The Apple Card saved my skin when I got robbed. But it isn’t the best credit card in my wallet.
The Apple Card caused a hoo-ha when it first launched in August. Aimed at iPhone users, it has no fees, proposes daily cashback rewards and works with Apple Pay, but it also survives as a physical titanium credit card. I’ve been using my own Apple Card for three months, and it rescued me when I got robbed. But if it wasn’t for that risky situation, I don’t think I would have used it as much.
No credit card number, no problem
For me, the most significant advantage of the Apple Card is what it doesn’t have — a number on the physical card. When I got mugged, my wallet was taken with cash and all my cards (including the Apple Card). Fortunately, I had my phone, so I was able to annul everything reasonably quickly, but it didn’t stop the thieves from stealing a couple of hundred dollars before I could close down the cards.
Because I could still retrieve the Apple Card number via the Wallet app, I was still able to purchase things online (like my lunch) even while my other banks were reproducing cards and upgrading the virtual numbers in my wallet, which took many days. And obviously, I still had my phone so I could buy things at places that take Apple Pay.
I admit that this is an extreme edge-case situation. If my phone had been taken as well, it would have been a lot more challenging to put a break to all the cards as speedily. And because contact with the Apple Card is done via the iPhone, if you misplace that phone, you need a backup, akin to another iOS device. There’s no web interface also, which makes it complex to see your balance or pay off bills minus a phone.
Apple Card rewards
How does it match with other credit cards? Great question.
Other cards in my wallet propose more perks — like travel rewards, or the option to choose a category for cashback. This means the 3% tier isn’t restricted to specific merchants like it is on the Apple Card.
What makes the Apple Card different for me is the visual breakdown of spending, so I can see exactly where my money is being spent each month. I love the colour coding but would also like to see a way to set alerts or limits in certain categories once I reach a fixed target. Mostly, I think the interface is accommodating if you want to see how you should pay off your card each month to prevent interest payments.
Is the Apple Card worth it for me?
Primarily, I’m mostly using the Apple Card for buying where I can maximise the 3% cashback, such as at Walgreens or the Apple Store. Apple has been including more retailers at the 3% tier (including Nike) so hopefully, over time, I’ll have some more choices to choose from. But for everything else, I still go for the other cards that offer the most value for what I’m buying, whether that’s for dining or travel rewards, or higher cashback.