Apple is now in the credit card business: The Apple Card, coming this summer, could up-end the entire financial industry.
Of course, Apple being Apple, the physical Apple Card is made of titanium and has no numbers on it. That's because Apple wants you to use your Apple Card just like you use Apple Pay: on the phone itself. But some places don't take Apple Pay — and sometimes you might just want to whip out your titanium Apple Card as a very subtle flex.
It's not about the card, though. Apple is aiming to make the entire act of obtaining and using credit easier, starting with the application process. Instead of waiting days to receive a physical card in the mail, Apple issues your card instantly in the iOS Wallet app. You can use the card just as you use Apple Pay, by tapping your phone at an NFC payment terminal in-store or buy selecting the Apple Card when shopping in-app or on the web.
The ease of use extends to figuring out the fees you'll have to pay: There are none. Apple won't charge a fee for late payments or international purchases. You won't pay an annual fee to use the card.
You'll still pay interest, because that's how credit cards work. But Apple is also rethinking the credit card app by making it easier to see how much you’ve spent and where you’ve spent it, and categorizing transactions with color codes for shopping, food and drink, and more. Scheduling payments looks incredibly easy, as Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey demonstrated on-stage at the Monday media event in Cupertino. And you can see how much interest you’ll pay before scheduling a payment, which could inspire you to pay the balance down more quickly.
The biggest perk of using a credit card instead of a debit card is the rewards. Apple Card offers those those, too. But instead of waiting months to redeem points or clear the threshold for collecting your cash back, Apple Card will give you cash back every day. That cash will go on your Apple Pay Cash card, which is also found in the Wallet app, and can be used instantly in-store, in-app, on the web, or to send payments to friends. You can also use the cash to pay down your credit card balance. You can earn unlimited cash back every day: 3 percent back on Apple Store transactions, 2 percent on daily spending, and 1 percent for purchases made on the physical Apple Card.
And, as Apple is highlighting with other services, the Apple Card will put your privacy first. The financial institution backing the card, Goldman Sachs, won't be able to use your activity to sell to third-party marketers or advertisers. All of your transactions live on your device, and Apple uses machine learning on the iPhone to categorize your spending. None of your data is sent to Apple's servers.
The Apple Card will be available in the U.S. this summer.
Be sure to check out our Apple Show Time hub page for a look at everything Apple announced at its March 25 event.
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Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.