In 2019, Apple launched the Apple card – a different kind of credit card that integrates seamlessly with Apple Pay, your Apple Wallet, and your iPhone.

To date it hasn’t been hugely successful, however, and we thought we might take a closer look to see if we could figure out why.

It turns out that while the app is lovely and the iPhone integration makes it convenient to use (where Apple Pay is accepted at least), there are loads of other cash back credit cards that are just better, for both features and earn rates.

Apple card overview

Apple’s advertising for this card is great, and the features it has are solid and well designed, but as a credit card, it’s a bit lacking.

Credit Card Apple Card
Annual fee $0
Welcome offer None
Rewards * 3% cash back for purchases from Apple and select other merchants
* 2% cash back any time you use Apple Pay
* 1% cash back for purchases made with the titanium Apple card
Interest rates 10.99% – 21.99% variable APR based on creditworthiness
Eligibility Minimum FICO score of 600+
Foreign exchange fee 0%
Special features * No fees at all (including late fees)
* Primarily uses Apple Pay and your Apple Wallet through your iPhone
* Top grade security and privacy
* Apple-designed app with built in spending categories and reporting
* Buy a new iPhone through an interest-free installment plan
* Laser-etched titanium physical card that’s accepted anywhere Mastercard can be used
* Live 24/7 chat support
Insurance coverages 0 types

Apple card benefits

Let’s go over all the pros of the Apple card.

No fees at all

Apple advertises pretty heavily that there are no fees associated with the Apple card at all. It has:

  • no annual fee,
  • no foreign transaction fees,
  • no late fees,
  • no returned payment fees,
  • no over-limit fees, and
  • no other hidden fees.

This actually sounds more impressive than it really is. There are lots of available credit cards that have minimal associated fees. We’ll cover a few of those options when we talk about alternatives to the Apple card below.

Daily cash back ranging from 1% – 3% on all purchases

When you use the Apple card, you earn 1% to 3% cash back rewards on all purchases, depending on where you’re shopping. You’ll get

  • 3% daily cash back for purchases from Apple and select other merchants including Uber, TMobile, Nike, and Walgreens,
  • 2% daily cash back on all other purchases made using Apple Pay, and
  • 1% daily cash back for purchases made with the titanium Apple card (such as when Apple Pay isn’t accepted).

The best part is you get your cash back every day. Other cards can make you wait until you’ve accumulated a certain amount to get your rewards.

Variable APR based on creditworthiness

If you qualify for an Apple card, your interest rate will be based on your creditworthiness, which can range from 10.99% to 21.99%.

Full integration with your iPhone

Obviously, being an Apple product, the Apple card integrates seamlessly with your iPhone and Apple Wallet.

This makes it easy to pay online and on-the-go – plus you can start using the card as soon as you’re approved.

Top grade security and privacy

As a whole, Apple takes security and privacy very seriously, particularly when it comes to integrating Apple Pay with your iPhone.

The iPhone has a special hardware security system that protects your device and information from being accessed without your permission. It also has biometric identification systems, that allow you to unlock your device with your thumbprint or through facial recognition.

To top it off, the card itself doesn’t have the number displayed anywhere, so no one can steal it that way.

Apple is also a pioneer in terms of privacy, having made privacy one of the most important selling features for their systems and devices. When it comes to the Apple card, they can’t even see your transaction history at all:

Apple-designed app

The Apple card integrates with the Apple Pay app, which is as well designed and usable as any Apple device.

It provides automatic categorization for your transactions and allows you to track your spending and purchases over time.

You can also pay your Apple card bill through the app, and it even helps you reduce how much interest you pay by showing you exactly how much interest you’ll accrue with various outstanding balances. It’s a little thing, but it’s a nice thing.

Buy a new iPhone with an interest free installment plan

Of course Apple loves it when people buy new iPhones, so they make it as painless as possible with the Apple card.

First off, you’ll get 3% cash back on the full purchase price, and you’ll be able to dole those payments out over time by taking advantage of their interest free installments plan.

Accepted anywhere Apple Pay or Mastercard can be used

Apple Pay’s acceptance is still somewhat limited, estimated to be accepted at roughly 65% of retailers in the US.

If you carry the physical Apple card with you, however, you can use that anywhere Mastercard is accepted, although you’ll lose a full 1% on your cash back earn rate.

