Apple Card vs. Other Reward Cards

by

In summer 2019, Apple will launch an Apple Card credit card that's linked to Apple Pay and integrated into the iPhone Wallet app, bringing with it some innovative tools to help users manage their spending. Backed by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, Apple's virtual credit card will also be available as a physical titanium card for use at merchants that don't accept ‌Apple Pay‌.


Whether you make digital ‌Apple Pay‌ payments or use the titanium equivalent to make purchases, Apple Card will give you cash back rewards on them, and that means Apple will be entering a market dominated by a raft of already well-established cards offering similar cash back reward schemes. So apart from being built right into ‌iPhone‌ and with all that it entails, how does ‌Apple Card‌ stack up against the big banks' rival offerings? Keep reading to find out.

How ‌Apple Card‌ Cash Back Works

First, let's take a look at how Apple's cash back scheme works. ‌Apple Card‌ will offer three types of cash back rewards depending on how and where you use it.

  • For purchases made from Apple's online store or any of its retail stores you get 3% cash back. This figure also includes purchases made from the App Store, iTunes Store, and Apple services.
  • For purchases made using ‌Apple Pay‌, Apple's digital mobile payment platform, you get 2% cash back.
  • For all other purchases using the titanium Apple Credit Card, you get 1% cash back.

Cash rewards are either paid daily into the Wallet app via your Apple Cash digital card (if you've signed up for it), or paid on a monthly basis as a credit on your statement balance.


Daily Cash can be used for ‌Apple Pay‌ purchases, sent to friends or family using the Apple Cash feature in Messages, or transferred over to your bank account, which typically takes between one and three days. You can also use the Instant Transfer feature for a small fee.

‌Apple Card‌ and Fees

When it launches in summer 2019, ‌Apple Card‌ will be a fee-free credit card. That means there are no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, no fees for making a late payment, and no fees for exceeding your credit limit (which, as with any other credit card, will vary from person to person depending on their credit score).

In claiming no late fees, Apple means making a late payment won't result in a one-time late payment fee (frequently $29 or more with other cards), but you will have to pay interest on your outstanding balance, and as with other credit cards, a late payment will impact your credit score.

‌Apple Card‌ Interest Rate

‌Apple Card‌ will offer an annual percentage rate (APR) of between 13.24% and 24.24%, depending on your credit score. The national average APR is 17.67%, so it's a good deal if you have a high credit score, but works out similar to other credit card companies when it comes to lower credit scores.

Other Reward Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited


Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the best cards on the market for uncomplicated, no-frills cash back and no annual fee. Users earn 3% on all purchases in their first year up to $20,000. After a year, the card doles out unlimited 1.5% cash back on all transactions.

The Chase card offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balances for the first 15 months after opening the account, and then switches to a variable APR (17.24-25.99%).

How it compares: The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a strong rival to ‌Apple Card‌, and its 3% cash back on all purchases in the first year is three times more than ‌Apple Card‌'s base rate for standard purchases. It's worth remembering that ‌Apple Card‌'s 3% cash back offer only applies to purchases made from Apple, and it only offers 2% cash back on transactions processed using ‌Apple Pay‌. Just note that you need to sign up for the Chase Freedom Reward at a local branch to qualify for the 3% cash back, and after the first year, cash back drops to 1.5%, which isn't quite as impressive, though still beats Apple's 1% on all regular non-Apple Pay non-Apple Store purchases.

‌Apple Card‌ advertises lower interest rates, but Chase Freedom Unlimited has no interest rates on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. In addition, cash back earned on the Chase card can be converted to Chase Ultimate Reward points, which can be easily transferred to airlines or hotels.

Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards


The Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card is a co-branded card promoted by Apple as "Barclaycard Financing" and is aimed at people who want pay for new Apple products and pay for them over time. It offers deferred interest for purchases from Apple made within the first 30 days of opening the card, and customers can activate another deferred financing term when their first one is over via customer support. The more you spend, the longer the deferred financing term: Purchases less than $499 have a 6-month term, spending up to $999 gets you a 12-month term, and anything over $999 comes with an 18-month term.

The Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card has no annual fee and uses a points rewards system where each point is worth 1 cent. That essentially gets you a 3% cash back equivalent at Apple and iTunes, 2% cash back at restaurants, and 1% on purchases made everywhere else. Customers who sign up also earn $50 in bonus Apple Store or ‌App Store‌ & iTunes Gift Cards after their purchase.

How it compares: The Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card is a good choice if you're planning to make a big purchase from Apple and want to pay for it over time without incurring interest. ‌Apple Card‌ offers no introductory financing equivalent. Just note that if you don't make your Barclaycard Visa payments on time or fail to pay off the full balance by the end of the financing term, you get charged interest from the original purchase date for the full term, which can become painful for your wallet.

Also, unlike ‌Apple Card‌, Barclaycard Visa With Apple Rewards doesn't require the use of ‌Apple Pay‌ to earn the highest reward rate. However earned rewards can only be redeemed at Apple or as ‌App Store‌/iTunes gift card, whereas cash back earned on ‌Apple Card‌ can be spent whichever way you like.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card


Earning cash on your purchases couldn't be simpler with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. With no annual fee, the card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, and there are no reward categories you need to bother with. In addition, there's a $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 or more on purchases made within the first three months. Not only that, customers also get a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that).

How it compares: The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card System couldn't be much more straightforward – when you pay for something, whatever it is, wherever you are, you get a flat rate 1.5% cash back, and there's no limit to how much you can earn. If you'd rather not have to think about which category your purchase comes under – whether your transaction uses ‌Apple Pay‌, for instance – then it's a great no-nonsense alternative to ‌Apple Card‌. The zero % intro APR is an added bonus, too.

Citi Double Cash Card


The Citi Double Cash Card is another no-nonsense reward system gives you a total of 2% cash back on all transactions – 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay it off. There are no reward categories with this card, so it doesn't matter what you buy or how you pay, you still get the same flat rate. There's an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers only for 18 months, after which it switches to between 15.74% and 25.74% variable APR.

How it compares: The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the best cash back cards around, and makes ‌Apple Card‌'s categorized rewards feel almost a little restrictive in comparison. The only downside with the Citi card is that you redeem your cash rewards through monthly statement credit, bank account deposit, or gift card, and it has to be a minimum $25 redemption. By contrast, whatever amount of cash you earn with ‌Apple Card‌ is deposited into your Apple Cash wallet on a daily basis, so there's no waiting around.

Choosing the Right Card for You

When it comes to choosing a rewards card, the best thing to do is consider your daily spending habits. If most of the merchants you shop at support ‌Apple Pay‌ and you find yourself taking out your ‌iPhone‌ at the register more often than not, then Apple Card is a solid choice, offering a 2% cash back rate that equals some of the best flat-rate cards currently available. However, if you don't use ‌Apple Pay‌ regularly, a no-nonsense flat rate reward card like the Citi Double Cash Card might be a better alternative. On the other hand, if you're planning a big purchase and want to pay for it over time without incurring interest while also taking advantage of cash rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card might be more suited to you.

Top Stories

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Unreleased iMac With 10-Core Comet Lake-S Chip and Radeon Pro 5300 GPU Shows Up in Geekbench

Wednesday July 1, 2020 10:48 am PDT by
Benchmarks for an unreleased iMac equipped with a 10th-generation Core i9 Intel Comet Lake-S chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card have surfaced, giving us an idea of what we can expect from a refreshed 2020 iMac. The Geekbench benchmarks, which appear to be legit, were found on Twitter and shared this morning by Tom's Hardware. The iMac in the benchmarks would be a successor to the...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Display Analyst Once Again Says No 120Hz ProMotion Display Coming to iPhone 12 Pro

Wednesday July 1, 2020 11:29 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 models will not feature an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion display, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young previously said that Apple would not implement ProMotion technology until it adopted low-power LTPO display technology, a move Apple is not expected to make until 2021. In a tweet shared this morning, Young said that the none of his contacts have been able to...

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday June 30, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.6 updates to developers, three weeks after seeding the second betas and over a month after releasing iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Exposure Notification API, Face ID updates, Group FaceTime changes, and more. iOS and iPadOS 13.6 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...