Apple is one of the most popular companies in the world. Its fanbase is ferociously loyal. Heck, if you’re even pondering whether you should get an Apple Card in the first place, you’re probably one of those fans.
But does the card actually fit your Apple-centric lifestyle?
Maybe, but only if you’re an avid Apple user. Otherwise, this no annual fee card is horrendous for anyone who doesn’t own an iPhone. The only meaningful return you’ll get with this card is when it’s used through Apple Pay — up to 3%. In which case, it’s pretty decent for a no annual fee card.
Overview of the Apple Card
- Best for: Anyone who frequently makes payments via Apple Pay
- Annual fee: $0
- APR: See terms.
- Intro offer: None
- Rewards: 3% Daily Cash at select merchants using Apple Pay; 2% Daily Cash on all other purchases using Apple Pay; 1% Daily Cash on all purchases when using your physical Apple Card
- Unique features: Waived interest payments when purchasing Apple products; free budgeting software for your iPhone
Pros and cons of the Apple Card
- Decent return rate — You’ll get 3% cash back with a select few merchants and 2% back on all other purchases when using Apple Pay.
- Rewards are instant — The cash back you earn is deposited into your account the same day it’s earned.
- No annual fee — This card is free to keep forever.
- Interest-free financing for Apple products — You can purchase a new Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc., via Apple Card Monthly Installments and pay no interest.
- No sign-up bonus — Most cards (even those with no annual fee) offer some form of sign-up bonus. The Apple Card drops the ball here.
- Rewards can only be used as cash — Many competing cash back cards provide the option to convert your rewards into airline miles and hotel points. The Apple Card isn’t one of them.
- Awful return rate for those who don’t use Apple Pay — You’ll receive a meager 1% cash back when you swipe your Apple Card instead of making your payment through Apple Pay.
Apple Card in-depth analysis
The Apple Card earns Daily Cash, which is cash back that deposits into your account the same day you earn it. You won’t have to wait until the end of your billing cycle like most other rewards cards.
Here are the card’s earning rates:
- 3% Daily Cash for purchases through Apple Pay with Apple, Ace Hardware, Duane Reade, Exxon, Mobil, Nike, Panera Bread, T-Mobile, Uber/Uber Eats, and Walgreens
- 2% Daily Cash for all other purchases through Apple Pay
- 1% Daily Cash for all purchases made with your physical Apple Card
As you can see, if you don’t own an iPhone, the card greatly underperforms when compared to other no annual fee cash back credit cards.
Well, more specifically, no sign-up bonus.
This is a big deal. You’ll get no bonus incentive for opening the Apple Card. Contrast that with other no annual fee cards, such as:
- Citi Custom Cash℠ Card — $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® — Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
- Chase Ink Business Cash® Credit Card — $900 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
Apple is confident enough in its ongoing card benefits to snub you on a welcome offer.
The Apple Card doesn’t charge an annual fee. That means there’s very little risk to opening it. You can take it for a test drive for a year and decide if it fits your lifestyle. If not, you can cancel it if you like — no harm done.
Or, even better, you can simply throw it in your sock drawer. The longer you keep the card, the more it will benefit your “credit history,” which is an important factor in improving your credit score. Just make sure to use it once or twice every six months — some credit card issuers will proactively cancel your credit card if you never use it.
This card prides itself on its lack of fees. Not only is there no annual fee, but there are no foreign transaction fees or late fees, either.
Just note that late fees will result in additional interest. If you don’t pay your balance in full, you’re subject to a variable APR rate, based on your creditworthiness.
Special financing for Apple products
One of the biggest draws of this card (again, only if you’re a feverish Apple user) is its ability to waive interest payments when purchasing a new Apple product. You can simply charge your new device to your Apple Card and choose “Apple Card Monthly Installments” at checkout. Your installment plan will then automatically show up on your card statement in your Wallet app.
If you make a habit of purchasing new Apple devices, this could save you loads of money. Plus, you’ll still earn 3% back for those purchases.
Financial health tools
The Apple Card brings with it helpful finance-tracking tools that will appear in your Wallet app. You can view your week-by-week or month-by-month spending habits, with color-coded categories to help you more easily identify your personal trends.
You’ve even got a geographic location of each purchase — so if there’s a transaction you don’t recognize, you can see where it occurred.
Apple Card vs. the competition
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Annual fee: $0
- Intro offer: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
- Rewards: 5% cash back on travel purchased through the Chase Travel Portal; 3% cash back at restaurants and on drugstore purchases; 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
- Unique feature: You can convert your cash back to Chase Ultimate Rewards® points (super useful for travel) if you also hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.
We consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited® one of the best credit cards for everyday spending — particularly because it’s possible to turn the cash back you earn into airline miles or hotel points. You can quite effortlessly double the value of your rewards by doing this.
However, if you’re most interested in cash back, the Apple Card can outperform the Chase Freedom Unlimited® for non-bonused spending, as you can earn 2% Daily Cash for purchases through Apple Pay. Mobile wallets are accepted just about everywhere these days.
Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card
- Annual fee: $0
- Intro offer: None
- Rewards: 5% cash back on quarterly rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter (you must activate this offer); 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Unique feature: Discover will match all the cash back you earn during your first 12 billing cycles
The Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card frequently offers rotating 5% bonus categories that are super useful. Think Amazon, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. These categories change every three months.
And during your first 12 billing cycles, this rate effectively doubles to 10%, as Discover will match the cash back you earn. This rewards match means you’ll also get effectively 2% cash back on all other purchases.
If you don’t have the mental bandwidth to handle rotating categories, the Apple Card is the easier option. As long as you make payments with Apple Pay, you’ll receive at least 2% cash back.
Should you get the Apple Card?
Is the Apple Card worth it for you?
Well, if you’ve immersed yourself within the Apple ecosystem — you regularly use Apple Pay to make purchases, you always want the cutting-edge Apple products, etc. — this card will fit into your wallet like a glove.
But literally anyone else should look elsewhere. Competing no-annual-fee cards come with huge sign-up bonuses, flexible rewards that can be turned into valuable travel currencies, and less niche ongoing benefits.
How to apply for the Apple Card
You can apply for the Apple Card via the Apple Card website or open your Wallet app on your iPhone. You must use your Apple ID to apply.
You can see if you’re approved without any impact to your credit score. You’ll be given your credit limit, and you can begin using the card immediately via your phone — no need to wait for your card to arrive by mail.
Unfortunately, the Apple Card doesn’t really overperform in any category. It earns a maximum of 3% cash back, which competing cards can do. You can receive 2% cash back for nearly every purchase, which competing cards can do.
Its only ace in the hole is its 0% interest when buying products through Apple. If that’s important to you, go for it! For everyone else, there are more lucrative options.