Apple today rolled out a preview program of the Apple Card under which it is offering the card to selected customers. The company also allowed some people from the media to try out the Apple Card over the last few days and they have shared their experience with it.
From the previews, it seems clear that the highlight of the Apple Card is going to be its nice integration with the Wallet app on the iPhone. The way it presents the transaction data is something that no other service or bank currently offers.
Apple Card sign up process works in real time. It will require users to enter their address, birthday, income level, and the last four digits of their SSN in the Wallet app. These details would be then forwarded to Goldman Sachs which will then accept or reject the application in real-time. The credit check happens via TransUnion.
Once your application has been approved, it will show up inside the Wallet app almost immediately and ready for use. One can even request a physical Apple Card which comes with a pretty slick setup process as mentioned by Nilay Patel of The Verge.
Setting that card up is neat: the envelope it’s in has an NFC tag, so you just tap the phone to it and it activates automatically, no phone call or sticker required.
As TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino reveals, Apple automatically pulls some of your information from your existing Apple ID. The card inside the Wallet app will also change its hue depending on your spending habits.
The card on the screen has a clever mechanism that gives you a sort of live heat map of your spending categories. The color of the card will shift and blend according to the kinds of things you buy. Spend a lot at restaurants and the card will take on an orange hue. Shop for entertainment related items and the card shifts into a mix of orange and pink. It’s a clever take on the chart based spending category features many other credit cards have built into their websites.
One interesting tidbit is that you will get three different credit card numbers in your Wallet app. This will include a number that is assigned to your phone, one for the physical Apple card, and a virtual one that can be used for online transactions where Apple Pay is not supported. Users can request a new virtual card anytime they wish to from the Wallet app.
The tight integration with the Wallet app is a major bonus for Apple Card but it is a shame that it does not work with other cards.
The Apple Card interface in the Wallet app is extremely nice: it provides detailed information about all your purchases, using machine learning to clean up merchant names and categorize your spending over time. You can set payment schedules in a variety of ways, play with a circular slider to see exactly how much interest you’ll be charged at various, and see how much you’re spending weekly and monthly.
Compared to something like Intuit’s Mint, it’s definitely smarter and simpler, but it’s also limited to just one card, so its overall utility is a little limited if you have any other cards or payments in your life to manage.
Below is what Panzarino had to say on this:
The card interface itself is multiples better to use than most card apps, with the new Amex apps probably coming the closest. But even those aren’t system level, requiring no additional usernames and passwords. Apple Card has a distinct advantage there, one that Apple I’m sure hopes to use to the fullest. This is highlighted by the fact that the Apple Card application option is present on the screen any time you add a new credit card or debit card to Apple Pay now. Top of mind.
One area where Apple Card works just like other credit cards is when one is looking to cancel it. For that, users will have to contact Goldman Sachs support which is a time-consuming process.
You can read more about Apple Card in our detailed FAQ.
Overall, the Apple Card is looking very promising, though yes, it is not without its own set of drawbacks. If you value points more than cashback, the Apple Card is definitely not for you. What do you think about the Apple Card based on the above previews?[Via The Verge, TechCrunch]