Hoping to move more even deeply into the financial lives of its customers, Apple on Monday unveiled its own iPhone-oriented credit card, called the “Apple Card.” The card, created in partnership with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, comes with some features that set it apart from traditional credit cards like a lack of a visible credit card number. But it also has some features that most people are well familiar with such as cash back.
In a particularly Apple touch, customers can sign up for the card on an app on their phones and start using it minutes later. It will be available starting this summer, Apple said.
The card is tied closely into Apple Pay, the company’s digital wireless payments system. That makes it easy for customers to use the card for payments with all their Apple devices and for purchases both in retail stores and online. When customers use the new card instead of an alternative, it also means Apple should get a higher share of the fee income from each transaction.
Here are five important things you should know about the new Apple Card:
This isn’t your father’s credit card
Yes, this is a physical credit card – albeit made of all-white, engraved titanium. But it doesn’t have a number or expiration date printed on it. To use the card with, say, a website that requires entering the card number, Apple’s Wallet app generates a unique one for each transaction.
Get money back
Like many other rewards cards, users will get a 2% rebate on spending with the new card through the Apple Pay app and 1% back when using its as a physical card. Customers will get 3% back on purchases from Apple, including anything bought from its app stores or on iTunes. But customers won’t have to wait long to spend the rebates. Apple said they would be available immediately on an accompanying app for use on new purchases, to pay down a credit card balance, or even to transfer to other people using Apple Pay.
Apple (AAPL) said the card will have no annual fee, no late fees, no over-limit fee, and no international fees. Interest rates will vary from range from 13.24% to 24.24% based on creditworthiness, the company said in a footnote on its web site about the new card. Apple has previously offered a more typical branded Visa card in partnership with Barclays. That card also has no annual fee and lets users accumulate rewards points that can be redeemed for Apple gift cards. But otherwise, it more resembles a typical credit card, with late fees and other extra charges. And it currently lists interest rates from 16.24% to 28.99%.
Apple said it would provide more privacy protection than typical credit cards. The company said it wouldn’t know where customers spend, how much they spend, or what they buy. Goldman Sachs (GS) would have that data and wouldn’t sell that information to third parties for marketing or advertising.
Better spending data
The new card will Apple’s Wallet app to provide highly detailed information about the users’ spending via the card. Using data from Apple Maps, the app will show exactly where and when every transaction occurred instead of a traditional credit card statement. The app will “transform this mess into names and locations that you’ll recognize,” Apple vice president Jennifer Bailey said. The app will compile the information while processing all financial data on each user’s device. No data would flow to Apple’s servers, the company said.