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Apple Card for iPhone: Available now, sign-up, credit rewards

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Apple Card is available to everyone now. Here’s how you can apply for Apple Card today. Taking on its own credit card, rather than piggybacking on your bank card, is a bold move for Apple that no other media giant has sought, even Google and Samsung, two companies that also have robust mobile payment systems may not follow Apple’s footsteps.

Apple Card is available to everyone now. Here’s how you can apply for Apple Card today. Taking on its own credit card, rather than piggybacking on your bank card, is a bold move for Apple that no other media giant has sought, even Google and Samsung, two companies that also have robust mobile payment systems may not follow Apple’s footsteps.  

Backed by Mastercard and Goldman Sachs, Apple’s brand-new credit card lets you pay for goods and services online and in stores. Apple Card is different from Apple Pay but builds on that feature, it’s a mobile payment system based on your existing credit card that Apple has had in place since 2014.

Read: Apple Card vs. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa  

You’re brimming with questions, and so are we. Will a digital Apple Credit card finally make mobile payments ubiquitous? What kinds of perks will owners be able to get? How will it affect their credit if they switch phones? Unfortunately, we don’t have all the information yet, but Apple will release more before the Apple Card’s official launch.

Here’s everything we know about Apple Card so far, including the fine print.

What is Apple Card anyway?

Apple Card is a new branded credit card for iPhone ($899 at Amazon) users. It’s both a digital card that lives on your iPhone, with a traditional credit card backup that you can use where Apple Pay isn’t available. (It seems like everyone gets this when they sign up.) However, Apple believes you’ll predominantly use the digital version.

The physical Apple Card is made out of titanium and has your name etched on it, for a little drama, and so you can show off by clinking it loudly against a glass. 

Can I use Apple Card with an Android phone?

No, Apple Card is for iPhone users only. You sign up for the credit card using your phone and make payments from the iPhone as well. All digital card transactions take place locally on your phone as well — you won’t be able to do any of these from a separate browser or app. 

Now playing: Apple Card FAQ: What you need to know
 4:02

What do I do if I lose my Apple Card?

If you lose your physical card, you can easily request a new one from Apple, while your virtual card remains in use. Find out more details in our guide on using your Apple Card.

If I lose my iPhone, can I still pay my bills?

Losing your iPhone is much more frightening than losing your titanium Apple Card, but you can still pay your bills while you search for your phone. Here are all the ways you can protect your Apple Card information if you lose your iPhone.

Where can I use Apple Card?

You’ll be able to use Apple Card in apps, online (e.g., web stores) and in physical stores, anywhere in the world where MasterCard is accepted. (More on the banking aspect further below.)

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The titanium Apple Card in real life.

James Martin/CNET

How do I sign up for Apple Card?

Apple Card will live in the Wallet app on your iPhone, and you’ll sign up for it by tapping on the Apple Card prompt within the Wallet. Here’s how the Apple Card application process works. You can also sign up on Apple’s site if you’re interested in more details. Keep in mind that you’ll need to receive an invitation from Apple before you can begin. Here are more details on how to sign up for Apple Card from your iPhone.

Do I have to wait for a credit check?

You do need to be a well-qualified customer, though Apple doesn’t share details on what that means. Apple says that if you are approved, you’ll be eligible to use your Apple Card within minutes.

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Spend your Apple Card Daily Cash rewards right from the Wallet app.

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Is Apple Card coming to other countries, too?

Apple Card is available in the US, but Goldman Sachs thinks Apple Card will roll out internationally. Apple might be using the US as a testbed before expanding into other countries. It’s also possible that Apple is already negotiating with other banks and global institutions.

Which bank backs Apple Card?

Apple is working with Goldman Sachs as its bank to issue Apple Card, a Mastercard.

How will Apple Card help me track my finances?

If you’ve ever used a service like Mint or other financial apps before, you might be able to get a sense of Apple’s vision with your finances. 

You’ll be able to see visuals clearly depicting how much you spent on what, when it’s due, and how much you owe. Apple also uses its Maps engine to link a purchase with a business, so it’s clear what your payment goes toward (these things tend to be cryptic, like: “New York LLC” when you’ve taken a cab ride. Apple says it uses machine learning to connect the dots.

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Apple Card has all sorts of tracking charts in place.

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

You’ll also be able to see how much you’ve spent so far in a given week or month, and track purchases by category, like meals and transportation. There’s a view to show how long will it take for you to pay back what you owe. 

What if I need help using my Apple Card?

Apple says if you run into trouble, you can send a text straight from the app.

What are Apple Card rewards like? 

Apple doesn’t opt for a points structure. It gives you cash back on every dollar you spend, through a program called Daily Cash. 

Here’s how much you get when you make a purchase:

  • 1% when you use the titanium Apple Card (physical card) 
  • 2% when you use the Apple Card (digital) on any purchase
  • 3% when you use the Apple Card (digital) on purchases you make directly from Apple

There’s no cap to daily earning…as long as you’re within your credit limit. For example, if your spending can’t exceed $3,000, then your earnings can’t either. You’ll be able to keep track of your Daily Cash through a card in your Wallet app. 

