table; just the kind of sound power lunch executives love to
As with other Apple hardware, the card screams to be encased in a protective shell to preserve its pristine, brushed
metal perfection. Indeed, Apple has posted warnings on its
website for OCD types like me, reminding us to keep the card
from rubbing against denim and leather, or even coming in
contact with other credit cards for fear of creating scratches
or blemishes. Consequently, Apple Card users who prefer to
keep their cards in a factory-stamped, fresh state might want
to keep it wrapped in the sleeve it arrived in or perhaps tucked
away in a locked drawer somewhere.
Of course, iPhone case vendors like Dbrand have already
recognized this as a market opportunity and offer a collection
of Apple Card skins and wraps. I opted for a less expensive
solution and used a plastic trading card sleeve to protect my
card. That way I could still carry it in my wallet to show it off
to my friends and coworkers, while protecting it from coming
into contact with the real world.
All this effort to keep the Apple Card in its pristine state
seems excessive, and it is. It’s also unnecessary, since every
brick and mortar retailer I shop at accepts Apple Pay.
PUTTING IT TO USE
Once your Apple Card has been issued in the Wallet app,
Apple suggests using it as your default card. Then, whenever
you check out at a business that supports Apple Pay, just bring
your iPhone close to the credit card reader. Your iPhone will
display a screen informing you of the amount to be charged
to your Apple Card. If you accept, acknowledge via Face ID or
Touch ID, depending on your iPhone model, and you’re done.
Unlike other credit cards that you can use with the Wallet
app, the Apple Card offers real-time tracking of expenses by
category, as well as reminders when your payments are due.
To set up payments, provide your bank account’s routing and
account numbers. Apple can then automatically deduct payments. You can choose to pay off the balance early, or have
Apple remind you when monthly payments are due.
Another benefit of using the Apple Card is its immediate
cash back bonus option. To enable this feature, set up Apple
Cash to start earning up to 3 percent Daily Cash on your purchases. This cash back is deposited into your Apple account
and can be used like regular money.
While some competing credit cards offer cash back options,
they are frequently disconnected from the immediate purchases and often include hurdles that prevent reward redemption. Apple eliminates these barriers by depositing your cash
back rewards daily.
I received five dollars in Daily Cash rewards using the Apple
Card for groceries, and could instantly spend that cash on Apple hardware and apps, message another Apple Cash user the
money, or spend it anywhere Apple Pay is accepted. I instead
opted to horde my Daily Cash to be used at a later date.
IS IT WORTH THE EFFORT TO
ACQUIRE AN APPLE CARD?
It was for me. Even though I already have credit cards
linked in the Wallet app, the real-time integration of the Apple Card makes my purchases more transparent. Having my
transaction history in the same place as my card data also
means I don’t have to bounce out and open my bank app to
find out my balance and recent history.
It’s even nicer to receive the faster gratification of Daily
Cash, and I’ve somewhat gamified the experience, as in,
“How much cash back reward can I accumulate before spending it on apps or goods?” And yes, the physical Apple Card
is a cool badge of geekhood, but unless you frequent small
establishments and eateries that remain in the financial stone
age, requiring a physical card for transactions, it will rarely
leave your wallet.
Since receiving the card, I have only unsheathed it from its
protective card sleeve twice. This was not because I needed
to use it for a purchase, but rather, to show it off to friends
curious about how it looked and felt. Both conversations ended with the question, “How do I get one of these?”
Mike Riley, a professional software developer and emerging information technologist,
is the author of Programming Your Home, published by Pragmatic Bookshelf. Mike is
also a contributing editor and author of hundreds of technical articles and reviews for
a number of popular technology publications. For more information, contact Mike via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @mriley.