After more than 2 months with the Apple Card, I've never felt more attached to my iPhone

Apple CardHollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • The Apple Card has made it harder than ever for me to give up my iPhone- an observation that may not sound too surprising but became very real for me when I tried switching to Android.
  • Using my iPhone to make daily purchases and keep track of my spending has made it all the more difficult to switch to Android.
  • There are benefits that come with switching to the Apple Card, but I've found that it comes at the cost of willingly feeling locked into Apple's ecosystem.
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Switching between Android and iOS can feel burdensome, despite the efforts that companies like Google and Apple have made to make migrating to their respective platforms as seamless as possible. Even if you're generally familiar with how both operating systems work, it usually still takes some time to before you feel comfortably at home after making the switch.

But when your credit card lives on your phone in an app that's exclusive to one operating system, switching between Android and iOS isn't just slightly uncomfortable - it feels nearly impossible. I experienced this firsthand when I recently swapped out my iPhone 11 Pro to try out Google's new Pixel 4. Since I've been using the Apple Card as one of the two primary credit cards I typically reach for in my day-to-day transactions - my morning cup of coffee or Uber ride home after a night out - I quickly found myself missing my iPhone.

It's unclear what Apple Card adoption has been like since its launch in August. But if part of Apple's intention with its new credit card is to provide more of an incentive for iPhone users to remain loyal to its platform, that plan has seemingly worked on me. After spending more than two months with the Apple Card, my iPhone has felt more essential than ever before.

Here's a closer look at what it's been like to use the Apple Card for almost three months.

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I pay for nearly everything with my iPhone, and rarely find myself reaching for my wallet.

I pay for nearly everything with my iPhone, and rarely find myself reaching for my wallet.

Companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google have made it possible to pay for goods and services with your phone for years. All three companies launched their own respective mobile wallets around the 2014-2015 timeframe: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay, the latter of which was initially branded as Android Pay.

But if you're anything like me, Apple Pay has mostly served as a backup to my normal credit card when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores or dining out. I would usually pull out my credit card and only resort to my phone if I was in a rush and didn't want to dig out my wallet if it was buried in my backpack or purse.

There are a few reasons for this. For one, it's not always clear which retailers accept Apple Pay and which ones don't, although Apple says that 65% of all retail locations across the US support it. And the last thing anyone wants when they're shopping is to hold up the line because their method of payment isn't working.

But more broadly, changing user behavior is hard. If I'm used to reaching for my wallet, it's going to take a strong incentive to get me to change my ways.

The Apple Card, however, provides that motivation. That's because you get 2% cash back on any purchase made through Apple Pay, and only 1% if you use the optional physical titanium card. The sleek look and feel of Apple's tangible card certainly makes you want to use it. But as time went on, I found myself reaching for it less and less.

There are also some security benefits that come from using Apple Pay more often. Apple doesn't share your actual credit card number with retailers when you use Apple Pay — rather, it shares a device number it's generated that's specific to your iPhone. That means you're sharing your credit card number far less often, which in theory should make it more difficult for thieves to steal it.

I'm generally more aware of my transactions and how much I'm spending — at least on this specific card.

I'm generally more aware of my transactions and how much I'm spending — at least on this specific card.

Before the Apple Card, I would usually only check my credit card balance occasionally as it got closer to a payment deadline. I would only go through my monthly transactions line-by-line if my balance seemed higher than usual. These habits may not be the best practices for keeping a close eye on your budget, but it was more than enough to make sure all of my bills were paid in full on time.

Nearly every major credit card and bank has a mobile app these days, making it easy to manage your finances on the go. But since the Apple Card is mostly meant to be used digitally, I find myself scrolling through my latest transactions in the Wallet app almost as frequently as I would browse Instagram or Facebook. It's just become a part of my routine, whereas with other cards, I don't really browse through my statements unless I'm paying a balance.

The downside, however, is that this only really holds true for expenses charged to my Apple Card. I take care of my other bills through my bank's website and app, which allows me to handle all of my credit cards and bills through one portal. Because you need Apple's Wallet app to manage the Apple Card, those expenses often feel isolated from the rest.

Overall, the Apple Card has made me feel more dependent on my iPhone — for better or for worse.

Overall, the Apple Card has made me feel more dependent on my iPhone — for better or for worse.

I knew that signing up for an Apple Card would further bind me to the iPhone. But that didn't become real to me until I switched to Android and suddenly had to adjust how I go about daily routines, like ordering dinner, grabbing a coffee, or taking an Uber.

After more than two months with the Apple Card, I've found that I'm reaching for my phone more often to make daily purchases, and that the Wallet app has made it easier to keep track of my finances. Taken together, those perks have made me more attached to my iPhone than ever before.

But it also means that Apple's grip on me as a consumer has grown even tighter, at a time when the influence and reach of tech behemoths like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon is under more scrutiny than ever before.

It's already getting increasingly difficult to use products and services that aren't operated by one of these companies. Registering for a credit card that's owned by one of them hasn't made that any easier.

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