If you’re a fan of Apple, you may be wondering if the tech giant’s branded credit card is a good fit for you. This titanium card designed by Apple is a card that lets you earn cash back on your purchases rather than earning miles or points like many other rewards cards. So does the Apple card deserve a place in your digital wallet?
For starters, it has no annual fee so you don’t have to worry about getting charged to carry this card. The card also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or even late fees, so you don’t have to worry too much about those either, though a late payment will cause you to accrue more interest and it will affect your credit score negatively so that’s something to avoid.
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Pre-Approval Without a Credit Inquiry
You can usually see if you’re approved for this card in less than a minute without taking a ding on your credit score initially, which usually goes down by a few points with a hard inquiry. Apple’s card issuer will tell you what your credit limit and interest rate will be, but your credit score will not be impacted unless you accept the offer. Don’t worry though, because hard inquiries are usually removed within a few months.
Before you fill out an application for the Apple card, let’s go over the earning potential to see if it’s a good choice for your spending patterns. There are many generous credit card offers in the market, and many card issuers have rules about how many cards you can apply for in a specific period of time so you should keep that in mind if you plan to apply for other cards in the near future.
Bonus Earning Categories
You’ll earn 3% cash back on purchases at Apple stores, within the App Store and for Apple services. But most people don’t shop at the Apple store that often so unless you spend a lot on apps as well, this bonus category is limited.
You can also earn 3% cash back at select merchants when you use the Apple card with Apple Pay, which is the digital wallet on iPhones. Merchants include Uber and Uber Eats, Walgreens and Duane Reade drug stores, in-store T-Mobile, Nike (in US stores, on the website or through Nike apps), Exxon and Mobil gas stations, and Panera restaurants. All of these purchases must be made using Apple Pay to qualify for 3% cash back.
All other purchases made using the card through Apple Pay earn 2% cash back, and everything else purchased using the Apple card earns 1% cash back. Keep in mind that Apple Pay is not accepted everywhere in the US and is even more limited in acceptance overseas.
Who is the Apple Card For?
The Apple card is good for someone who buys Apple products. You may be planning to purchase a new iPhone or MacBook from the Apple store and if that’s your goal, you can get 3% cash back and you can even choose to pay in installments and avoid interest for a period of time.
It’s also good for iPhone users that use Apple Pay for contactless payments as this category earns 2-3% cash back depending on the merchant. The list of merchants that offer 3% are limited to those listed above, so unless you use those merchants regularly the Apple credit card may not be very rewarding.
If you don’t like waiting, then this card might be a good choice for you. You can apply for the card through Apple Pay on your iPhone, and if your application is successful you can start using the card through the app immediately.
Also, you won’t have to wait a month to get your rewards with the Apple card because cash back is applied every day so you don’t have to wait until the next billing cycle as you do with most other cash back cards. You do need to have an Apple Cash account to get the cash immediately, but if you don’t have one then it will be applied as a statement credit.
The Apple card also has a neat feature that lets you choose an amount to pay on your card and it will estimate the interest cost in real time, which may help with financial planning. You might pay off your card faster when you see the savings.
You do need to be 18 years or older and a US citizen or lawful resident. You also need to use two-factor authentication with your Apple ID and sign into iCloud with your Apple ID to be eligible for this card. You also may be required to use your driver’s license or state-issued ID to verify your identity
Credit Score Range Typically Required
There is not a lot of information on what specific credit score is likely to be approved for this card because that information is largely crowd sourced, and because this Apple card was only introduced in 2019 so the amount of feedback from applicants is limited.
Apple primarily uses the FICO Score 9 which ranges from 300 to 850, and on their website it indicates that a score of 660 or more is considered “favorable” to obtain the Apple card.
This card is issued by Goldman Sachs, who will use your FICO and other credit scores, your credit report and the income you report on your application to make a decision. If you have a freeze on your credit report, be sure to lift that temporarily before you apply for the card.
What’s included in my credit score?
The most important factor in determining your credit score is payment history. It accounts for 35% of your score and it will help the lender determine the risk they are taking if they give you a line of credit.
