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The Apple Card* offers a crisp rewards plan, particularly for those who can use Apple Pay for most of their purchases. Issued in partnership with Goldman Sachs on the Mastercard network, the no-annual-fee card earns elevated rewards on Apple spending and other select vendors and all purchases made on the card via Apple Pay.
19.24% to 29.49% variable
- Innovative security features.
- Debt and spending management tools.
- No annual fees.
- Unique numberless titanium card.
- Promise of data privacy.
- Low 1% cash back rate on purchases made outside of Apple or Apple Pay.
- Requires Apple hardware and Apple Pay.
- No welcome bonus.
- Physical card must be requested
- Earn 3% back on eligible purchases from Apple including the Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store and iTunes
- Earn 2% back on purchases when using Apple Pay
- Earn 1% back on all other purchases
- No annual, late, foreign transaction, penalty or maintenance fees
Apple’s first foray into the credit card market created a product seeded with some appealing features. For starters, if you have an iPhone you can apply for the card in just a few minutes via the Wallet app, and if approved can use the card immediately anywhere that accepts mobile wallet payments.
You’ll earn a sweet 3% back on eligible purchases from Apple including the Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store and iTunes, 2% back on purchases when using Apple Pay and 1% back on all other purchases. The card charges no annual fees, foreign exchange fees or late fees, lets you access your cash-back earnings the day after you make a purchase and is paired with an app designed to help you slice and dice the pros and cons of paying off a credit card over time.
Although it’s got some nice attributes, it does have a few bruised parts to be aware of. If you’re making a payment somewhere that doesn’t accept Apple Pay and you want to use your Apple card account, you’ll have to use the physical titanium card to make your payment. And unlike most credit cards, you won’t actually receive the physical card automatically once you’re approved—you have to request it. Plus all payments made using the physical card will only qualify for 1% cash back.
But perhaps most importantly, the card’s earnings structure for all but the thinnest slice of mobile-first consumers just isn’t competitive in a landscape filled with rewards cards. Most people will find they can get better results with a card that offers bigger overall rewards without having to remain loyal to Apple Pay as their main payment method.
- $0 annual fee
- Can pay off eligible Apple purchases in monthly installments with no interest
- Earn 3% back on eligible purchases from Apple including the Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store and iTunes, 2% back on purchases when using Apple Pay and 1% back on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to your cash earnings every day
- View your purchases by color-coded spending categories or geographic location
- Visual “spending wheel” to help incentivize paying down a balance
The Apple Card* earns rewards at the following rates:
- Get 3% back on eligible purchases from Apple including the Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store and iTunes, 2% back on purchases when using Apple Pay and 1% back on all other purchases
To access all of the options for your cash rewards, which the Apple Card* calls “Daily Cash”, you’ll have to set up an Apple Cash account. All earnings from the Apple Card* will be added each day to your Apple Cash account. This balance can then be used at any time to:
- Make a purchase using Apple Pay.
- Transfer money via text message to a family member or friend who has Apple Cash.
- Use it to make a payment towards your Apple credit card bill.
- Add to your Savings account, a high-yield savings account you can open and manage in the Wallet app that earns interest.
If you choose not to set up Apple Cash, then your daily rewards will accumulate and can only be applied toward your card balance.
To determine the rewards potential of the Apple Card* we have to look at the bonus categories and calculate what an American household might spend in those areas. Forbes Advisor uses data from various government agencies to determine baseline income and spending averages across various categories. The 70th percentile of wage-earning households bring in $116,000 annually and we base spending on that number.
In addition, we have to make some assumptions about consumer behavior when we look at the Apple Card. The card earns 2% on purchases made via Apple Pay, which is available at outlets in almost every spending category. For our calculations, we are assuming this hypothetical household puts $36,177 per year on a credit card, and half of those expenditures are paid for via Apple Pay—meaning $19,088.50.
Forbes Advisor estimates that our example household spends $1,256.66 annually on Apple products and in the App Store, which adds up to $37.69 in cash back. The $18,088.50 spent through Apple Pay would translate to $361.77 in cash back, and the remaining $16,831.84 that could reasonably be charged to a credit card would earn $168.31 back. This means that the card would earn a total of $567.77 in cash back per year.
- Interest-free financing on select Apple products: Use the Apple Card* to pay for eligible purchases over time without interest and still earn 3% cash back.
- Titanium construction: It’s the only card on the market made of this sleek metal.
- Mastercard network: As a Mastercard, the Apple Card* comes with benefits including access to Mastercard Priceless experiences, ID theft protection and a 24-hour hotline to report a lost or stolen card and get a replacement.
- Apple Card Family account sharing. This feature allows two partners to merge their credit lines to form a single co-owned account. You can add up to four participants, ages 13 and up, that can make use of one Apple Card* account
- APR: 19.24% to 29.49% variable
- Annual fee: $0
- Foreign purchase transaction fee: None
Apple Card* vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is consistently one of Forbes Advisor’s top recommendations for flat-rate, no-annual-fee credit cards. Cardholders earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases, and there’s a valuable welcome bonus: $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Your earnings can be redeemed to cover past purchases, as a credit to a qualifying Wells Fargo account, for gift cards or as cash from an ATM (requires a Wells Fargo ATM or debit card).
Like most credit cards, you can opt to load it into your phone’s digital wallet and it doesn’t have to just be on the Apple ecosystem.
Apple Card* vs. Chase Freedom Flex℠*
The Chase Freedom Flex℠* card has a generous rewards structure with no loyalty to Apple required. For an annual fee of $0, the card earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in categories that rotate quarterly (requires activation), 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on dining and drugstores and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Chase has been known to include retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart as quarterly bonus categories and if you’ve been eyeing a new Apple device, you’d fare better with the Flex. Plus, the Freedom Flex comes with a terrific welcome bonus: $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 5% cash back on combined gas station and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. For many consumers, the Freedom Flex is likely a more rewarding option overall than the Apple Card*.
Apple Card* vs. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Even if you don’t mind using Apple Pay, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Terms apply. ) may be a more rewarding fit if you spend a good chunk of your budget on U.S. supermarkets, gas stations and transit. It carries a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee. In return, the card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more) and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
There’s also a welcome offer: $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.
Although the Apple Card* offers some unique features that can help motivate cardholders to stay on top of their debt, the rewards program can easily be bested by other cards. There’s a bushel of other no-annual-fee rewards cards that offer welcome bonuses, intro APR offers and other perks. Choose one of those options over this bad apple.
Forbes Advisor considers a variety of criteria when assigning credit cards a rating. Cards are graded based on numerous factors including:
- Annual fees
- Welcome bonus offers
- Ongoing earning rates
- Value of individual points or miles
- Included travel or merchant credits
- Additional cardholder benefits
Card features we expect cardholders to use the most often are weighted more heavily in our ratings. Altogether, the factors came together to provide a star rating for each individual card.
Read more: How Forbes Advisor Rates Credit Cards
To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this page.
*The information for the following card(s) has been collected independently by Forbes Advisor: Apple Card, Chase Freedom Flex℠. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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