent news of Apple’s iPhone sales dwindling, the company is now shifting its focus to other means of revenue growth to keep its consumers occupied in the world of Apple. Apart from Apple card, these include smart home devices, streaming service, and Apple Arcade.
You can sign up to be notified of the release of the card on Apple.com