Apple Card review: Is it worth the hype?

21 March 2023

Apple Card overview

The Apple Card launched in 2019 as Apple’s first foray into the rewards credit card space. While it was met with enthusiasm from Apple fans, it doesn’t quite live up to expectations. With limited perks and no sign-up bonus, there are certainly better rewards cards out there. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

When Apple first announced its rewards credit card in August 2019, many people were excited about the prospect. Apple has dominated the tech space for a long time, with consumer favorites including the iPhone, iPad (and more recently, the iPad Pro), Apple Watch and AirPods. This credit card product was an exciting new chapter for Apple as the company began shifting focus to offering consumer services in addition to its physical products.

But after the card officially launched, the initial consensus among credit card rewards enthusiasts was that the card didn’t meet expectations. While I am one of those who are mostly unimpressed with the card, it has some redeeming qualities and the potential to be a solid card offer for Apple enthusiasts.

It’s definitely a card geared toward beginners. You’ll earn Daily Cash — Apple’s own form of cash back — rather than points or miles, and the card’s tools and benefits are focused on helping users understand their spending habits.

Let’s take a deeper dive.

The information for the Apple Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: Your complete guide to Apple Pay

WYATT SMITH/THE POINTS GUY

Apple Card welcome offer

One of the most disappointing things about the card is the lack of a sign-up bonus. Very few rewards cards offer no sign-up bonus.

The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and Apple is generally taking an anti-fee stance, with no late or over-the-limit fees. But if you have a long history of paying bills on time and in full each month, those wouldn’t affect you either way. In my mind, it doesn’t make up for not offering a sign-up bonus.

Earning cash back with the Apple Card

You’ll earn 3% Daily Cash on Apple purchases (including tech products, App Store purchases and other services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+) and a smattering of specific merchant purchases:

Ace Hardware.
Duane Reade.
Exxon.
Nike.
Panera.
T-Mobile.
Uber.
Uber Eats.
Walgreens.

When you use the card with other merchants via Apple Pay, you’ll get 2% Daily Cash. And you’ll earn 1% on all other purchases.

If you almost always use Apple Pay, this card could act like a flat-rate cash-back card. For no annual fee, 2% isn’t a bad return across all spending. However, if you don’t shop at many places where Apple Pay is accepted and don’t shop with the specific merchants that earn 3%, this card’s earning structure will not be lucrative for you.

You’ll maximize cash back by using Apple Pay with Apple Card. APPLE

Redeeming Cash back with the Apple Card

The Apple Card earns Daily Cash, which is available to use through the Wallet app on purchases, as a statement credit to pay off your bill or through the Messages app to pay back friends and family. Your Daily Cash balance is easy to see in the Wallet app.

I’ll admit, the ability to use your Daily Cash to pay back friends (similar to using a service such as Venmo) is a nice perk.

Apple Card benefits

In line with most no-annual-fee cash back cards, the Apple Card doesn’t come with lounge access, annual statement credits or other premium benefits. Rather, this card focuses on helping consumers understand their credit habits and map out payments to avoid interest.

Apple uses location services to map out your card purchases and assigns each expense a color and a category. For beginners just jumping into the world of credit cards and managing personal spending habits, this can help them visualize where money is spent each month.

APPLE

It’s a nifty concept, though not quantifiably valuable. Some cardholders will be able to use it to help identify spending habits and budgeting shortfalls; others won’t find much use in this tool.

Apple offers text support 24/7 for card support, which is nice. Considering how frustrating it can be to try and contact customer support via phone or even secure message for many issuers, this is a convenient perk.

Finally, the card does offer a unique benefit for anyone who makes it a habit to get the newest iPhone every time a new version launches. Apple Card Monthly Installments allows you to finance a new iPhone from Apple with interest-free payments. You can track your payment schedule right from the Wallet app, and it doesn’t require an additional application if you are a cardholder.

Which cards compete with the Apple Card?

Competition is fierce in the rewards credit cards space. There are several affordable credit cards available from a large range of issuers and for just about every audience out there. Here are a couple:

If you want a great everyday spending card: The Citi® Double Cash Card is a simple, elegant no-annual-fee option. You’ll earn up to 2% back on every purchase — 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill. For more information, read our full review of the Citi Double Cash.

If you are loyal to Capital One: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another everyday spending option for those who are willing to pay a small ($95) annual fee in exchange for earning transferable rewards miles that can be used at a fixed value on eligible purchases or transferred to travel partners for potentially even more value. For more information, read our full review of the Venture Rewards.

For additional options, check out our list of the best no-annual-fee cards.

Read more: Redeeming Capital One miles for maximum value

Is the Apple Card worth it?

The Apple Card best suits beginners and offers a simple rewards rate across all purchases. It could fit you if you make many purchases with Apple Pay or the (limited) list of 3% bonus merchants. If not, you can probably do better with a cash-back card offering 2% on all purchases.

Bottom line

Apple had an opportunity to create an innovative rewards structure and integrate unique experiences with its tech, but its offering falls flat.

It’s just not broad enough to be rewarding for a large audience. Dining, groceries and online shopping are all common spending categories, none of which are rewarded broadly with this card. Travel and entertainment are also presumably common spending categories among the card’s target audience, and aside from Apple-specific entertainment and Uber rides and Uber Eats orders, you won’t earn on those expenses, either.

If you are a hard-core Apple user, this no-annual-fee credit card may be nice to add to your wallet if for nothing other than the finance program for new iPhones and the potential cash-back earning on Apple purchases. However, there are better card options if you’re looking for a rewarding everyday spending credit card.

Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox.

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