Apple’s new virtual credit card is designed for the 21st century, but is it a match for Amazon’s popular rewards card?
Apple has a credit card now. The new , expected to be available this summer, is designed to live inside the Apple Wallet app and be used in places that accept Apple Pay via iPhones. But there’s also a physical card you can swipe anywhere, just like a normal credit card.
Apple and Amazon are two of the biggest names in tech, and now each has its name on a credit card. So which one is the best? Let’s take a look.
- Cash-back rewards: The Apple Card offers cash back that can be used anywhere, at any time. Use the cash back towards paying for groceries, paying a friend or paying down your credit card.
- Where to earn: Earn 3 percent back on anything from Apple stores (namely an Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store or iTunes), including games, in‑app purchases, and services such as your Apple Music subscription and iCloud storage plan. Earn 2 percent at other stores by using Apple Pay (using the virtual card on your phone) and 1 percent in stores that don’t accept Apple Pay (using the physical card). There are no earning caps, but your credit card limit can max out the amount you earn.
- No fees: There are no fees for a missed payment or annual fees with Apple Card. You will, however, still be charged interest in addition to what you already owe.
- Annual Percentage Rates: Speaking of interest, Apple’s APR rates range from 13.24 percent to 24.24 percent interest on purchases, based on credit score.
- Security: The Apple Card has no credit card number on the physical card. There is a virtual card number in the Wallet App for when you use the card with Apple Pay. You can also see the pinpointed location and business of where a purchase was made.
- Other features: The Apple Card is paired with the Wallet app, which has the appearance of a budgeting app. Spend summaries are available to show how much you’ve spent in each category. Purchases are color coded based on the type of things you buy, such as food or clothes.
- Payment: See how to save on interest before you make a payment. Apple Card will estimate the amount of interest you’ll be paying, based on your payment amount.
- Wallet app (and iPhone) required for sign-up: The Wallet app is exclusive to Apple’s own iOS devices, so if you don’t have an iPhone (or iPad) you can’t sign up to use it. Sorry, Android fans.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card
- Points rewards: Instead of cash back, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card rewards you with points you can redeem toward a future Amazon.com purchase (or through Chase). You earn a percentage of points back on your purchases. 100 points is equivalent to one dollar earned. There’s no cap on what you can earn.
- Where to earn: Earn 5 percent back at Amazon and Whole Foods, 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1 percent back on all other purchases. Many retailers now have an Amazon store to sell their items, so always check Amazon before making a purchase so you can get 5 percent back.
- Fees: There are no annual or foreign transaction fees, but there is a fee for late payment of up to $38 plus interest.
- Annual Percentage Rate: Amazon’s APR ranges from 16.49 percent to 24.49 percent, based on credit score.
- Card options: Amazon offers two Visa cards. One is the Prime version, which requires you to have an Amazon Prime account. The other is the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and offers 3 percent back at Amazon and Whole Foods, rather than 5 percent. Prime membership is not needed for this card.
- Premium perks: Use the card for room upgrades and VIP guest status at luxury hotels. The Amazon Visa also offers complimentary concierge service for finding tickets to top events or arranging dinner reservations.
Which one’s better for you?
Aside from the perks like financial tracking, the privacy of no physical number on the card and deep integration with Apple Wallet, the main differences between the two boil down to rewards and usage.
If you buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, that card is probably a better bet. The fact that its rewards are restricted to Amazon points (as opposed to Apple’s cash back) isn’t a big deal if you buy enough from the online retailer.
On the other hand, if you shop primarily at other online and physical retailers that accept Apple Pay, the Apple Card’s 2 percent cash back is great. It’s also a solid choice if you’re the kind of card user who occasionally makes a late payment.
It’s worth noting that since the Apple Card’s 3 percent cash back is restricted to Apple’s own stores, you might get a better deal by buying something on sale at another store (such as Amazon or Walmart). Hardware prices at Apple’s own stores are often higher than other retailers.
The Apple Card looks to have some advantages over what’s available now and could be a valuable addition to the (virtual) wallets of savvy shoppers. We’ll know more when it arrives this summer.