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Why You Should Care About the Apple Card, Even If You Aren't Getting It

March 26, 2019
4 min read
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Yesterday, Apple unveiled a slew of new subscription services that will let you read the news, play video games and watch documentaries produced by Oprah. The company also wants you to pay for all that content using the Apple Card.

Basically, the event showed that Apple wants your eyeballs and your money. Plenty of TPG readers weighed in with less-than-excited comments about the card, which will be available this summer. "Snooze," "Hard pass" and "honestly, has no use to me" can sum up the attitudes of the savviest points-hungry readers, and I'll admit that I initially shared the level of indifference to the news. However, I think Apple will do more than get people who love Apple to applaud at its event with this product.

While I do not agree with Apple CEO Tim Cook's belief that Apple Card will be "the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years," my perspective has changed. There are some crucial reasons why Apple's entrance to credit cards will create positive changes for all of us.

Instant Rewards Impact

Apple Card's Daily Cash feature means that you won't have to wait to use your 2% reward.

The Apple Card's Daily Cash offer is built for the era of instant gratification. Rather than waiting until the end of a billing cycle to post accrued monthly earnings, customers who use Apple Card will see cash back totals on a daily basis. Imagine if other cards decide to copy Apple's approach and issue points on a more frequent basis. For customers in need of a small amount of additional rewards points, the immediacy of posting a reward can make the difference of capturing a great deal or letting it slip away while waiting for a monthly rewards total. I would love to see Chase start posting Ultimate Rewards points on a daily basis.

Lowering the Bar for Fees

The Apple Card seems to want to occupy the most consumer-friendly position in the credit card landscape when it comes to fees. The absence of late fees and foreign-transaction fees could push more competitors to embrace a zero-fee approach to their most basic offerings and expand the list of cash-back cards with no foreign transaction fees. And Apple's aim to offer the lowest interest rates in the industry is good news for anyone who is guilty of carrying a balance on their credit cards.

Pushing Privacy

Most banks don't just make money from fees and finance charges. They profit from your personal information, too. Consider Bank of America's US consumer privacy policy, which details the many ways it puts information about a customer's creditworthiness and his or her transaction history in the hands of a wide range of other companies. Spoiler alert: Other banks such as Chase and Citi have nearly identical policies.

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Apple said that Goldman Sachs, its partner for the card, will not share or sell data to third-party companies. If you're looking to limit how many companies know how much you spent at the bar last weekend, Apple seems to be setting an example for the banking industry.

Beyond keeping your information away from third parties, the Apple Card appears to set a new standard for credit card fraud protection. The physical card has no card number, no CVV, no expiration and no signature — just your name and a chip. To access those card numbers when making a purchase online, card holders will need to pull up their card in the Wallet app. Additionally, the Apple Card features a "one-time unique dynamic security code" that changes after each purchase you make, adding another layer of protection against fraud.

Apple's rewards structure won't attract interest from anyone carrying premium credit cards. The 3% on purchases made with Apple/2% on mobile purchases/1% on purchases made with the physical card deal can't compete with 5x points with airlines, lounge access, complimentary WeWork access and the other lucrative offers that swirl in the high-end credit card landscape. But the company could prove to be a difference-maker in the way that credit card companies approach entry-level card holders.

Featured image by Zach Honig.