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Perks on the new Apple credit card are nothing new, experts say

Key Points
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Monday that the company's new card "is uniquely positioned to make the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years."
  • Some credit card experts are less excited.
  • "Frankly, I'm underwhelmed," said Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at CreditCards.com.
Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, speaks during an Apple product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on March 25, 2019 in Cupertino, California.
Michael Short | Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Monday that the company's new credit card "is uniquely positioned to make the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years."

Some credit card experts are less excited.

"Frankly, I'm underwhelmed," said Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at CreditCards.com. "This card will get a lot of headlines, but its bark is greater than its bite."

Many credit cards come with lower interest rates than the ones Apple is boasting, Rossman said.

The rates on the Goldman Sachs-linked credit card, which the company says people in the U.S. will be able to access through their iPhones this summer, is expected to range from roughly 13 percent to 24 percent.

There will also be a physical card, made of laser-etched titanium, available.

Average annual percentage rates on credit cards hover around 17 percent today, Rossman said. Some credit unions offer rates as low as 8 percent.

The card will be a feature in the company's digital wallet service and will provide "a new level of privacy and security."

VIDEO4:1604:16
Apple reveals Apple Card digital credit card

At this point, Apple isn't sweetening the deal with a 0 percent introductory interest rate or balance transfer offers, Rossman said.

Rewards-wise, the card is also lackluster, he said.

The Apple card grants 2 percent cash back on Apple Pay transactions, 3 percent on direct Apple purchases and 1 percent on purchases with the physical card, according to the announcement Monday. The rewards are dispensed daily.

Other cards, such as the Citi Double Cash card, offer 2 percent cash back on all purchases — not just ones on Apple Pay, Rossman said.

What's more, Rossman said, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite card rewards mobile spending with 3 percent cash back or 4.5 percent off travel. "That's really interesting: U.S. Bank offers better Apple Pay rewards than Apple," Rossman said.

The Apple Card might make sense for people who frequently shop at the technology giant, said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards.com.

Still, he said, he was scratching his head at the attention the card was receiving for having no fees. "Mr. Cook might have been overselling it a little bit," he said. (For example, PenFed Credit Union has a card with no fees, and Citi has one without annual or late charges.)

"I was surprised that the offer didn't have a little more to it," Schulz added, "just because it's such a competitive space."

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