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If you’ve used Apple to pay for pretty much anything, you’ve probably come across an ad or two for the Apple Card. The ads make it look pretty rad. But that’s the whole point of advertising. So you might be sitting over the invitation to apply with a skeptical eye, thinking, “Is the Apple credit card good? Any good at all?”
The answer is a resounding yes. But there are some pretty big caveats. The first is that it’s only a great credit card if you have an iPhone and are comfortable using Apple Pay. But there are some other nice perks, like zero (you read that right — zero) fees, cash back rewards that are applied to your account daily rather than monthly, and the ability to purchase Apple products on 0% APR payment plans.
Let’s take a closer look to see if the Apple Card is right for you. And download the KCL app for more money-savvy tips.
Apple Credit Card Overview
The Apple Card is issued by Goldman Sachs and it moves different. In a lot of ways, that’s a good thing, as there are limited fees and a relatively favorable rewards program.
However you have to be a somewhat devoted Apple fan to take advantage of all the perks. Let’s get into it.
The fact that there’s no fees is a big deal.
A credit card with no fees is almost unheard of. The Apple Card comes with zero annual fees. No late fees. And no foreign transaction fees.
It’s pretty incredible. The only cost you might incur with this card is interest. But Apple has even created a digital dashboard that goes along with your card that encourages you to pay off your balance before that happens.
Starting APR is relatively low (for a credit card).
The Apple Card’s starting APR is just 15.74%, which is still a lot. You should pay your balance off in full every month to avoid paying this expense.
But 15.74% APR is a much lower starting rate than most other credit cards.
That said, the APR you’re offered will vary depending on your credit profile, which includes both your credit score and credit report. It can get up to 26.74% APR for the least-qualified applicants, which isn’t an incredibly low rate. Especially when you consider the minimum credit score requirement for the Apple Card is 660.
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The credit score requirement is 660, but it’s squishy.
Apple says, “Scores above 660 are considered favorable for credit approval.”
That does not necessarily mean that if your score is above 660, you’ll be automatically approved. Other factors will be taken into consideration, like your current income, debt-to-income ratio, and any potential negative line items on your credit report.
The opposite is true, too: Just because your score is below 660 doesn’t mean you’ll be automatically rejected. The odds of rejection are much higher, but if everything else in your credit profile (like your income and the amount of other debts you’re holding) is sitting pretty, you might be able to squeak your way in. It’s just less likely.
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You can check your qualifications without hurting your credit score.
Apple allows you to apply for pre-approval, which means they’ll check to see if you qualify with a simple soft pull on your credit report. A soft pull doesn’t affect your credit score.
However, if it says you qualify and you choose to follow through, then a hard pull will be performed. The effect of a hard inquiry on your credit card is usually (though not always) minimal, but it’s still something you want to consider before opening a new credit card.
TIP: If you’re approved for an Apple Card, you’ll be able to start using your account immediately — at least digitally. If you want a physical card, you’ll have to request one.
You can buy Apple products in installments with 0% interest.
The only way to pay 0% APR while carrying a balance with the Apple Card is to purchase an Apple product and select ‘Apple Card Monthly Installments’ at checkout. This will schedule equal monthly payments for your purchase over a set period — say, 24 months, as an example.
As long as you’re making your monthly installment payments on time, you’ll be able to dodge interest.
Get 3% cash back on a daily basis with the Apple credit card.
The Apple Card doesn’t just come with non-existent fees, it also comes with some pretty sweet perks! The associated rewards program is called Daily Cash. With Daily Cash, you don’t have to wait until the end of your statement cycle to see your cashback rewards. They’ll be applied to your Apple Wallet as real cash money every single day.
You get 3% back via Daily Cash when you make purchases at the following retailers:
- Apple (obvs)
- Ace Hardware
- Duane Reade
- Panera Bread
- Uber Eats
The selection of stores can rotate from time to time, so make sure to pay attention if you’re strategizing your spending across credit cards.
TIP: Even if you purchase an Apple item with Apple Card Monthly Installments, you’ll get the full 3% Daily Cash right away as if you had made the purchase all at once.
Get 2% cash back on all purchases made through Apple Pay.
If you use Apple Pay a lot, you’re going to love that the Apple Card gives you 2% back in Daily Cash for all purchases you make using this payment method — regardless of the store.
You’ll get 1% cash back on everything else.
All other purchases will earn 1% back in Daily Cash. TBH, 1% cash back is nothing to write home about. However, it is common as a catchall for cash-back cards with different rewards redemption levels.
What are the negatives of the Apple Card?
Everything sounds pretty rosy up to this point, am I right?
But there are some drawbacks to the Apple Card. First, the number of retailers that will earn you the 3% Daily Cash is extremely limited. You’re not going to get 3% back at all gas stations or all restaurants like you might with other credit cards.
The second is that the 2% Daily Cash redemption level is pretty much meaningless if you don’t have an iPhone with Apple Pay compatibility. If you can’t use Apple Pay, you can’t get the 2% in rewards.
The final drawback is that the Apple Card is lacking some features, like:
- Introductory bonus: Some credit cards give you a bonus offer, like ‘Get $400 in rewards when you spend $3,000 on your card in the first three months!’ The Apple Card offers nothing of the sort.
- Balance transfers: You cannot use this card to do a balance transfer, which is why there are no balance transfer fees.
- Cash advances: You also can’t use this card for cash advances, which I’d argue is actually a good thing, as cash advances are typically extremely expensive. And they can end up putting negative line items on your credit report fairly quickly. But it’s still a feature the Apple Card doesn’t have — good or not.
Who is the Apple Card best for?
The Apple Card is best for those with an iPhone, especially those who use Apple Pay to buy things on the regular. It can also be a good option for those who want 0% financing on a new Apple purchase.
Just be careful to make your payments in full and on-time each and every month. Otherwise, like any other credit card, you risk racking up interest charges and/or negative line items on your credit report.