If you’re among the Apple faithful, it’s worth taking a look at the Apple Card. The card, issued by Goldman Sachs, reserves its best rewards for Apple purchases and transactions made using Apple Pay, which makes it less of a physical card than it is an incentive program for using Apple’s proprietary technology.
The minimal fees make this a good, low-cost addition to your Apple Wallet, and that’s the only place you should keep it. When making purchases outside of Apple or without Apple Pay, you’re better off with one of the many no-annual-fee cards that pay 1.5% or 2% cash back on all purchases and have a variety of benefits. As an example, there’s no promotional purchase APR for this card, which is a feature that other cash-back cards often offer.
That said, with Apple Card Monthly Installments, you will get up to 24 months to pay off Apple products purchased from Apple interest-free—while still earning 3% cash back. For example, if you bought a MacBook Air at $1,000, you’d earn $30 in Daily Cash for one purchase and still get two years to pay it off without paying interest.
- Exceptional rewards for Apple and partner-merchant purchases
- Interest-free payment plans on Apple products
- Great rewards rate on Apple Pay purchases
- Financial-management tools
- Low end of APR range is among the best
- Only worth it for Apple users
- Sub-par rewards rate on non-Apple and non-Apple Pay purchases
- Few benefits
- Limited integration with budgeting apps
- Exceptional rewards for Apple and partner-merchant purchases: In addition to the top earning rate on purchases at Apple, you’ll also get the 3% Daily Cash rate at partners that include Uber, Uber Eats, Duane Reade, Exxon, Mobil, Panera Bread, Walgreens, Nike, and T-Mobile (at its stores, app, and website.
- Interest-free payment plans on Apple products: Get up to 24 months to pay for Apple products purchased through Apple and charged to your card, with no interest. Even better: installment purchases still earn 3% cash back. Monthly installments will be added to your card’s minimum monthly payment automatically. Just be aware not all Apple products are eligible, and installment periods vary by product.
- Great rewards rate on Apple Pay purchases: A wide variety of major brick-and-mortar retailers, websites, vending machines, and transit systems accept Apple Pay. The card’s rewards rate on Apple Pay purchases is on par with and sometimes better than the best flat-rate rewards cards on the market.
- Financial-management tools: Apple brings its signature design standards to a product that lacks visual excitement—credit card statements. The interactive features offer a new way to understand credit card interest and how your payment behaviors affect it. The in-app messaging makes it refreshingly simple to talk to customer service. Goldman Sachs even offers tools to help non-cardholders improve their finances and get approved for the card. (See more on that below.)
- Low end of APR range is among the best: If you can qualify for it, the Apple Card APR is one of the lowest out there, especially compared to the average cash-back credit card rate.1 The high end of the range is relatively low, too, but you still don’t want to get caught paying that rate.
Aim to pay your credit card statement in full, even if you qualify for the Apple Card’s best terms. It’s not a good idea to carry a balance on a card with a double-digit APR, no matter how relatively low it is.
- Only worth it for Apple users: The card’s value comes from Apple Pay, which you can’t use without an Apple device.
- Sub-par rewards rate on non-Apple and non-Apple Pay purchases: The physical Apple Card may look cool, but there’s no reason to carry it with you if you’re open to having more than one credit card. Cards like the Capital One Quicksilver or Chase Freedom Unlimited offer a better rewards rate on all purchases.
- Few benefits: As a financial tool, this card offers little beyond the rewards on Apple purchases and Apple Pay. If you’re looking for a welcome bonus or features like a free credit score or rental car insurance, this isn’t the card for you.
- Limited integration with budgeting apps: If you use a third-party app to keep track of your expenses, it won’t be able to automatically ingest your Apple Card spending. You can export your transactions and upload that file to your money management app, but that’s not the seamless connection many credit cards offer.2 However, Apple Card offers a number of in-house features to track your spending with the card.
Earning Points & Rewards
The Apple Card offers what it calls Daily Cash, its own version of cash-back rewards. Cardholders earn 3% Daily Cash on Apple purchases, 2% on purchases made with Apple Pay, and 1% on purchases made at merchants that don’t accept Apple Pay. (The physical card, like many cards going for a high-end look, is made of metal—in this case, titanium.)
Apple also has a few partner merchants where cardholders can get 3% Daily Cash when using Apple Pay, including Duane Reade, Uber, Uber Eats, Walgreens, Nike, Exxon Mobil, Panera, and T-Mobile (in-store, website, and in-app purchases only).
Apple Card does not limit the amount of Daily Cash you can earn, and Daily Cash does not expire. If you have unredeemed Daily Cash if and when you close the account, Goldman Sachs will either credit it to your account, send it to you electronically, or mail you a check.
Daily Cash automatically accrues on your Apple Cash card, which you can then use on anything that you pay for with Apple Pay. Users without an Apple Cash account can redeem Daily Cash as a statement credit. You accrue and can use your Daily Cash within a day of the transaction clearing, so you can use rewards more quickly than you can with most other cash-back credit cards.
How To Get the Most Out of This Card
Use the Apple Card for purchases directly with Apple, including music and apps, and with partner merchants where you can also earn 3% Daily Cash. Also take advantage of Apple Card Monthly Installments to spread the cost of your Apple product purchases over several months (up to 24 for iPhones), interest-free, and while still getting 3% cash back.3 Keep in mind that if you buy Apple products through another retailer, even one authorized to sell Apple products, the 3% rate doesn’t apply, and neither does the monthly installment plan.
Other than that, use it at retailers that accept Apple Pay, unless you have a rewards card that earns a higher rate at that type of vendor. For example, if you have a card that gives you more than 2 points per $1 spent on entertainment, even if the movie theater you go to accepts Apple Pay, use the other card to buy your tickets.
Maximize rewards by redeeming Daily Cash as a statement credit. Using Daily Cash via Apple Cash means you’re not earning rewards on those purchases, when you could get 2% back using Apple Card with Apple Pay.
Apple Card’s Other Features
- Budgeting tools
- Credit card debt tool that shows how the amount you pay each month affects the amount of interest you owe
Apple Card is Goldman Sachs’ first credit card, and the reviews are mixed when it comes to customer service, according to published accounts. Some issues appear to be resolved easily—but Apple has also had to step in to re-investigate customer disputes that weren’t addressed correctly.
Still, according to J.D Power’s 2021 credit card customer satisfaction survey, Goldman Sachs ranks highest in customer satisfaction among midsize issuers. This list consists of credit card providers with fewer than four million users; Goldman Sachs scored 864 out of 1,000 possible points based on award criteria.4
The Apple Card does not offer a free credit score, unlike many of its competitors.
You don’t have to actually have the card to benefit from it. If you apply for the card, and are not approved, you may be asked to enroll in Goldman Sachs’ “Path to Apple Card” program to improve your finances. The program tracks your progress through several “customized” steps such as making on-time bill payments, reducing overall debt levels, and resolving any past due accounts. After successful completion of the plan, you will be invited to reapply for the card.
Apple Card offers several helpful anti-fraud and security features including transaction disputes from within the app, 24/7 customer service via text, and optional rotating security codes, which Apple calls “Advanced Fraud Protection.”5
Apple Card charges no fees, partially because it doesn’t offer services like cash advances or balance transfers that often come with fees. Late or missed payments don’t carry a fee but will result in additional interest accruing on your balance. Merchants in dozens of countries accept Apple Pay, so if you find Apple Pay acceptance abroad, you’ll be happy to know the Apple Card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.