The second most important factor is the amount you owe, which is also known as your debt-to-credit ratio. This is calculated by looking at how much of your available credit you are using, and this accounts for 30% of the score.
The length of credit history makes up 15% of your score. A longer credit history is preferable, but not critical for a good credit score. This part of the score includes the age of your oldest account, the age of your newest account and the average age of all your other accounts. It also looks at usage to see how long ago you used some accounts.
Your credit mix, which includes credit cards and different types of loans including mortgages, student loans and car financing, makes up 10% of your score. New credit accounts for the last 10% so this part of your score is lowered if you have opened a number of new credit accounts recently.
Income Level and Other Factors Considered
There is no specific income level required to be approved for the Apple Card, but you will be asked what your income is on the application and you’ll also be asked how much you pay for housing.
Credit card issuers have their own data that they can use to compare your income and obligations against current customers with a similar profile to help them determine your creditworthiness.
The key thing they are trying to determine is your ability to pay off your debt, so if more than half your income is going toward housing and you have debt like student loans that you are paying off, then you may not be a good credit risk and will be declined.
If approved for the card, the initial credit limit is determined by looking at your income and the minimum payments due on your existing debt to determine your ability to pay off your new Apple card.
Odds of Approval
Even though Apple indicates that a score of 660 is favorable for approval, that is only considered a fair credit rating. If your score is in the good or excellent range you will have a much better chance of getting approved.
If your score is below 600, you likely won’t be approved. There are some other things that might cause you to be declined for the Apple card including being past due on payments recently, having a checking account closed for overdrafting your account, having a judgement against you from litigation, having property that’s been repossessed or having negative public records like a tax lien or bankruptcy filing,
If you’re heavily in debt and you don’t earn enough to meet your obligations that will also lead to a declined application. And if you’ve maxed out your credit lines in the last three months or you’ve opened a lot of new accounts recently those are also red flags.
One thing you don’t have to worry about are the rules that many credit card issuers have implemented in recent years to try and stop people from applying for too many cards to get sign-up bonuses. Chase for example has a 5/24 rule, where you can’t apply for more than five cards with any card issuers in two years or you will be automatically denied.
Also, because Wells Fargo does not issue as many credit cards as Chase, Citi or American Express you likely don’t have to worry about the Apple card issuer denying you because you already have too many credit cards or lines of credit with the bank.
Why the Apple Card May Not Be Right For You
Now that we’ve gone over all the reasons why you might want to apply for the Apple credit card, let’s talk about why this card may not be a good choice.
This card is not good for someone who is interested in a sign-up bonus as the card does not come with one. Many cash back cards offer a welcome bonus of $200 like the Blue Cash Everyday Card by American Express. The Preferred version of this card offers a $300 sign-up bonus.
There is no 0% APR introductory offer, though you can use your card to pay for Apple products in monthly installments if you check out using that option. But if you buy your Apple device from another retailer you can’t pay off that purchase over time and avoid interest.
If you’re thinking of getting the Apple card to pay for a new tech product, you might want to consider the Citi Custom Cash card for more flexibility on where you make the purchase. The Citi card comes with a 0% introductory APR for 15 months and it includes a $200 sign-up bonus after you spend $750 in the first three months of having the card.
If you don’t own an iPhone 6 or later, then this is probably not the best card for you because bonus points are primarily earned when making purchases through Apple Pay and that does not work on older phones. And if you’re an Android user, this also won’t be a good card for you as you won’t have access to Apple digital wallet and will be limited to 1% cash back on purchases.
There are plenty of other cash back cards that offer 1.5% or more in cash back on all purchases, so one of those cards might be more rewarding. The Capital One Quicksilver for example offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and the Citi Double Cash credit card offers 1% cash back when you make the purchase and another 1% when you pay off the balance.
If you’re planning a big purchase from the Apple store, the Apple card may be a good choice. And if you use Apple Pay for most of your purchases, this card can be very rewarding especially if you order Ubers to get around and for meal deliveries or if you use the merchants that offer 3% cash back.
If you don’t plan to pay off your card when the statement comes due, then a 0% interest card will give you time to pay off your balance and save you money in the long run because paying interest on a credit card will totally negate any rewards you’ve earned.