Amid all the online chatter about Apple Card, you may have come across references to the "arbitration clause" in Apple's agreement, and how you should opt out of it if you intend to apply for the credit card. So what is arbitration, and why should you steer clear of it?
Basically, arbitration is a way to resolve legal disputes between two parties (in this case, between you and Goldman Sachs, which backs Apple Card) without going through the courts.
Arbitration is often touted as being a quicker and less expensive way to resolve disputes. The problem is that arbitration often favors the company over the consumer, because the arbitrator(s) is typically chosen by the company, handing them an unfair advantage.
When you agree to Apple Card's terms and conditions, you are agreeing to forced arbitration to resolve any potential disputes between you and Goldman Sachs. In other words, you're waiving the right to individually sue the bank or be part of a class action lawsuit against the company.
The key passage in the Apple Card terms and conditions is as follows:
By accepting this Agreement or using your Account, unless you reject arbitration as provided below, you acknowledge that you are giving up the right to litigate claims (as defined below) and the right to initiate or participate in a class action. You hereby knowingly and voluntarily waive the right to be heard in court or have a jury trial on all Claims subject to this Agreement.
The good news is that there are several ways you can request to opt out of arbitration. Customers in the U.S. can call Apple on 877-255-5923, or they can send a letter to Lockbox 6112, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia, PA 19170-6112. However, the easiest method is to use the Messages feature in the iOS Wallet app. The following steps show you how.
- Launch the Wallet app on your iPhone.
- Tap your Apple Card.
- Tap the black ellipsis button (the three encircled dots) in the top-right corner of the screen.
- Tap Message.
- Send a message stating that you'd like to opt out of Apple Card arbitration. You'll be connected to a Goldman Sachs assistant who will process your request within a few minutes.
At the time of writing, Apple doesn't seem to be providing confirmation when you opt out of arbitration via the Message route, so the best advice for now is to take screenshots of your conversation for safekeeping, just in case.