What is Apple Card? Are the perks worth it?

What is Apple Card? Are the perks worth it?
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
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Entering the lucrative credit card business, Apple has introduced the Apple Card that is built into the Wallet app on iPhone, offering customers a familiar experience with Apple Pay and the ability to manage the card on their devices.

Apple is partnering with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to provide the support of an issuing bank and global payments network.

The Benefits

Apple Card will simplify the application process and encourage customers to pay less interest.

What is Apple Card? Are the perks worth it?
Tim Cook introduces the Apple Card. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

No annual fees, international fees or late fees.

It will provide a new level of privacy and security.

Apple offers a reward programme with Daily Cash which gives back a percentage of every purchase as cash on customers' Apple Cash card each day.

Apple Card uses machine learning and Apple Maps to clearly label transactions with merchant names and locations.

Purchases are organised by colour-coded categories such as Food and Drinks, Shopping and Entertainment.

A unique card number is created on iPhone for Apple Card and stored safely in the device's Secure Element, a special security chip used by Apple Pay.

It also includes a titanium Apple Card for shopping at locations where Apple Pay is not accepted yet.

What is Apple Card? Are the perks worth it?
Jennifer Bailey VP Apple Pay. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Apple Card needs no number, CVV security code, expiration date or signature on the card, which are standard for currently available credit cards.

In India

While the Apple Card will be available in the US this summer, it is not yet clear when it will be launched in India. It needs to be seen as to how widely it will be used in India as Apple phones and Apple Pay are not so popular here. While Apple is far behind Xiaomi and Samsung in phone sales, the likes of Paytm and Bhim app are the popular payment apps even for those using iPhones.

How to sign up

Customers can sign up for Apple Card in the Wallet app on their iPhone and start using it with Apple Pay right away in stores, in apps or online worldwide.

Worth it?

Apple did not say if the new budgeting tool would include cash and credit balances from other accounts, nor if it would come with a sign-up bonus. However, credit card industry analysts said the rewards programmes were not significantly different from what is currently available in the market. Most credit cards and payment apps provide similar or even more cash-backs than what Apple is offering.

Tim Devaney, of free credit score app Credit Karma, said the rewards are competitive but are not what will differentiate the Apple Card. "The Apple Card is consumer-friendly," he said, noting features such as a calculator that shows how much interest a consumer will incur by paying a balance over time.

Conclusion

Apple Card is definitely an added bonus for Apple fans and Apple pay users. It gives a 3% cash back on purchasing Apple products. But is this an incentive enough to shift to iPhone and Apple Pay? We will have to wait and see.

(With inputs from IANS and Reuters)

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