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You can use Apple Card for mobile payments.

Apple

How does Apple Card compare to Chase Sapphire and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa?

We broke that down for you:

What’s the difference between Apple Card, Apple Pay, and Apple Cash?

It’s confusing, we know. We broke that down for you, too: Apple Card versus Apple Pay versus Apple Cash.

Is Daily Cash real cash? Where can I spend it?

Yes, this is real cash you can use right away. You can spend in stores, send to friends, use in apps or on the web, or use to pay down your balance.

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Spend Daily Cash like cash.

Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

What about paying interest rates and fees?

Apple Card will let you pay more often than once a month. For example, you can pay every week or every other week. It isn’t clear if you can pay daily if you want or if there’s more of a structure.

There are no late fees, annual fees, international fees or fees for going over your limit. But you will pay interest rates. Apple says that variable APRs will range from 13.24 percent to 24.24 percent “based on creditworthiness.” Rates are susceptible to change.

What happens if I miss a payment?

Apple won’t slap you with a penalty on top of your missed payment (e.g. it won’t cost $25 in addition to what you already owe). However, you will accumulate more interest on top of your existing balance. More here.

Watch this: Every single service Apple announced this week
 1:25

Is Apple Card secure?

Apple highlighted four main ways it’s keeping Apple Card secure.

  • The card number: Apple will create a unique card number for each device, which is stored in the Security Element, a security chip on your iPhone. You get a one-time dynamic security code each time you make a purchase, and authenticate each purchase biometrically, through either Touch ID or Face ID. Even if someone steals your phone, Apple says they can’t use your Apple Card.
  • Device, not cloud: Apple doesn’t track what you bought or where and how much you spent. All the tracking happens on the device, not on Apple’s servers.
  • Your data isn’t for sale: “Goldman Sachs will never share or sell your data for marketing or advertising,” Apple’s Bailey said.
  • An almost-blank physical card: If you’re using the physical Apple Card, you’ll notice that your name is on it, but there’s no card number, no CVV, no expiration date and no signature. If you need the details, it’s in the Wallet app. This is presumably so that others can’t swipe these essential details for security fraud by either stealing a glance or stealing the entire card.

Is it bad that the physical Apple Card has no signature field?

Not necessarily. In late 2018, Mastercard became the first payment network to make signatures optional on cards and at payment terminals.

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This minimalist card doesn’t have your signature on it.

Apple

If I lose my physical Apple Card, can I order a new one?

 Yes. If your card is lost or stolen, you can use the Wallet app to freeze your card and order a new one.

Does the physical Apple Card have a magnetic stripe?

Yes, and it also has a chip you can insert into a chip reader as well.

Will it work with my iPad ($323 at Back Market) and Apple Watch ($230 at Back Market)? 

Yes, Apple says you’ll be able to make payments from all your iOS devices. We’ll need to confirm if it will work with MacOS as well as the iPhone, iPad and Apple watch.

 

Apple Card FAQ: What you need to know02:0404:02

 

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Apple Card vs. Chase Sapphire: Which card is right for you?

Are you looking for a travel credit card, a card that’s going to give you cash back, or maybe both?

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Screenshots by Lexy Savvides/CNET

Backed by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, Apple Card represents Apple’s effort to attract iPhone users with a daily cash-back offer and some smart tools to help manage their finances. But the Apple Card has faced some stiff competition against established cards since its launch in the summer of 2019.

To help you figure out how Apple’s credit card holds up in the face of other prominent offers, we’ve compared it to one of the most popular credit cards in the US, the Chase Sapphire. 

Note that the Chase Sapphire cards have two tiers, Preferred and Reserve, with slightly different benefits.

APPLE CARD VS. CHASE SAPPHIRE CARDS

 Apple CardChase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve
Card typeMastercardVisaVisa
APR10.99-21.99%15.99-22.99%16.99-23.99%
Annual feeNone$95$550
Late payment feeNoneUp to $38Up to $38
Foreign transaction feeNoneNoneNone
Reward systemDaily cash backPointsPoints
Cash or points accrual rate1% on physical card, 2% through Apple Pay, 3% on Apple purchases and at Nike, Uber, Uber Eats, Panera Bread, Walgreens, T-Mobile, Exxon Mobil when using Apple Pay2 points per dollar on travel and dining, 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases3 points per dollar on travel and dining, 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Sign up bonus6% daily cash back on Apple products through March 31, 2021YesYes
Referral bonusNoneYesYes

The annual percentage rate, or APR, varies based on your creditworthiness.

Here’s how the Apple Card compares to another popular credit card, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa

Watch this: Apple Card FAQ: What you need to know
 4:02

Apple Card is virtual first, physical second

Applying for the card, checking your transaction history and paying your bill all take place on an iPhone. The card exists virtually within Apple Wallet — if you’ve set up Apple Pay with any other bank card or travel pass, the Apple Card will also live there.

