By Jason Snell
August 31, 2019 10:17 AM PT
We Like: Apple Card
Yeah, I got the Apple credit card. Not because I was excited to get it, but because I write about Apple and I felt like I really needed to understand it.
There are a lot of hot takes out there about the Apple Card, because it’s an Apple product and there’s nothing guaranteed to get clicks and increase user engagement than writing about new Apple products.
But here’s the thing: the Apple Card is good for a lot of boring reasons. (The ridiculous titanium physical credit card is not one of them.)
If you’re someone who tactically uses different credit cards in different places in order to maximize card benefits, or pays for a specific rewards card that perfectly aligns with your purchase patterns, the Apple Card is not going to work for you.
As for me, at one point my wife told me to buy gas for one month with a certain card in order to maximize our cash-back points and I could never remember it. I’m a default-credit-card user. Running my own business has helped a little—I generally remember to use the green card for business expenses and the blue card for personal ones—but I’m not someone who wants to tactically use credit cards in order to maximize benefits.
For people like me—and I believe there are a lot more people who are lazy like me than are actively pursuing credit card deals—the Apple Card is a pretty good set-it-and-forget-it option. I do buy a lot of Apple products, and the percentage back on those is solid. I use Apple Pay a lot as well, and the card provides incentives for that. And all the cash rewards drop onto an Apple Cash card daily, with no work required on my end to redeem it, which is exactly the amount of work I like to put into credit-card rewards.
I also like Apple’s approach to security and privacy. Its bank partner, Goldman Sachs, is basically restrained from reselling customer data. The number on the physical credit card is different from the number you use for online non-Apple Pay transactions, and you can change that online number at will. The result is that you’re using different numbers in different places, which makes it less likely you’ll have a number stolen and easier for you to move to a new number if it is.
Is the Apple Card revolutionary? No, it’s not. It’s Apple pulling as many levers as it can to make a good credit card, within the rules that govern the U.S. banking system. Apple Card has got a bunch of features that I would expect other credit cards will copy in short order. Better security features, more privacy, and immediate cash back—with an incentive to use Apple Pay, which I already use as often as possible—made it easy for me to make the Apple Card the new default credit card on my Apple Watch and iPhone.