Behold, the Apple Card is now available to everyone in the United States. And to celebrate, Apple has expanded 3 percent cash back for Uber and Uber Eats purchases.
Earlier this month, Apple rolled it out via an invite-only preview, complete with a whopping 10 video tutorial. You have to apply through the Wallet app, and then enter some personal info such as your income, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and address. You’ll also be asked to scan some government-issued ID. During the process, you’ll be prompted as to whether you want the physical titanium card. All in all, the process should take you about 5 minutes.
Yours truly was offered a $6,500 limit with 17.99 percent interest with a TransUnion score of nearly 800. Not terrible, but also not quite as good as the terms on my other credit cards. As for what kind of FICO score you need to be approved, Apple offers a small hint in a blog detailing the criteria used to evaluate applications. In a section about why your application may be declined, it says “Goldman Sachs uses TransUnion and other credit bureaus to evaluate your Apple Card application. If your credit score is low (for example if your FICO9 score is lower than 600), Goldman Sachs might not be able to approve your Apple Card application.”
As a reminder, the card offers 3 percent cash back on all Apple purchases—meaning those in a physical Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store, the iTunes Store, and for any other Apple service. That’s also been extended to any Uber ride or food delivery via Uber Eats, and according to TechCrunch, that may also be extended to services like Uber Cash, Scheduled Rides, and JUMP. Otherwise, you’ll get 2 percent back on regular Apple Pay purchases, and 1 percent on purchases made with the physical card itself. It’s also got zero fees, and interest rates ranging from 12.99 to 23.99 percent.
While these details about the Apple Card have been known for months, there are still a few interesting takeaways from today’s official launch. First off, the “lower than 600 FICO score.” Generally, a FICO score lower than 660 is considered subprime, and credit cards geared toward those customers can have sky-high interest rates, low limits, and may require some form of collateral. You’ll probably get a low limit and the highest 23.99 percent interest rate with the Apple Card, but it’s interesting to note simply having a not-so-great credit score may not rule you out entirely—probably because it’s looking to cast as wide a net as possible for potential users. (Who then get further ensconced in the Apple ecosystem.) A CNBC report noted that Goldman Sachs had approved at least one applicant with a 620 FICO score for a $750 limit at 23.99 percent interest.
The other is that Apple is sort of like the Kanye West of credit cards. Since announcing the Apple Card at its services event in March, Apple has made at least two changes—not unlike how West made multiple updates to The Life of Pablo after its release. First, it lowered interest rates from the initial 13.24 percent to 24.24 percent, to 12.99 percent to 23.99 percent. Minor, but even a few tenths of a percentage point can make a long-term difference when it comes to interest. But today’s announcement that it’s adding Uber, a non-Apple vendor, to the highest cash back tier is a pretty major update after the fact. We reached out to Apple, which confirmed a statement in its announcement that more “popular merchants and apps” will be added in the coming months.
Some of the Apple Card’s major criticisms were its benefits are mediocre compared to cards that are already out there, and that reserving 3 percent cash back to Apple products only was self-serving. Adding more attractive vendors, combined with the zero fees, and the fact the cash back is added into your account daily instead of monthly, would make it a much more compelling draw—though dang Apple, I do not want to be incentivized to use Uber again. Depending on who Apple gets, a diverse and stacked list of eligible merchants and apps could bolster its “mediocre” benefits to “actually that’s kind of good.”
In the meantime, if you’re not sold on the Apple Card, it doesn’t hurt to wait to see what the card will ultimately morph into.