Apple Card Review
Why trust us? Investor.com has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.
Instant cash back is cool. Limited rewards opportunities, not so much.
Strip away the pretty card design and the 3% and 2% cash back on purchases directly from Apple and a handful of choice retailers or when you use Apple Pay, and you’re basically left with a 1% cashback novelty card that’ll probably end up in the discarded toy box with our old iPod Shuffles.
The basics: Pays 3% cash back on purchases from Apple, 2% on transactions via Apple Pay, 1% on all other purchases. Cash back deposited daily (after purchases clear) into your account.
Apple Card pros and cons
- Unlimited cash back deposited daily into account
- 2% rewards when paying with your Apple device
- 3% cash back on Apple products
- No fees. Nada
- Interest-free Apple product financing
- Can help others build credit
- Reliant on Apple Pay, having an up-to-date iPhone and Apple Wallet
- 3% limited to purchases directly from Apple and a handful of partners
- Blah 1% default rate where Apple Pay isn’t accepted
- No sign-up incentives
- PC/Android people: Don’t even bother
Apple Card cashback rewards spending categories
The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.
Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (a.k.a. the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g. $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”
|Category||Default Rate||Bonus Rate||Bonus Spend Cap||Bonus Spend Period (Months)|
Note: You'll earn 2% cashback on Apple Pay purchase transactions (when you use your iPhone or Apple Watch to pay with the Apple Card), and 3% cashback on goods or services purchased direct from Apple Apple products and select merchants. All other purchases with the Apple Card earn 1%, as reflected in the table above.
What we like
Offers nearly instant cashback gratification — rewards are deposited into your Apple Cash account or credited to your card account as soon as purchases clear.
No caps on rewards. Just make sure you use Apple Pay via your iPhone or Apple Watch so your spending at least qualifies for the 2% daily cash back rate.
No fees — as in no annual, over-the-limit, foreign transaction or late payment fees. Just remember, you’ll still rack up additional interest on any balances if you’re late with or miss a payment.
Provides a 0% APR installment loan on some Apple products — great if you’re planning an equipment upgrade. (Fine print: Subject to credit approval and credit limit. )
Apple Card Family allows you to add up to five additional spenders (age 13 and up) as authorized users to widen the net for racking up rewards. (Pro tip: Set spending controls and alerts for hormonal youngins.)
Offers the option of adding an adult “co-owner” (even a non-related one), which helps them build credit.
What we don't like
Swiping the physical card gets you just 1% cash back. Advice: Go digital (choose Apple Pay where accepted) or go home (choose another more rewarding card).
The 3% rewards rate applies only to purchases at Apple stores (iTunes, Apple Music or other Apple-owned properties) and certain big-name merchants (Walgreens, Exxon, Panera Bread, T-Mobile, Uber/Uber Eats, etc.).
Redemption options limited to either an Apple Cash Card (requires signup via Apple Wallet), Apple Savings account (which must be opened through Goldman Sachs), or a credit to your Apple Card account.
Offers no sign-up bonus or even a 0% intro APR on balance transfers or purchases. C’mon, toss us a bone, will ya?
Requires an “eligible device” and installing Apple Card to Wallet to apply for and maintain an account.
Hard to justify if you're not entrenched in the Apple ecosystem.
During the initial rollout Apple was called out for granting lower credit limits to women than men. We’re still irked about that.
The bottom line
Is the Apple Card the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the investor.com Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.
Apple Card fine print
Dig in! Here’s the Apple Card customer agreement (.pdf) straight from the card issuer, Goldman Sachs.
Does the Apple Card charge an annual fee?
No, there is no annual fee for the Apple Card.
Roughly 14% of the consumer cashback cards we track in our database charge an annual fee. The average annual fee is $72.60, while the median is $95.
Does the Apple Card offer a welcome bonus?
No, the Apple Card card does not currently offer a welcome bonus.
Of the more than 60 cashback credit cards in our database, 66% offer a welcome bonus. Currently, the average sign-up bonus on a new cashback card is $210.71, with the median being $200.
How much cashback can I earn with the Apple Card?
The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $120.00 in cash back per year using the Apple Card. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.
These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the Apple Card depends entirely on your unique spending habits.
Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the Apple Card by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.
The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.
To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:
- Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
- Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
- Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
- Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
- Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.
What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)
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