Today Apple is officially launching its latest service, Apple Card, but only to a subset of users ahead of a broader rollout later this month. The new credit card is limited to US users running at least iOS 12.4, and today it will only be available to certain people who signed up on Apple’s website to be notified about Apple Card. If you’re part of that chosen group, applying for Apple Card can be done right inside the Wallet app, where the card will be added for immediate use upon credit approval; a physical credit card is also mailed out if you choose to receive one, built from titanium. For those who don’t get invited for early access, the full Apple Card launch will arrive before the end of August.
Apple Card is the company’s first official entry into the personal finance sector. In partnership with Goldman Sachs, Apple is positioning Apple Card as the kind of tech-native, user-friendly, hassle- and fee-free card that you can’t get anywhere else – at least not with the same level of Apple device integration. Once you’re an Apple Card customer, then inside the Wallet app in iOS 12.4, you’ll be able to find all your transactions, current balance, tools to help you avoid or minimize accruing interest, and more. Some of Apple Card’s features are common among competing credit cards and banking apps, while others are more rare. Even with something common though, like a transaction list, Apple is putting its own spin on the feature: using machine learning and location information from Apple Maps, Apple makes transaction data more informative for Apple Card purchases, so that rather than an obscure line item like ‘3519 N Clark, C101’ you’ll see ‘7-Eleven, Chicago, IL’ and even the 7-Eleven logo. The use of business logos next to transactions is a small, but impactful differentiator.
Like other credit cards, Apple Card offers its own reward system in the form of Daily Cash. As you make charges on the card, you’ll accrue cash back that can be withdrawn daily via the Apple Cash card in iOS, which previously debuted as a way to send cash to friends over iMessage using Apple Pay. Daily Cash rewards earned from Apple Card can be accessed at any time by managing your Apple Cash balance, which you can transfer to a bank account at no charge. 2% Daily Cash is earned for Apple Pay transactions, 3% for purchases from Apple (including the App Store), and 1% for everything else.
Select journalists received hands-on time with Apple Card ahead of its soft rollout today, such as Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch and Nilay Patel at The Verge, and their early impressions indicate Apple has successfully delivered the kind of experience it promised for Apple Card – simple, iPhone-native, and with a touch of Apple whimsy.
Apple first debuted Apple Card at its services-oriented event this March, and it now becomes the second service announced at that event to launch publicly, following Apple News+ and preceding Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. It’s very different from all the other services announced in March, and indeed stands apart from any other product offered by the company, so perhaps it’s fitting that the service’s rollout is different too. Initial interest in Apple Card was high, so it will be interesting to see whether a successful rollout might lead to more finance-related services in the future.