Live 24/7 chat support

Getting support for your Apple card is as simple as opening a chat on your phone. They have 24/7 live chat support available to help you with anything to do with your card.

Drawbacks to the Apple card

But what is there to look out for with this card?

Apple card has no welcome offer

Credit cards are a very competitive industry, and issuers often offer some fantastic welcome bonuses to get you to sign up.

Apple offers nothing. No bonus cash back rate, no low interest on balance transfers (it doesn’t even support balance transfers), no bonus rewards, no….anything.

The Apple card includes no insurance coverage

One major selling point for many credit cards is the insurance coverage they include to provide users with added peace of mind.

There are 12 types of credit card insurance we track, and most credit cards offer at least a few of those.

Most common are extended warranty and purchase protection insurance, but some cards offer much more than that, including:

  • price protection,
  • mobile device insurance,
  • emergency medical,
  • travel accident,
  • trip interruption,
  • trip cancellation,
  • flight delay,
  • baggage delay,
  • rental car accident, theft, and damage,
  • and more.

The Apple card offers none of these, which is a major strike against it.

You have to have an iPhone to use the Apple card

You also have to have an iPhone to use an Apple card. And while iPhones are very popular, they are also very expensive and well out of many people’s budgets.

Apple Pay has limited acceptance

Apple Pay is accepted at an increasing number of places, but it’s not accepted everywhere. And if you have to use your physical Apple card to make purchases, your cash back earn rate drops to a mere 1%.

There are other credit cards with better cash back rates that are accepted everywhere.

The titanium card sounds fancy, but really isn’t that great

From the very beginning there have been complaints about the physical laser-etched titanium Apple card. Apparently it can bend easily and will become discolored just by being carried around like any other credit card.

Recent issues with Apple card outages

Recently there have been user complaints that, due to service outages, they haven’t been able to pay their bills. And while regular banks aren’t immune to this, it’s still something to be aware of.

Best alternatives to the Apple card

So, while Apple’s advertising is fantastic, the Apple card has some pretty stiff competition.

There are many credit cards that are better for a number of reasons, including other no fee cash back cards, most of which will also work with Apple Pay (and Google Pay, if you’re an Android user).

Let’s see how the Apple card stacks up against other cash back credit cards.

Credit card Rewards Welcome bonus Insurance Fees Apply now
Apple Card * 3% cash back for Apple purchases and at select merchants
* 2% cash back any time you use Apple Pay
* 1% cash back for all other purchases
None None * $0 annual fee
* 0% foreign transaction fees
* No hidden fees
Apply now
PayPal Cashback Mastercard * 2% cash back on all purchases None None * $0 annual fee
* 0% foreign transaction fees
Apply now
Citi Double Cash Card * 2% cash back on all purchases * 0% on balance transfers for 18 months 2 types * $0 annual fee
* 3% foreign transaction fees
Apply now
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard * 1.5% cash back on all purchases * 3% cash back in your first year (up to $10,000 spent)
* 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
3 types * $0 annual fee
* 0% foreign transaction fees
Apply now
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express * 6% cash back on groceries (up to $6,000 spent)
* 6% cash back on select streaming services
* 3% cash back on gas and transit
* 1% cash back on all other purchases
* $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in first 3 months 4 types * $95 annual fee
* 2.7% foreign transaction fee
Apply now
Quicksilver from Capital One * 1.5% cash back on all purchases * $150 cash bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months 5 types * $0 annual fee
* 0% foreign transaction fees
Apply now

Best overall alternatives?

If you’re a PayPal user, the is a pretty good alternative to the Apple card.

The PayPal Cashback Mastercard will work with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, so you can still take advantage of having a digital wallet, and its generous 2% cashback on everything makes it a solid choice.

Second to that would be the . It has the same 2% flat cash back earn rate as the PayPal card, and some extra insurance coverages to boot. It does charge 3% on foreign transactions, however, so if you travel a lot or do a lot of online shopping outside of the US, you may want to consider something else.

The bottom line

So there you have it. The Apple card has some amazingly slick advertising, but once you take a longer look, it really doesn’t have a whole lot going for it.

You’re likely better off getting a more traditional no fee cash back card and using that with your digital wallet (and everywhere else).

What do you think of the Apple card?

What other, better alternatives to it would you suggest?

Let us know in the comments!