Apple Credit Card: Is it worth it?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Citi is an advertising partner

The Apple Credit Card is a great option for those who use Apple products and want to be rewarded for doing so. With a no-fee policy and helpful money-management features, the card has something to offer every Apple user. The Apple Credit Card won’t be found in your wallet; rather it resides in your iPhone in your virtual Wallet app. However, for transactions that aren’t made using Apple Pay, Apple issues a titanium card.

Apple Credit Card: Generous rewards for some, user-friendly benefits for all

Those who spend a lot of money on Apple products and regularly pull out their iPhones to use Apple Pay will see the biggest rewards from this card. However, a no-fee policy can help all cardholders save money.

Cash back depends on what — and how — you buy

The amount of cash back you get depends upon what items you buy and how you buy them.

  • You get the most cash back — 3% — when you buy anything from Apple, so there is an incentive to order that new iPhone or iMac Pro. You also get 3% cash back when you shop with certain merchants like Uber and T-Mobile.
  • You get 2% daily cash back whenever you buy something using the Apple Credit Card with Apple Pay.
  • Finally, you get 1% daily cash back if you use your card with a retailer that does not accept Apple Pay.

While the 3% cash back is generous if you buy a lot of Apple products, the 2% cashback category is restrictive — if a retailer doesn’t accept Apple Pay, you’ll only get 1% cash back. Many other cashback cards allow you to earn up to 2% on most purchases.

Unlike some other cash back cards, such as the Discover it® Cash Back and the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Apple Credit Card has no sign-up bonus to reward new customers.

Cash back redemption on a daily basis

One of the most gratifying features of the Apple Credit Card is the fact that you don’t have to wait for your rewards. Every day, whenever you use your credit card, your cash back is deposited in the Apple Cash card located in the Wallet app. From there, you can spend the money in a number of ways. You can pay for items or services with it, make a credit card payment or even transfer it from the Cash card to your bank account.

Never need to worry about fees

If you’ve ever forgotten to pay your credit card bill and found yourself slammed with a late fee, you know how such charges can add up. Fortunately, the Apple Credit Card charges no fees at all.

Apple claims that they charge no fees so you can focus on paying down balances sooner. You never have to worry about late fees, annual fees, reward-redemption fees, foreign transaction fees or over-the-limit fees. As a result, you’ll always know what you owe upfront.

Interest-free financing on your next iPhone

Scoring 3% cash back isn’t the only perk for users of Apple products. The Apple Credit Card also lets you upgrade to the latest iPhone model with special financing.

Use your Apple Credit Card to buy your next iPhone, and you can pay for it in 24 monthly installments interest-free. If you trade in your current iPhone, you’ll receive credit for it and your interest-free monthly payments will likely be lower. In addition to the interest-free financing, you’ll also get 3% cash back for the purchase.

Money management features to help pay down debt

A credit card can open up a world of spending power to you — as long as you use it wisely and manage your finances in a savvy way. Certain features in the Wallet app help you do just that.

There is no need to wait for a card issuer to send you a year-end summary of your spending. Your wallet app lets you track all of your Apple Credit Card spending so you can see how well you’re sticking to your budget, as well as the top categories you’re spending in.

If you don’t remember making certain purchases, a literal map of where you spent the money can help you retrace your steps.

For those who carry a balance, the interest calculator is designed to nudge you to make larger payments so you spend less on interest over time. When you designate how much you will pay, the interest calculator lets you know how much in interest you’ll end up paying based on that amount.

Security and privacy protections

Every Apple Credit Card comes with a unique device number that is created and stored on your iPhone. That number is required for every purchase, along with a one-time dynamic security code that is generated for every transaction.

To authorize a transaction, your Apple Credit Card depends on either Face ID or Touch ID. As a result, someone without your face or your fingerprint could not use your Apple Credit Card if they got hold of your phone.

Also, the physical version of the card has no numbers on it, making it impossible for a thief to steal your credit card number to make a fraudulent purchase.

Apple believes that “privacy is a fundamental human right.” Though the Apple Credit Card lets you generate your spending history on your phone, Apple does not store, sell or use information about your spending habits.

Also since Apple uses the unique device number rather than store credit card numbers, there is no card number to be shared with merchants.

Card application process starts from your phone

Applying for the Apple Credit Card is as simple as opening the Wallet app and clicking the + sign at the top of the screen. Then, you will see a screen that gives you the option of applying for the card.

There are a number requirements to get an Apple Credit Card:

  • You must have an iPhone 6 or later model with the latest version of the iOS.
  • You must use two-factor authentication — a second method of verifying your identity on top of your password — with your Apple ID.
  • You must sign into iCloud with your Apple ID.

Goldman Sachs, who issues the Apple Credit Card, will review your credit score, credit report and your stated income to determine whether they will extend credit to you.

When you apply, Goldman Sachs initially does a soft credit pull, which allows them to check your credit without affecting your score. Through that soft credit pull, they are able to let you know what your credit limit and APR would be. If you accept the offer, they will then do a hard pull of your credit, which could impact your credit score. Once you accept the offer, the card will be added to your wallet. You can also request your physical titanium Apple Credit Card, to be used when a retailer does not accept Apple Pay.

Value Penguin’s verdict: Great card for those who buy Apple products and those paying down debt

For those who buy a lot of Apple products and regularly use Apple Pay, the Apple Credit Card is a no-brainer. The 3% cash back on Apple products and the 2% cash back on transactions made using Apple Pay can add up. The ability to access cash back on a daily basis makes this card even more appealing.

However, for those who are paying down debt, the Apple Credit Card has even more to offer. Since the card charges no fees, more of your money can be put toward the balance. Also the interest calculator can help you see in real time how larger payments can cut down on the interest racked up over time.

Alternatives to the Apple Credit Card

Not everyone wants to worry about whether a retailer supports Apple Pay. These cards below may be appealing to those who want the same rewards no matter where they shop.

2 ways to earn unlimited cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • On Citi's Secure Website

No Annual Fee

13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Excellent

  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% - 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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If you’re craving simplicity in your quest for rewards, you might find the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer card to have an easier rewards structure to keep up with. The card lets you Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.

For those who don’t buy a lot of Apple products or don’t want to worry about shopping with certain merchants, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer may offer a more constant flow of rewards.

Unlimited cash back with a sign-up bonus to boot: Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
This product is not available through ValuePenguin.
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Like the Apple Credit Card, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card makes rewards available as soon as charges are cleared on the card. However, you don’t have to spend time figuring out which reward level you’re going to get since the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card also offers a one-time $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. This gives you an extra incentive to choose this card for your credit needs.

Generous rewards when you time your spending: Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it® Cash Back can offer more generous rewards than the Apple Credit Card if you are strategic. It lets you earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter, up to a quarterly maximum each time you activate. It also doubles the cash back you earned in your first year of spending.

As long as you plan your annual spending to take advantage of the rewards calendar, you may find yourself in a better position.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).