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Apple products are pretty, powerful and, unfortunately, really pricey. If you're a die-hard Apple-head who can't live without the latest iPhone, the fastest MacBook or the flashiest Apple Watch, the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards credit card may make an alluring addition to your wallet. After all, it offers deferred financing on introductory Apple purchases, which makes it a tempting option when you're at the Apple Store deciding how to pay for your newest tech toy. But deferred financing is probably the only thing this card has going for it. When it comes to everyday spending, there's no discernible upside to having the card. When the introductory period runs out, the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards could actually end up being more of a liability than an asset.
Apple recently issued its own card with cashback rewards. Visit our Apple Credit Card page for our review of that card.
Barclaycard Financing Visa: A functional financing tool for Apple enthusiasts
If you're a Mac master or an Apple evangelist, the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards might be a decent card to have. That is, if you're clear on why it's worth getting — for its introductory deferred-financing offer, which can make Apple's high prices a little easier to swallow for consumers on a budget.
Financing options for Apple purchases
The Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards was designed with one purpose in mind: making it easier for cash-strapped consumers to acquire the latest Apple devices and accessories. It offers "special financing" on Apple purchases within the first 30 days of opening an account. Financing terms are based on purchase amount:
- If you spend less than $499, you receive financing for six months.
- If you spend more than $499, but less than $999, you receive financing for 12 months.
- If you spend $999 or more, you receive financing for 18 months.
Interest charges will be deferred for the length of the promotional financing period. If you buy a pair of Apple AirPods for $159, that means you have six months to pay for them, during which time you won't accrue any interest. Likewise, if you buy a MacBook Pro for $2,399, you'll have 18 months to pay for it interest-free. If you're on a budget, that means you can afford the aforementioned AirPods or MacBook Pro — without dipping into savings — by setting aside roughly $30 a month or $135 a month, respectively.
Interest kicks in as soon as your promotional financing period expires. If you haven't paid off your purchase by that time, not only will you be charged a high APR — 14.99%-27.99% Variable depending on your creditworthiness — but you'll also have to pay interest as if it had been accruing throughout the entire promotional period. That's because, unlike traditional "0% APR" cards, interest is deferred, not waived. So, at 18 months and one day, if you have just 1 cent left to pay on your MacBook Pro, you'll pay the principal, plus a full 18 months' worth of interest. If you have a 26.99% APR, that's almost $1,000 in interest.
Also worth noting is the fine print: Apple purchases only qualify for deferred financing if they're made in person at an Apple Store, online via Apple's website or over the phone at 1-800-MY-APPLE. If you buy an Apple product at a third-party retailer, it doesn't qualify. And in case you were planning to finance the entire Rolling Stones catalog, purchases on Apple's iTunes store don't qualify either.
Although there's not much benefit to using the card after the promotional financing period ends, its $0 annual fee means it won't cost you anything to have it in your wallet once you've paid down its balance.
The Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards doesn't have many features to speak of beyond deferred financing. In fact, it only offers two: $0 fraud liability protection, which means you're not responsible for purchases you didn't authorize, and identity theft protection, which gives you 24/7 support in case you are a victim of identity theft. Both are standard fare that you can easily find with other cards.
That said, if your credit is strong enough, you may be approved for a Visa Signature version of the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards, which comes with additional benefits, including:
- Travel and emergency services assistance
- Special guest status at participating luxury hotels
- Access to a 24/7 concierge who can assist you with travel arrangements, shopping and more
- Invitations to exclusive food and wine events
- Extended warranty protection
- Roadside assistance
- Supplemental car rental insurance
ValuePenguin's verdict: A lackluster card with limited utility
If you're dying to get your hands on an expensive Apple product, and you don't have enough cash on hand to pay for it outright, the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards can help you scratch your Apple itch. Because the card's promotional offer only defers interest, however, using it is a major risk; just one late payment could cost you hundreds of dollars, and the lack of side benefits means there's little incentive for making that kind of gamble. Ultimately, there are better, low-interest cards that can put the same Apple products in your pocket with significantly more value added.
Alternatives to the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards card
If your goal is to make Apple products more accessible by breaking a large expense into smaller monthly payments, the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards might well be your best option. In the larger scheme of things, however, a better goal than making Apple products more accessible is making Apple products more affordable — which you can do by opting for a cashback card, the rewards from which will actually reduce the net cost of your Apple purchases. Here are three cards to consider.
Generous cash back on Apple purchases - Apple Credit Card
For true Apple acolytes, Apple's own credit card, the Apple Credit Card, is hard to beat. Designed to live primarily on your phone for making digital payments (although cardholders also receive a physical card ) it promises "daily cash" with "no points" and "no gimmicks." Every time you use it, you receive a cash balance on your card; you get 2% Daily Cash every time you use Apple Card with Apple Pay, 3% Daily Cash on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, apple.com, the App Store, the iTunes Store and for Apple services, and using Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats.
What makes the card such a winner for Apple fans, however, is that you get 3% cash back on all purchases from Apple, including not only Apple devices and accessories, but also apps from Apple's app store, music from Apple's iTunes store and services like Apple Music subscription and iCloud storage plan. If you spend $2,399 on a MacBook Pro, that means you'll get approximately $72 cash back just for buying it, which instantaneously reduces the cost of your new computer to $2,327. If you regularly transact with Apple, the savings become even greater. If you use your card enough — on gas, groceries, bills and other non-Apple purchases — you could even earn enough cash back over a period of years to pay for your entire device.
And, speaking of financing Apple products, the Apple card offers a 24-month installment plan for iPhone purchases, without having to worry about deferred interest down the line. Unfortunately, there's no sign-up bonus or promotion. But like the Barclays Visa® with Apple Rewards, there's also No Annual Fee.
Maximum cashback for strategic spenders - Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it® Cash Back is a gold mine for anyone who is both disciplined enough and patient enough to plan their purchases strategically. Here's how it works: Cardholders receive 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. For 2021, the categories include grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS (January-March), gas stations, select streaming services and wholesale clubs (April-June), restaurants and PayPal (July-September), Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com (October-December). If you're buying an $849 iPhone 11, you could potentially earn $42.45 in cash back if you buy it from Costco in May, or from Amazon in November.
The Discover it® Cash Back card has a unique benefit that sweetens the pot even further: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300. In one fell swoop, that doubles the savings on your iPhone 11 from $42.45 to $84.90. If you use the card for other purchases — your cash back earnings can be even greater.
Simple, no-fuss rewards - Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
- One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%-25.49% variable APR after that
- Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
If you like the concept of cash back — i.e., reducing the cost of a big Apple purchase by way of earning cash rewards — but don't want to bother with keeping track of specific spending categories, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is an ideal choice. Although you won't reap as large a return, you'll enjoy simple, straightforward savings on your Apple purchase. Specifically, the $0-annual-fee Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. If you buy a $799 Apple Watch, that means you'll get $12 cash back.
The savings are even greater when you consider the card's attractive sign-up bonus: One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. If you use your card to buy the same Apple Watch shortly after you get it, that means your savings will increase from $12 to $162 — effectively reducing the cost of your Apple Watch to just $637.
As part of its sign-up bonus, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers an APR of 0% intro on purchases for 15 months (15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) APR, thereafter). So not only do you have to pay just $637 for your Apple Watch, but you have 15 months to pay it interest-free. Because the foreign transaction fees are None, you can even feel free to buy your Apple Watch while you're traveling overseas.