Saurabh Gandhe I am a Coder!

A Week with the new Apple Card – Good, Bad and Reality

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Apple is not only known for the innovation,but also taking an experience and perfecting it, and they’ve certainly given the credit card experience a good run here. When it comes down to brass tacks, it’s simply another credit card, but it’s made by Apple. For many, that’s enough right there. For the rest, check out the hands on with the new Apple Card. Made by Apple, not a bank.

The Invite:

I asked Apple to notify me when applications opened up, so when I got the email invite I immediately went to sign up. It wasn’t a surprise, but I sure was excited! As a loyal Apple customer for so many years, I felt a distinct thrill from each product even though I haven’t purchased iconic items like an iPad or Apple watch on the first day. This was no different. You are loyal or not, the apple experience is what it is.

Application Process:

It was by far the simplest process I have ever seen. All my information was already filled in. The only thing I had to do was enter my annual income and the last four of my social. Instantly, I was presented with the terms and a choice to either accept them or reject the card.

Features:

Its Apple Card

The only two features which stood out to me were the “Daily Cash” and “Virtual Credit Card Number.” The Daily Cash is just their term for giving cash back, and while calling it “Daily” might be a bit of a stretch, the cash back showed on my account faster than other card companies I’ve worked with. However, it was the Virtual Credit Card Number that really got me excited.

Virtual Credit Card Number:

I have always wanted this feature, and I have tried to use it at other lending companies, but I could never get it to work! With the Apple Card, you can go to card information in the Wallet app and within two clicks, bam, there’s your virtual number. Another tap is all it takes to refresh the number and get a new one. Apple is known for polishing things down to a mirror-shine, and with this feature, they hit a home run. Simple, and easy to use.

Activity Tracking:

I’ve used the Wallet App to add cards before, and you can see recent activity there, but with the Apple Card, you do get a little more information. The best part was the ease at which you can track purchases and categorize items. I’ve tried to use other apps to track my spending before, but I have never found it as intuitive as with the Apple Card.

Physical Card:

apple-card-first-look
Its Apple Card

One of my favorite parts of Apple products is the sheer amount of design work they put into even the simplest things. Who has looked at an iPhone or a Macbook and not been awed by the beauty? Their track record stays intact with the Apple Card. It’s sleek, minimal, and gorgeous. You’ll notice the difference the moment you pick it up, too. It feels solid. The titanium construction definitely makes a statement that this is different from the standard plastic card.

Card Activation:

I received the physical card in 3-4 days. Once again, simple wins the day. Wake up your iPhone, put it next to the envelop, and you’re all set. It was actually fun to activate it that way, although I must admit, the activation process for most cards has become so streamlined that this wasn’t much faster. But, it’s apple, so they had to do something different, and they did.

Real Experience:

With the Apple Card in my wallet, I went to some of my regular shops. Target was first on my list, and I immediately noticed a problem. I already have a Target Card with a 5% discount; much higher than the 2% from Apple. But, dang it, I wanted to use my new card, so I did! Opening my app after I was done, I instantly saw the transaction along with a little note letting me know I got my 2%. Nice! I tried Wegmans next, and got the same result. Though at the end of the day it was the same as using Apple Pay with a different card, it was fun and easy to use. I have yet to use the card via Safari and iCloud chain, but that’s pretty similar to other cards I have in there.

The Problems:

In theory, Apple Pay is accepted at many major and local vendors. The odds are you can find a place that accepts it, but it’s not always easy. For example, at Wegmans, it’s accepted at main counters, but not at all of them. It is a Mastercard, though, so even if you can’t use Apple Pay, you should be able to use it. You’ll only get 1% back on those purchases, but at least you won’t be stuck without a method of payment. 

There are other potential pitfalls, such as Target’s own card giving a better return when shopping at those stores, and problems with the app and process might float to the surface over the next few months, but those should be minimal problems for Apple loyalists.

Conclusion:

When it comes down to Apple fans, this is another toy in the box. The great return on Apple product purchases should make it a no-brainer when buying your newest Apple gadgets, and it has quality features to make it a contender in the competitive world of credit card benefits. As is true for most Apple products, it’s the little extras that make the ordinary, extraordinary. 

There is, of course, that rush from experiencing something new. Whether it’s buying a car or opening your first bank account, there’s something special about bringing something unfamiliar into your life.

With a 2% cash back on Apple Pay and 1% cash back on all other purchases, it’s similar to other cash back systems. You can find cards with more generous cash back offers if that’s something that matters to you, but for most people, it’s the Apple-specific features which will draw them in and keep them here. The only question left is how many Android users with good credit will be interested in the “Apple Experience?”

If you’re not an Apple die-hard, there might be other cards out there with a better suite of features, but for those who already love what Apple brings to the table, what are you waiting for?

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By Saurabh
Saurabh Gandhe I am a Coder!

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