Is the Apple Card Worth It?

by joeheg

We switched to the Apple ecosystem over ten years ago and have a house full of iMacs, a Mac Mini, MacBook, iPads, Apple Watches & iPhones to show for it (This is an old picture – we’ve had many more iPhones since).

a stack of white boxes on a wood floor

I remember when you were able to finance a new iPhone through your phone carrier. Since iPhones cost upwards of $1,000, being able to pay it off in monthly installments along with your phone bill was less painful than paying for the phone upfront.

Starting with the iPhone 13, Apple no longer offers a financing option. That is unless you apply for the Apple Card. I didn’t intend to get an Apple Card, but the more I looked into it, there were some things the card offered that no others did.

The Apple Card from Goldman Sachs launched in August of 2019 and was intended to be the first credit card incorporated into the Apple ecosystem. It’s fully functional with Apple Wallet the moment you’re approved. All transactions are done on your Apple devices, including paying your bill.

The card has no annual fee and functions as a “cash back” card. Unlike other cards, the Apple Card credits your cash back daily instead of needing to wait for your statement to close.

All the money earned on the Apple Card is linked to your Apple Cash account in your Wallet. You can spend it through mobile payments or transfers to other Apple Cash accounts, or you can send the money to a bank account.

The Apple Card has unique bonus categories.

For starters, you earn 3% back on purchases directly from Apple.

You also earn 3% back from select merchants when using your card with Apple Pay.

a group of black logos

Other Apple Pay transactions earn 2% cashback.

Everything else earns 1% cashback.

While 3% back at Apple, Walgreens and Uber are decent reasons to get the Apple Card, it was never worth it for me to waste a card application slot. Well, not until we were looking at spending a decent amount of money on Apple products.

In my mind, the killer app of the Apple Card is the financing offer on Apple purchases.

a group of electronic devices

The Apple Card lets you purchase Apple products and pay for them in interest-free monthly installments. When checking out, you need to select the financing option with the Apple Card, and the portion of the payment is added to your monthly bill.

An additional perk is that you immediately earn 3% back on the purchases.

a close up of a sign

You’re earning cashback before you’re paying for it. I don’t know of any other card that offers the same.

I signed up for the Apple Card, received instant approval, and used the card to pay for an iPhone and Apple Watch. Each time, I was asked if I wanted to pay in interest-free installments. Once you have the card, Apple knows as long as you’re logged into your Apple account when purchasing from the Apple Store.

While we were using the card with our Apple Wallet, we did receive a Titanium Apple Card. Since any purchase with this card only earns 1% back, it goes immediately into the drawer.

The packaging wasn’t very impressive.

a brown cardboard box on a grey surface

Inside was the card with activation instructions. Instead of going to a website or app, you need your iPhone. What wasn’t obvious was that you needed to open the Wallet app and go to the Activate Card function. Once done with that, the activation was complete.

a cell phone with a white screen

I like that I can tell Sharon to pay with her Apple Watch instead of needing to change cards in her wallet. Being able to use Apple Pay and earn 2% back on all her purchases is fine by me. Sure, I’d rather she use the AMEX Gold Card to earn 4X points at Grocery Stores and the Citi Premier to earn 3X at Gas Stations, but I’m happy earning 2% back on everything if it makes her life easier.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Apple October 24, 2021 - 2:36 am

Apple does offer third party payment options

joeheg October 24, 2021 - 8:39 pm

I looked at different articles and couldn’t find any option for iPhones. We used Citizen One for our last phone and they took a CC for the automatic payment each month.

Martin October 24, 2021 - 6:52 am

That’s kind of pathetic … sorry. Collecting a variety of cards to pay for consumption in installments (even if interest free and oh yeah cash back … what 3% on 1000 EUR that’s 30 EUR … winnnnnnner!!!) 🤦‍♂️

Ron November 20, 2022 - 1:58 pm

Yea, if you’re having to pay in installments then you probably should be questioning whether you should be buying it to begin with.

Retired Gambler February 22, 2024 - 2:02 pm

So what if Apple doesn’t allow installments, ATT and other carriers do. All my IPhones are paid over 30 months on my ATT account (most at very low price with an ATT $800-$900 credit for just committing to staying with them for 30 months). Frankly anyone that buys an iPhone directly from Apple is making a mistake and no 3% cash back or points/miles offer will change that.


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