Review: Is the new Apple Card right for you?

Woman grins in the sunshine as she purchases something new on her phone

Whether it’s good for your monthly budget or not, it’s easier than ever before to buy things. Near-field communication (NFC) technology makes it easy to pay with a card or phone that is placed near the merchant’s payment terminal. At the same time, credit card issuers continually try to make their products more enticing so that more consumers will be willing to carry those cards around in their wallets. Since Apple® has been at the forefront of the payment tech revolution, it should be no surprise that they recently announced the planned launch of a new Apple Card.

What is the Apple Card?

The Apple co-branded credit card will be issued by Goldman Sachs and is scheduled to launch sometime this summer. This will be the first credit card offered by Goldman Sachs.

The card stands out for its stance on fees, calling itself a truly “no fee” card. It has no annual, cash‑advance, over-the-limit, or late fees.

The Apple Card also rewards users with Daily Cash in the following amounts:

  • 3 percent on Apple Purchases
  • 2 percent when using Apple Pay®
  • 1 percent on all other purchases

For each purchase, the Daily Cash amount is credited to your account the same day.

How does the Apple Card compare to other credit cards?

If you’re looking for cash back, you have many choices, including several that offer 2 percent cash back on all purchases. Some cards even pay 3 percent cash back for a promotional period (see below).

For Apple purchases, 3 percent is good. But remember that Apple products are sold in a variety of places other than the Apple store. You may be able to earn even more cash back, depending on where you shop and what other credit cards you hold. The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card from Chase, for example, pays 5 percent back on purchases made at office supply stores. You would need to be a business owner to qualify for that card (freelancers can qualify).

It’s a good idea to closely review the offer, terms and conditions for each card you’re considering before you make your choice.

Who might be a good fit for the new Apple Card

These are the kinds of people I think might be a great fit for the Apple Card:

  • Apple fans who love getting the latest Apple products. You already know you’re getting this card, so go ahead and get it.
  • Someone who struggles to pay their bills on time. This is a skill you should work on but in the meantime, at least with this card, it won’t cost you extra in the form of late fees (it may cost you in interest charges, though)
  • Consumers who love the way Apple connects across devices. The way this card works with iPhones and Siri looks pretty neat.
  • People who spend a lot of money directly with Apple. This card could give you a convenient way to earn 3 percent back on those purchases.
  • People who often shop merchants who take Apple Pay. You can earn 2 percent daily cash on those purchases.

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Will the Apple Card live up to its hype?

We usually see a long line of folks anxious to buy Apple’s newest product. So from that perspective, we are likely to hear from lots of people excited about the new Apple Card when it comes out. Here are a few of the features Apple promises.

The credit card will seamlessly integrate with Apple’s mobile wallet, and cash back will be available immediately (instead of accruing on your next statement or when you make a payment).

The Apple Card will show you the location of each transaction, potentially helping you spot fraudulent use.

Apple will also categorize your spending, which is a nice feature seen on some business credit cards but not so common on consumer cards.

When it comes time to pay your bill, Apple will show you more than your current balance and the minimum due. You’ll also see an estimate of the interest you’ll pay, based on any payment amount you choose. This direct communication about the cost of your credit card balance could be a handy motivator that helps you manage the urge to let a balance ride.

All Apple Card payment due dates will be the last day of the month, instead of a random day based on when you applied. You can set up weekly or biweekly payments if you want to. You’ll receive a reminder when your payment due date is approaching.

Alternatives to the Apple Card

If you’re looking for a cash back card, several offer 2 percent cash back on all purchases, and some include attractive welcome offers for eligible new cardholders. Here are three that I would consider:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® – This credit card pays 3 percent cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases in the first year. After that, you’ll earn 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases.
  • Discover it® Miles – This card pays 1.5 miles on all purchases. Discover will match all of the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, for a net 3 miles per dollar. You can redeem your miles against travel purchases, on Amazon, or for cash back.
  • Citi® Double Cash card – This card pays 1 percent back on all purchases, and another 1 percent back as you pay, for a net 2 percent cash back. This offer does not expire.

From my perspective, the Apple Card’s limitations might outweigh its benefits. I don’t have the opportunity to use Apple Pay often enough, so a 2 percent (or better) cash back card is likely to suit me better. But for Apple lovers, and especially those folks who already wave their phones for most purchases, this could be a valuable card with useful features.

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Dan Miller runs Points With A Crew – a travel site focusing on helping families (especially larger families) travel for free/cheap. Since 2013, he has used miles and points to travel with his wife and 6 children to California, Yellowstone, Puerto Rico, Disney World, Sweden, Greece, Peru, and more.

Haven Life does not endorse the companies or offer the products, services and/or strategies discussed here. Opinions are the writer’s own.

Apple® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

Apple Pay® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

Ink Business Cash℠ is a service mark of JP Morgan Chase Bank NA

Freedom Unlimited® is a registered trademark of JP Morgan Chase Bank NA

Discover it® is a registered trademark of Discover Financial Services

Citi® is a registered trademark of Citigroup, Inc.

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC 042017 [OK1] and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas, 100139527.

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