That means it works with Apple Pay: You can use the Apple Card anywhere you can make NFC-based contactless payments in stores; in apps; or on sites that support Apple Pay.

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The Apple Card has no card number.

Screenshot by Katie Conner/CBS Interactive

If you’re at a store that doesn’t accept Apple Pay, Apple also offers a physical credit card made of titanium. The design is spartan: just your name, the Apple logo, an EMV chip and a magnetic stripe appear on the card. There are no markings with the actual card number or CVV (those three or four numbers on the back of the card). If you want to find out those details, say if you were making an online purchase at a site that doesn’t take Apple Pay, you’ll need to look in the Apple Wallet app on your iPhone.

The Chase Sapphire cards are physical credit cards, also made of metal. The card number, CVV and expiration date are all found on the back. You also have the option of adding the card to a virtual wallet such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay then using your phone to make contactless payments. Chase also offers its own virtual wallet app called Chase Pay.

And you can only apply for and use the Apple Card with an iPhone. Chase Sapphire cards in a digital wallet can be used on both iPhone or Android.

What are the fees like?

Apple Card promises no fees. That means no annual fee, no late fee, international transaction fee or over-the-limit fees. But be aware this is still a credit card, so you will still be subject to interest on your balance if you don’t pay your statement in full each month.

The Chase cards have different annual fees depending on which tier you get: Preferred is $95 a year, while Reserve is $550, of which $300 is automatically applied as statement credits on travel (think Uber, Lyft, airline tickets and more). Like many other major credit cards, late payment and cash-advance fees apply. There are no fees for international transactions.

As always, it pays to read the terms of any credit card you consider applying for. Here’s what we found out after diving into the fine print of the Apple Card

Read more: The best tax software 

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Apple

Cash back and rewards

Credit cards generally use a point-based system or cash-back options to encourage you to spend using the card. Sometimes, you can even turn points into statement credits like you can on the Chase cards.

The Apple Card offers cash back and it’s credited to you daily. All Apple Pay transactions get you 2% cash back, while spending on Apple products in the Apple Store, a service such as Apple Music, or certain retailers with Apple Pay (see list in the table above) give 3% cash back. If you use the physical card, it’s just 1% cash back.

This all accrues in the Apple Cash Card in the Wallet app, which is similar to Apple Pay Cash if you use Apple Pay. You can then withdraw it to your bank account; use it to pay friends through iMessage; or use the funds against the Apple Card balance.

Chase has a points system called Ultimate Rewards. On the Sapphire cards you accrue 1 point for every dollar spent. Travel and dining purchases net you 2 points per dollar on the Preferred card, or 3 points per dollar on the Reserve.

With the Sapphire cards — and many other credit cards — you’ll need to wait for your statement to close to receive those Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase’s online portal also gives you the option to earn extra points when buying through the Ultimate Rewards portal, often 2x or more points on eligible purchases. The Chase cards also have many other travel-related perks like extra coverage on rental cars, plus airport lounge access (Reserve card only). And points are often worth more when redeeming for travel on the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Funnily enough, the Chase cards also offer the option to buy Apple products using points, with 100 points redeemable per dollar.

What about a sign-up bonus?

As of March 25, 2021, the sign-up bonus on the Preferred card is 80,000 points and 60,000 for the Reserve, provided you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Apple is offering a 6% daily cash back on all Apple purchases made either in-person at the Apple Store or on the app, online at apple.com, or via phone for new users until March 31, 2021.

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Apple

Apple’s visual way to manage your spending

You’ll be able to see breakdowns of how you’re spending in the app on a weekly or monthly basis. It’s color-coded, with different colors representing categories such as food or travel. The app will also give you estimates of the interest you’ll need to pay to clear your balance.

Chase lets you generate a spending report that breaks down amounts spent and reward earn across categories, but there is no interest tracker.

Privacy and security

If you’ve used Apple Pay before, making a transaction with either card in the Apple Wallet is exactly the same: double-tap the power button and use Face ID, or double-tap the home button and use Touch ID to authorize a transaction.

Like other NFC-based payments, each time you make a purchase it needs the unique device number that’s generated when you get the card, plus a one-time code or token.

Both cards have transaction monitoring: You’ll get a notification if the bank notices anything unusual.

Apple says that it won’t be able to see what you buy, where you bought it or how much you paid, as all that information is generated on your device. Goldman Sachs still has to see some data to make the card work, but according to Apple’s website it won’t sell or share with third parties for marketing or ads. According to a Chase spokesperson, the bank does not share transaction-level spend details with third parties for marketing purposes.

Which one is right for me?

These two cards are tailored for slightly different use cases, so potentially you could have both these cards in your wallet to maximize the benefits. Frequent travelers, for example, would likely want to use a card with more flexible travel rewards like the Sapphire cards. Those wanting to bundle multiple Apple products and services (and who enjoy doing everything from an iPhone) will get the most out of the Apple Card.

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