Apple launched its very own credit card in 2019 as part of a push to bolster its growing services business. And it really wants people to sign up for and use their Apple Card — so much so that it's boosting the amount of cash back on Apple Store purchases made during the holidays.
Use your Apple Card to buy Apple products at an Apple Store or on Apple.com, and Apple will give you 6% cash back. That's double the normal 3% cash back Apple offers on Apple Store purchases using the Apple Card. (You get 2% cash back with the Apple Card when you use Apple Pay and 1% cash back when you use your physical card.)
That 6% cash back can add up quickly if there are a lot of Apple products on your holiday shopping list. Pick up a $699 iPhone 11, for example, and your Apple Card gets you $41.94 back — not exactly chump change. In fact, that's nearly enough to pay for Apple Arcade for a year ($49.99)
Apple's cash back program is nice, but as we found in our Apple Card review, it's not reason enough to get Apple's credit card since other cards offer more generous rewards. Rather, the argument in favor of the Apple Card is one of both convenience — it's very simple to apply through the Wallet app on your iPhone, and you can use that app to manage your spending — and security. Shoppers who prefer better perks, like travel rewards, may find other credit cards more to their liking.
It's understandable why Apple is doubling the amount of cash back for Apple Card purchases. Services have become an important part of Apple's business, especially with iPhone sales slowing down. One way Apple can meet its goal of bolstering services revenue is to bring more people into the Apple Card fold. A promotion that boosts cash back is one way of doing that.
Be aware that there's limits to Apple's cash back generosity. That 6% return only lasts through Dec. 31, at which time your Apple Store purchases via the Apple Card go back to earning you 3% cash back. (Apple subscription services like Apple Arcade or AppleCare+ monthly payments aren't eligible, according to Apple's fine print.)
Cash back isn't Apple's only Apple Card bonus. Buy your next iPhone using Apple's credit card, and you can pay it off interest free using Apple Card installments.
Apple says that orders placed online by 3 p.m. local time on Dec. 23 can still be ready by Dec. 24, either as delivery or for pick-up at a nearby Apple Store.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.