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Reviews

Is the Apple Card worth the hype?

Select reviews the Apple credit card for its benefits and features.

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Source: Apple
Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers, but not all offers on Select are from affiliate partners.

Loyal Apple consumers may wonder if the Apple Card lives up to the hype and whether the no-fee card is truly the best choice for Apple purchases.

Below, Select breaks down all you need to know about the Apple Card — from the cash-back program to fees, payments, fine print, privacy and security.

Apple credit card review

Apple Card

Information about the Apple Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple (including Apple retail stores, the Apple online store, the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and other Apple-owned properties) on Uber and UberEats, at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, on the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com, in T-Mobile stores, at Nike, at Exxon and Mobil stations and at Panera Bread, 2% cash back on Apple Pay purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    10.99% to 21.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    N/A

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple, on Uber and UberEats, at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, on the Walgreens app and on Walgreens.com and in T-Mobile stores and at Nike
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • No late payment fee

Cons

  • Apple Pay isn’t accepted everywhere
  • Purchases with the physical card only earn 1% cash back
  • No special financing offers or welcome bonus
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $231
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,156

To calculate the rewards you could earn using your Apple Pay card, we assumed that cardholders will use Apple Pay for 70% of their purchases at a rate of 2% cash back, since 70% of all merchants accept Apple Pay, according to an Apple spokesperson. We also assumed the cardholder would use the physical Apple Card for the other 30% of their purchases at a rate of 1% cash back. You may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Benefits and perks

The card is similar to the design of many Apple devices — simple and efficient. The Apple card benefits are a bit lackluster, but perfect for someone who wants a simple cash back card experience. Teh card comes with:

  • Up to 3% cash back on purchases, deposited daily rather than every billing cycle
  • Digital budgeting tools in Apple Wallet app
  • Joint co-ownership to build credit with a partner or spouse
  • 24/7 text support

How to earn and redeem cash back

Apple refers to cash back as "Daily Cash," and cardholders can earn it at a rate of 3% cash back on goods or services purchased directly from Apple (including Apple retail stores, the Apple online store, the App Store, iTunes, Apple Music and other Apple-owned properties) and these select merchants:

  • Uber and UberEats
  • Panera Bread
  • Walgreens (in-store, on the app or website)
  • Ace Hardware
  • T-Mobile
  • Nike
  • Exxon and Mobil stations

All other purchases will earn 2% cash back on Apple Pay purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

If you regularly make purchases at Apple, it may seem like a no-brainer to use the Apple card — but you may find other cards with higher rewards.

For example, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card offers 5% cash back in two categories of your choosing, on up to $2,000 in combined purchases a quarter. According to a U.S. Bank spokesperson, the card's "electronics stores" category includes Apple Store in-store and online purchases while the "TV, internet and streaming services" category includes most purchases made through the App Store, Apple Music and iTunes.

Daily Cash can be used in a number of ways: applied as a statement credit to your Apple Card balance, spent like cash through Apple Pay, transferred to a bank account or sent to friends via iMessage. Unlike some rewards cards, the value of Daily Cash is the same, no matter how you redeem it.

If you don't have an active Apple Cash card, your cash back accrues in your Apple Card account, and you can manually redeem it through the Wallet app.

Rates and fees

The Apple Card has no fees whatsoever. There are no annual fees, foreign transaction fees or late payment fees.

The current variable APR is 11.24% to 22.24% based on your creditworthiness, which is pretty similar to other cards.

Unfortunately, this card doesn't offer any interest-free financing options, so if you use it to pay for big ticket purchases, such as a new iPhone, you'll want to pay the balance in full so you don't incur interest charges.

Card comparison

If you're an Apple fanatic, this card may seem like a must-have to go along with your iPhone. However, it may not be the highest-rewards credit card for your purchases. So if you're looking to earn heaps of cash back, you may want to consider these cards below.

Citi® Double Cash Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    15.49% - 25.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a solid cash back card for consumers who want ease of use and high rewards. As you spend on the card, you will earn: 2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill. And if you have lingering credit card debt, the card offers a valuable 0% intro APR on balance transfers (14.74% - 24.74% variable afterwards).

While you can earn an additional 1% on Apple products and select merchants when you use the Apple card, it's likely the overwhelming majority of your purchases will be outside of those categories.

But regardless of your card preference, be sure to run the numbers based on your spending habits to see which card will make the most sense.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening; N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    15.49% - 25.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

 

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is another great cash back credit card, with tiered rewards for different purchases. As you spend on the card, you will earn:

  • 6% cash back for every dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%),
  • 6% cash back for every dollar spent on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back for every dollar spent at U.S. gas stations, transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 1% cash back for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

The card comes with a solid $300 welcome bonus after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

This card may net you higher-rewards than the Apple Card as you can earn significant savings on both your streaming subscriptions and groceries.

Who the Apple credit card is best for

The Apple credit card is best for consumers who already own an iPhone, and enjoy simplicity and don't mind sacrificing some credit card rewards earning potential. However, it could be beneficial to someone who regularly makes purchases with Apple or the select merchants listed above.

Additionally, this card is a good fit for someone who plans on making a large purchase through Apple and wants interest free payments on their purchase.

But if you're a consumer looking for additional perks like airport lounge access among others, you may benefit from looking at other cards.

Bottom line

The Apple Card is a great choice for loyal fans of the brand who are looking for a card that seamlessly integrates with the Wallet app. However, if you don't have an iPhone or want a card with an introductory 0% APR period, you should check out alternative rewards credit cards or balance transfer cards.

Also note that while Apple Pay is accepted at 70% of merchants, according to a company spokesperson, you may run into trouble using it everywhere. Therefore, it may be a good idea to also carry the physical card.

Information about the Apple Card and Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.