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Update 8/20/19: The Apple Card is now available for all US customers. Additionally, Uber and Uber Eats purchases are now eligible for 3% Daily Cash (cash back), in addition to purchases made directly with Apple. Follow the instructions below to sign up.
The Apple Card is almost here. When it comes to earning rewards toward your next vacation, the Apple Card won’t be one of the best options on the market, but the company’s first credit card is finally expected to launch at the end of this month. Or, if you’re one of an undisclosed number of randomly selected early adopters, you can even sign up beginning today.
As a member of the media, I personally had an opportunity to sign up among the first group of users, so I could experience the super-simple sign-up process for myself. After updating to iOS 12.4, opening the Wallet app and tapping the “+” button at the top right, I was presented with the option to apply for the card — once applications become widely available, that should be your experience as well, assuming your device is configured correctly (more on that at the bottom of this story).
I typically like to research cards extensively before I sign up, so this was actually the very first application I’ve completed on a phone. It was smooth as can be, though, and my account was approved and ready to use in just three minutes, including the time it took to capture these screenshots:
Activating the physical card (once it arrives in the mail) is painless as can be, too:
While we addressed most of the questions about Apple Card in our Q&A following Apple’s unveiling in March, I recently picked up on a few interesting details worth sharing:
- You’ll need to update to iOS 12.4 to submit an application, with your device’s region set to the United States
- The card is permanently linked to the Apple ID you use when you apply — it can’t be moved to another account
- Most customers will only enter the last four digits of their SSN to apply
- There isn’t a hard credit pull right away (the application won’t hit your report unless you accept the interest rate and credit limit)
- Goldman Sachs uses your TransUnion score to determine eligibility
- The physical card is optional — you can choose to order one after approval
- The interface is very intuitive — I especially like that you can easily sort purchases by merchant
- A slider makes it clear exactly how much interest would be due if you don’t pay in full
- Customers are eligible for a selection of Mastercard benefits, including theft protection and 2-day shipping with ShopRunner
The Apple Card is sure to be a hit among loyalists, but it isn’t necessarily the best no annual fee pick, especially if you often shop at merchants that don’t accept contactless payments — the only non-Apple purchase option that earns more than 1%. You’ll also be forgoing a sign-up bonus and introductory no-interest period, though Apple has been clear in its aim to help customers avoid carrying a balance.
Here’s how it stacks up against competing no annual fee cards:
|Card Name||Best For||Cash-Back Overview||Intro APR period||Foreign-Transaction Fees||Sign-Up Bonus|
|Apple Card||Apple purchases, simplicity||3% (purchases made directly with Apple, Uber, Walgreens and Duane Reade)
2% (all Apple Pay purchases)
1% (everything else)
|None (12.99% to 23.99% variable APR from open)||None||None|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Everyday spending||2% (all purchases; 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay)||0% APR for 18-months on balance transfers made within the first four months of account opening (then 15.99% to 25.99% variable APR applies)||3%||None|
|Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card||Dining and entertainment||3% (dining and entertainment)
2% (back at grocery stores)
1% (everything else)
|0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then a 16.24% to 26.24% variable APR applies)||None||$150 one-time bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening|
Apple’s new credit card isn’t even the most rewarding pick for Apple purchases. The American Express® Business Gold Card‘s 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar earned on purchases from technology providers* (including Apple), clearly has the manufacturer’s own card beat, especially when you consider that’s equivalent to an 8% return, based on TPG’s valuations. Amex’s card also has you covered with generous purchase protections — a must when purchasing expensive electronics.
So, if I don’t often plan to use Apple Card, why did I sign up? Well, I kinda had to — I needed to experience the application process for this story — but I was planning to apply either way. Even though I’ll probably never actually use it or even carry it around, as a frequent traveler, I figured I might as well add the card so I’d have something to fall back on if I lose my wallet or my other cards are disabled due to fraud. And it’s a decent pick for travel abroad, thanks to:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Push notifications with purchase amounts in USD
- Text support via Messages, which works over Wi-Fi
Ultimately, if you’re an iPhone user and simplicity is your top priority — from sign up to payment — Apple Card is hard to beat.
For more on Apple Card, see:
- Questions and Answers About Apple’s New Credit Card
- Will the Apple Card Be the Best Credit Card for Apple Purchases?
- Why You Should Care About the Apple Card, Even If You Aren’t Getting It
*on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from the two categories where your business spent the most each calendar year
Know before you go.
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- Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card membership.
- Limited time Offer ends 11/06/2019.*
- More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month**
- **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
- Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
- Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
- Expense Management Tools: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManager℠, receive a Year-End Summary, and more.*
- *Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees