Monday, March 25, 2019

Apple Card

Mitchel Broussard (Hacker News):

Apple today revealed a brand new service called “Apple Card,” a new digital and physical credit card that users will be able to sign up for right from their iPhone. Apple says this sign-up process takes just a few minutes and then they can start using the Apple Card right away in stores, in apps, or online worldwide. Apple partnered with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard for Apple Card.


Get 3% back on everything you buy from Apple, whether you buy it at an Apple Store,, the App Store, or iTunes. That includes games, in‑app purchases, and services like your Apple Music subscription and iCloud storage plan.

Get 2% back every time you buy something using Apple Pay. That’s in every category, with no limits. Imagine all the things you use a credit card for every day — at Target, Walgreens, Lyft. You’ll get 2% back on just about everything.

If you happen to come across a store, website, or app that doesn’t take Apple Pay yet, Apple Card still gives you 1% of your purchases back in the form of Daily Cash.

This doesn’t seem like anything special compared with existing no-fee rewards credit cards, and you can already get 3% back on Apple purchases with the Apple Rewards Visa.

Mark Sullivan:

The card includes a feature that makes sense of cryptic receipts using machine learning. It also provides analytics on purchases, like a neat bar graph showing spending habits.

I don’t really get the idea of per-card spend tracking. I want to track this stuff across all payment methods, and I certainly don’t want the data locked away in a limiting app.

Update (2019-03-25): John Gruber:

What a crock of shit this “low interest rates” line is. Those interest rates are usury, right in line with the rest of the credit card industry. 24% interest ought to be criminal, and 13% is not “low”.

Update (2019-03-26): Brian Roemmele:

Consider a 99¢ app purchase, currently Apple incurs about 13¢ payment processing fees of the 99¢ transaction. If the user is induced, and have no doubts Apple will offer inducements, to use Apple Pay Cash Daily Cash to pay, Apple pays $0. Lets look at that again, $0 vs. about 13¢. This alone would represent millions of dollars of new revenue for Apple. Payments for Apple will move from being a loss leader to a net revenue stream.

Owen Williams:

this is incredible copywriting because it literally doesn’t mean what it looks like it means on first glance (but also, sort of does just enough to not be a lie)

Yeah I can see at least four intentional holes:

1) [Goldman Sachs] can use it for marketing/any purpose internally
2) they can analyse that data internally and sell the results
3) they can share it with apple
4) can share/sell outside of marketing (pretty broad...) as it likes

Adam BBH:

Issuers don’t access credit card transactional data in a way that would allow this. They service the card via processor portals. The payment processor (MasterCard) would be the one who sells data and it’s only sold in high level aggregate, anonymously.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I think Apple Card is gonna be huge for iOS users, if they can roll it out internationally. People trust Apple to make amazing things, and I can’t imagine many currently enjoy the relationship they have with their credit card provider. I’d love an Apple Card, for one

I get better customer support from my credit card providers than I do from Apple, and their admin/payment Web sites work better.

Matt Levine:

Boy I tell you what, I find it kind of useful to have my credit card number printed on my credit card, but I guess that is just me. Perhaps a sleek user interface is more important than a useful one.

Update (2019-03-27): John Gruber (tweet):

As someone who had his card number stolen a few months ago, I appreciate this. Those static card numbers are archaic. It sounds like Apple is pushing the whole industry forward here.

Update (2019-03-28): Jeff Porten:

In fact, scratch the surface, and there’s quite a lot that’s stunning about these Apple Card policies. What appears to be a few user-friendly features could have massive ramifications.

Peter Berg:

Unless you spend more on Apple products than gas, groceries and restaurants combined, there are many better rewards cards for you.

See @NerdWallet and thank me later.

Update (2019-03-29): Matthew Panzarino (tweet, Hacker News):

Apple Card has no late fees and no penalty rates. You will continue to pay your agreed upon interest rate on your outstanding balance, but that rate will not go up.


Neither the physical card nor the app will display a signature. A network change a few months ago means that signatures are not required at point of sale for any credit cards.


The physical Apple Card, of course, has no number. The app displays the last 4 digits of the card number that is on the mag stripe of the card only, you never see the full card number.

Instead, Apple provides a virtual card number and virtual confirmation code (CVV) for the card in the app. You can use this for non-Apple Pay purchases online or over the phone. This number is semi-permanent, meaning that you can keep using it as long as you want.


When you get Apple Card the virtual PAN is pushed to auto fill in Safari. So when you sign up you’re going to automatically have access to the virtual card number Apple generates for you on Safari on iOS and Mac.

Joe Wituschek:

There are a number of other cash back credit cards that already match or exceed the cash back rewards that Apple Card is going to feature, as well as also having no annual fee and offering bonus offers for when you sign up. Let’s take a look at three cash back credit cards that go pound-for-pound against Apple Card.

Update (2019-05-20): Ken Segall:

Well … not so fast. The truth is, Steve Jobs actually did do this. At least he tried to.


The year was 2004, when Apple was a very different company. It had only recently reinvented the music industry with iPod and iTunes, forever changing the way we buy and discover music.

Steve thought the time was right for Apple to offer its own credit card. He would call it … (drum roll)… Apple Card.


Purchases would earn iPoints, which could be redeemed for your favorite music on iTunes.

17 Comments RSS · Twitter

Apple is doing its part to inflate the cost of goods and services for all consumers by participating in the credit card “rewards” game.

Hey, I've got an idea for an even more compelling promo: all purchases made with Apple Card will cost 50% extra—BUT—you get 50% cash back! What a deal!

Based on what I'm seeing online, I'm either not understanding the sarcasm, or people are actually salivating at the chance to get an Apple credit card. WTF? I mean come on, like Michael says you can already get similar rewards with other CC... plus half of this stuff you can buy with iTunes Gift Cards which are already frequently 15-20% off several times a year from Ebay, Best Buy, etc. Are people really so desperate to save a measly $30 for every $1,000 they spend on Apple products?

@Ben Yep, gift cards are a far better way to pay for Apple services. And for hardware, it’s only about $10 savings per $1,000 because you can get 2% cash back with a generic rewards card. Are people excited about carrying around a card with an Apple logo? For me, that would actually be a negative—a reminder every time I buy something that Apple is losing its way.

Dammit, when I read the headline, I thought it was something like HyperCard for iOS, not another way to get people to spend money they don't have. It's kinda funny now to think that this used to be a company that would make something like HyperCard.

Maybe this card is good when compared to many of the cards, in the US especially,
but there are better solutions worldwide, with better terms and features, for example 52 days grace period or currency selection, or cash withdrawal, or transportation pass card capabilities, or price protection, car rental insurance etc.

I am willing to give up earning the additional ~2% rebate for my privacy, or other card company will have to work on much better deal to get my data. I am not sure why everyone is being so negative about it.

> I want to track this stuff across all payment methods

Because Apple Pay don't track those data and banks won't share it without additional incentives. And you are getting those financial tools completely free if you are using Apple Card, vs other tools that requires monthly fees and manual input.

Again, not sure why everyone seems to be so negative about it.

@Ed What exactly is the privacy that you’re getting? Obviously, Goldman Sachs is going to get all your data, and the language leaves room for them to do all sorts of things with it.

My point is not that Apple should collect data from different cards, but rather that Apple is not in a good position to solve this problem. Plenty of other credit cards already offer free, automatic spend analysis. So what’s the big deal?

Am I the only one who when they see "Apple Card" they think Hypercard?

"Consider a 99¢ app purchase, currently Apple incurs about 13¢ payment processing fees"

Um, say what?!? In what world does ANY business pay 13% credit card processing fees? Much less Apple, who I assume can leverage their immense transactional volume for a better deal than most businesses. Average is around 2.5% so I wouldn't be surprised if Apple pays something closer to 2 cents or less for every 99 cent app purchase. Unless there's some other factor I'm not aware of... ?

I still can't believe comments like this aren't sarcasm:

@Ben The percentage is higher on smaller transactions. That’s why Apple doesn’t bill the 99c immediately and sometimes waits a while to try to combine it with another transaction.

Interesting. Does this apply to real world transactions too? Like if someone buys a 99 cent Coke at at convenience store, 13 cents is lost to the processing fees? This is the first time I’ve heard of fees that high.

@Ben I can’t confirm that it’s actually 13c, though I’ve heard from some (small) businesses that it’s higher than that. This is why there is often a minimum charge if you want to use a credit card.

In person transactions are often lower that online due to less fraud (especially these days with NFC and chip cards), and processors like Square have flat 2.75% fees with no per transaction charge (and this can get negotiated down, first hand experience). So the fee in person on a 99 cent drink would be 3 cents-ish with out of the box rates from Square. Depending on what you're selling and average transaction amount you can usually negotiate an even lower percentage if your business can absorb a transaction fee if that makes more sense, if your average transaction amount is very high for example.

One thing that is nice about Apple Card that is getting overlooked is that lack of foreign transaction fee for a card with no annual fee. That Citi Double Cash card sure is 2% on everything no matter if you pay with the card or Apple Pay, but if you are buying anything in another currency there's a 3% fee tacked on top, which means you're basically adding 1% to every transaction after the cash back. Considering NFC payments are way more available overseas, you can get a full 2% cash back say on riding the tube in London or buying snacks at a 7-Eleven in Tokyo with Apple Card (via Apple Pay) that you couldn't get with basically any other no annual fee card. The only one that comes close is the Capital One Quicksilver which is 1.5% back on everything, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

It really depends on what your spending patterns are, both the what and the where.

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