Apple Card Review Roundup: “Just Short of Being Magical”

The Apple Card has been rolling out to users over the past couple weeks, and a number of publications have reviewed the revolutionary new credit card.

If you’re among the Apple faithful, it’s certainly worth taking a look at the Apple Card. The card, issued by Goldman Sachs, reserves its best rewards for Apple purchases and transactions made using Apple Pay, which makes it less of a physical card than it is an incentive program for using Apple’s proprietary technology.

Here’s what people have had to say about the card since it rolled out over the past couple weeks.

The Balance praises the card’s fantastic rewards rates on Apple Pay purchases:

Seventy-four of the top 100 retailers in the U.S. accept Apple Pay and continues to add partners, most recently Uber. The company also says 65% of all retail locations in the country support the contactless transaction format, so if you shop at any of those places, you have a good opportunity to rake in rewards. The card’s rewards rate on Apple Pay purchases is on par with and sometimes better than the best flat-rate rewards cards on the market.

However, despite the great rewards for Apple Pay, The Balance notes that the non-Apple related rewards rate isn’t so great:

The physical Apple Card may look cool, but there’s no reason to carry it with you if you’re open to having more than one credit card. Cards like the Capital One Quicksilver or Chase Freedom Unlimited offer a better rewards rate on all purchases.

Mashable‘s Raymond Wong notes that the card’s application process is incredibly simple and fast:

Applying for Apple Card couldn’t have been easier. All you have to do is sign up to get invited and then open up the Wallet app on your iPhone (must be running iOS 12.4 or later) and tap the “+” icon.

Assuming you’ve got good credit (Goldman Sachs, the Apple Card’s issuer, is accepting subprime users), you should get approved in just a few minutes. It took less than 3 minutes for me.

Wong does, however, note that purchases made with the physical Apple Card receive a meagre one percent cash back rate:

The most disappointing thing about Apple Card is how little you get back using the physical card — only 1 percent cash back. I get that the whole point of Apple Card is to incentivize the use of the digital card. The titanium card is there almost as a backup — for places that don’t accept Apple Pay — but 1 percent cash back is mediocre. 

If Apple Card is your only credit card and you’re paying for something at a place that doesn’t accept  Apple Pay, then you have no choice but to swipe your titanium card. But, if you have another credit card with better rewards, then the physical Apple card becomes pretty useless.

iMore‘s Lory Gil is a big fan of the payment system built into the iPhone:

If you were to ask me what the single best feature of the Apple Card is, I’d say it’s how fast and easy it is to make payments, whether one-time or scheduled. If I wanted to, I could pay off every transaction I made after it went through. There’s no penalty to make a one-time payment (or make multiple one-time payments) and paying off any amount of your balance is as easy as it is to buy something using Apple Pay.

Gil feels that the Apple Card interface is average, at best. “I’ve only had my Apple Card for a couple of weeks, so I don’t have a lot of historical data to explore, but the basics are there, and they’re fairly basic.”

Ed Oswald of Digital Trends says that while the Apple Card isn’t the best credit card on the market, it is a great option for those with fair or average credit:

I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Apple Card is the best credit card out there, because it’s not. If you’re at a spot without Apple Pay, the 1% cashback is paltry. There’s also the fact that if you lose your phone, there’s no current way to manage your account. There’s no Android app (and there likely will never be one), and there’s no option to make payments on the web. You’re locked in, and that might be enough to scare some away.

But the apparent wide net that Goldman Sachs and Apple are casting for Apple Card may make it an attractive option for those with fair or average credit. For these folks, rewards card options are limited. Capital One’s Quicksilver One (with a $39 fee, Apple has none), and Citi’s Double Cash card are the best options. When comparing Apple Card to these cards, Apple’s offer is competitive, and potentially better.

Mashable‘s Raymond Wong sums up his Apple Card experience by calling it “magical:”

As much as I enjoyed using Apple Card, I can now say it’s just short of being magical. The credit card’s interface is both gorgeous and practical, and I really appreciate the security aspects (i.e. you can request a new card number in the Wallet app if, say, a merchant suffers a data breach), but at the end of the day, Apple Card is a way to further lock you into the Apple ecosystem.

Think about it: You use an Apple Card to make purchases, get Daily Cash back to then either send to your friends over iMessage or spend on other Apple stuff (products, services, etc.). The digital credit card itself is managed entirely through your iPhone, which makes it all but impossible to get an Android phone in the future.

Overall, let’s be honest here — an Apple Card is going to be a badge of honour for hardcore Mac and iPhone fans. Fortunately, it’s about as easy to use as a credit card can be. Too bad it’s not available in Canada, yet.