The Apple Card is Apple's biggest announcement of 2019 so far
- Apple held a big event at its Cupertino headquarters on Monday, and much of the focus was on Apple's new TV service, Apple TV Plus.
- Apple invited Hollywood A-listers like Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and even the iconic Oprah Winfrey to help celebrate the impending launch of Apple TV Plus, which will feature Apple's own original programming when it arrives this fall.
- But the biggest announcement Apple made on Monday wasn't about original TV shows, or even its new subscription services for magazines or video games. It was a credit card, called the Apple Card.
Forget Apple's new TV service coming this fall. The biggest announcement Apple made this week, full stop, is Apple Card, which is an extension of the Apple Pay service that's been around for almost 5 years now.
On September 9, 2014, at the same event where Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone 6, Apple introduced a new service called Apple Pay.
Apple Pay was created because plastic credit cards felt "outdated and vulnerable," according to Apple. Credit cards could be stolen, and a card's important numbers and security codes were exposed by default.
On Monday, Apple took its vision of Apple Pay one step further: by partnering with a pair of financial institutions (MasterCard and Goldman Sachs) to offer its own credit card, which is unlike any other credit card out there.
The Apple Card brings Apple's trademark simplicity to the credit card system. Not only did it redesign the card itself, Apple also reimagined what it looks like to pay for goods, get rewards for those goods, and pay off the card itself.
Here are the tenets of the Apple Card, and why it is Apple's biggest announcement of 2019 so far:
- Credit Card Industry and Market
- Mobile Payment Technologies
- Mobile Payments Industry
- Mobile Payment Market, Trends and Adoption
- Credit Card Processing Industry
- List of Credit Card Processing Companies
- List of Credit Card Processing Networks
- List of Payment Gateway Providers
- M-Commerce: Mobile Shopping Trends
- E-Commerce Payment Technologies and Trends
The Apple Card lives in your Wallet app on your iPhone.
Unlike other credit cards, you don’t have to wait days to get it — you can register in minutes.
The Apple Card works worldwide, in any stores with Apple Pay, and works across all Apple devices.
Apple encourages using your iPhone for Apple Pay, but it also created a physical card if you go to a place where Apple Card isn’t accepted. (This will become a status symbol in no time, just watch.)
The physical Apple Card is a traditional MasterCard made simple, with just three components: the chip, your name, and the Apple logo, all laser-etched into a single piece of titanium.
The physical Apple Card features no other visible identifying information, like exposed credit card numbers or security codes. All of that information lives in its chip and in your iPhone’s Wallet app.
In the Wallet app, you’ll see tons of information about your Apple Card: when payments are due, what you’ve spent recently, and how much you owe when it comes time to pay the bank.
Apple says it wants to give Apple Card customers “a healthier financial life,” and giving this kind of information, which is easy to read and understand, goes above and beyond what most credit card issuers currently do for their cardholders.
Most credit card companies let you view statements, which show previous transactions and payments — but they’re not always easy to identify. Sometimes the names on the transactions don’t match the places you know you’ve visited.
Apple Card uses machine learning and Apple Maps to transform those difficult-to-understand transactions into easy-to-understand purchases.
Apple Card customers can track their spending — by date, or category — and see how their own spending trends from month to month.
Apple Card has rewards, too. Every time you spend with Apple Card, you get what Apple calls “daily cash,” on every single purchase. Apple lets you see exactly how much money you’re getting with each purchase.
Unlike credit cards that give you “points,” which aren't always easy to remember or understand, Apple's "daily cash" is money you can use right away, via the Apple Cash card in your iPhone’s Wallet app.
You can send your Apple Cash to your bank account, or use it to pay off your Apple Card, or pay back friends via the Messages app.
Apple says you’ll get 2% daily cash for using Apple Pay, 3% daily cash for using Apple Pay to buy products directly from Apple, and 1% daily cash for any transactions where you use your physical Apple Card.
Apple Card also changes how you see and pay for your bills. Many banks let you pay a “minimum amount,” but it usually doesn’t tell you that paying less up front means paying more later, in the form of interest.
With Apple Card, you can schedule more frequent payments, and fine-tune your payments to control what interest, if any, you’ll be charged.
Notably, Apple insists Apple Card has “no fees,” including late fees, annual fees, international fees, or over-limit fees. Apple also says there are no hidden fees, either.
One last thing about Apple Card: If you have any questions or issues, you can simply message Apple customer service directly through the Wallet app on your iPhone. There’s no need to find a phone number, answer a bunch of automated questions, and then wait on hold for a representative.
As a consumer, I can’t help but feel excited about Apple Card. It solves a lot of the minor annoyances of owning a credit card in a really simple and beautiful way: I love that the card will be with me as long as my iPhone is on me, getting in touch with customer support looks easy, and charts will visualize my spending habits to help me improve my financial health.
Apple Card looks good from a consumer standpoint, but it also looks like a sound business decision for Apple. This credit card will encourage more people to rely on Apple to pay for goods, which ought to translate to lots of long-term revenue — especially since Apple Card is exclusive to iPhones.
Giving people rewards in the form of daily cash will also encourage people to further use the Apple ecosystem, especially since you get more cash when you buy more Apple stuff — and all of your "cash" is really inside your iPhone's Wallet app.
Many people may still prefer more established banking institutions and issuers for their credit cards, but Apple’s solution is definitely better looking, more accessible, and easier to understand compared to most cards out there.
Not everyone is interested in a new TV service, or a news service, or a games service, but money makes the world go ‘round, and the Apple Card is something that will be compelling to millions of people.
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