Earlier this week, Apple began sending out invites for its newest product, the Apple Card. The preview period will only last a few more weeks, as Apple ramps up to fully launch its new credit card later in August.
Indeed, Apple’s approach to mobile payments can be confusing, considering there’s now Apple Pay, Apple Cash and Apple Card, all three of which are different services that work in similar, yet different ways. (CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt does a fantastic job breaking down the differences.)
With Apple Card, Apple took a new approach to how users interact with and manage a credit card. From a simple signup process to viewing your spending habits, earning Daily Cash, and paying your bill — everything is done on your iPhone.Â
I was able to get an invite for the preview, and after reading through the fine print, I decided to sign up.Â
How to sign up
For the next few weeks, Apple is slowly rolling the Apple Card via a preview program. If you signed up to be notified of its launch, then you have a chance of getting randomly selected to participate. Apple Card will fully roll out in the US by the end of August, no preview invite required. Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 12.4 before you try to sign up.Â
The signup process is the same, whether you receive an invite or wait for the full launch:Â
- Open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
- Tap the + button in the top-right corner.
- If you see a screen explaining what Apple Pay is, tap Continue.
- Select Apple Card from the list of available payment methods.
- Apple fills out most of the signup form for you using your Apple ID information. You’ll need to confirm the information, add the last four digits of your social security number, enter your annual income, and accept the Apple Card terms and conditions.
- Once you’re done, you’ll receive an offer of what your credit limit and interest rate will be. Tap Accept Apple Card to open your Apple Card account. Select No Thanks if you change your mind.
Once you accept the offer, you’ll be asked if you want to set Apple Card as your default card. If select Use as Default Card your Apple Card will be triggered for all contactless payments, and your Apple payment source for the Apple Store (apps, movies, subscriptions) will be changed to use the Apple Card.Â
Lastly, during the signup process, you’re asked if you want to receive a physical Apple Card in the mail for use in places that don’t have contactless payment systems. If you don’t want a physical card right now, you can always request one later on.Â
Using your Apple Card
Immediately after opening your Apple Card account, you’ll have a digital version of the card available in Apple Pay. You can begin using it to make purchases right away — I bought some coffee at Starbucks just a few minutes after setting my account up.Â
The process for using your Apple Card through Apple Pay is the same as it’s always been: Place your phone near a payment terminal and use Touch ID or Face ID to approve the transaction.Â
Apple will also add your Apple Card to Safari’s auto-fill feature, which you’ve likely seen a prompt for when ordering something in Safari on your phone or Mac. If you’re not being prompted to use your Apple Card, or any card for that matter, when making purchases in Safari need to go into your iPhone’s Settings app and select Safari > AutoFill and turn on Credit Cards.Â
If you want to use your Apple Card on a website that doesn’t accept Apple Pay, and you’re not a Safari user, your Apple Card has a semipermanent virtual card number (more on what that means below). You can find your card’s number on your iPhone by opening the Wallet app, selecting your Apple Card and then the three-dot icon in the top-right corner followed by Card Information.Â
There you’ll find a card number, expiration date and security code; all of the information you’d need to make a purchase online or over the phone.Â
Your titanium Apple Card should arrive in the mail within a week of signing up. Once it does, you’ll need to activate it either in the Wallet app (for older iPhone models) or by holding your iPhone XS or iPhone XR near the card’s envelope and following the prompts.Â
The Wallet app is your Apple Card account portal
The Wallet app on your iPhone is where you go to view and manage your Apple Card account. Your card is tied to your Apple ID, so you don’t need to worry about creating and remembering another password.Â
You’ll notice as you begin to make purchases, the Apple Card in the Wallet app changes colors and looks different after every transaction. That’s Apple’s way of gently showing you what your spending habits are, with each color representing a different category.Â
Currently, there are seven spending categories: Shopping, Food & Drinks, Entertainment, Services, Travel, Transportation and Health.Â
To view your spending habits, open the Wallet app and select your Apple Card. You’ll see a list of recent transactions, your balance, any upcoming payments, and weekly activity.Â
Tap on a transaction to view more details, including the exact location it was made at, how much Daily Cash you earned, and view how much money you’ve spent at that business for the given month.Â
Select Weekly Activity to view a charge of your purchases, broken down by the same color-coded categories that determine what your Apple Card looks like. Alternatively, you can tap View Monthly to breakdown spending patterns by each month.Â
After purchases begin posting to your account, you’ll be able to make a payment and view how much interest your current balance will accrue over time. View your Apple Card in the Wallet app and tap on the Payment panel. At the top of the screen will be your billing date. A circular slider will let you adjust a payment amount, and just below that, you’ll see any interest charges that will be charged. Tap Pay Now when you’re ready to make a payment.Â
The first time you make a payment you’ll need to add a bank account. If you already use Apple Cash, then you’ll be asked if you want to use the same bank account and the information will automatically get filled in for you. Otherwise, you’ll need your bank’s routing number and your account number.Â
Using your Apple Card, you’ll earn cash back on every purchase. The amount of Daily Cash you earn is based on how (and in once instance, where) a purchase is made. For all purchases made at Apple, be it for your Apple Music subscription or a new iPhone in the Apple Store, you’ll earn 3% back. For all contactless payments, you’ll earn 2% back. For the times when you use the physical card, you’ll get 1% back.Â
Here’s how the Apple Card compares to Chase Saphire and Amazon’s Prime Rewards credit cards.
You don’t have to do anything to claim your Daily Cash — Apple will process and transfer it to your Apple Cash card every night. So if you purchased an iPad Pro at the Apple Store and the total was $1,000, you should expect to have $30 on your Apple Cash card the next day.Â
You can then use your Apple Cash balance to pay towards the balance on your Apple Card, spend it using Apple Pay, or transfer it to your bank account.Â
Check on your Daily Cash transaction history by going into the Wallet app, selecting your Apple Card then the “…” icon in the top-right corner. View your transaction history under Weekly Activity and select Daily Cash.Â
What happens if you lose your card or, even worse, your phone?
If you misplace or lose the physical Apple Card, you can freeze it in the Wallet app. You can then unfreeze the card if you recover it, and begin using it again. If you lose it and are unable to find it, you can cancel your old card and request a new one all within the Wallet app.Â
Replace your virtual card
If your virtual card has been compromised, you can cancel it and request a new number from the Wallet app. Doing so will immediately give you a new number and security code, invalidating the previous card number. Your virtual card number is not the same number that’s on your physical card, so getting a new virtual number will require you to order a replacement card.Â
To request a new virtual card number, view your Apple Card in the Wallet app and tap on the “…” icon in the top-right corner. Select Card Information > Request New Card Number. You’ll need to confirm you want a new card number, after which it will be updated.Â
What happens if you lose your phone?
If you lose your iPhone, the first thing to do is turn on Lost Mode using Find My iPhone. Doing so will prevent anyone from using all the cards you’ve added to Apple Pay. Next, you’ll need to contact Apple support at 1-877-255-5923 and request that your virtual card number and, if needed, your physical card be frozen.Â
Where to turn to for customer support
The quickest and easiest way to get support for your Apple Card account is via iMessage. You can start a conversation with Apple support by viewing your Apple Card settings in the Wallet app.
Tap on the Message button, and an iMessage thread will begin where you can chat with a support representative from Goldman Sachs, the card issuer and bank for Apple Card. Next to the Message option, you’ll also find the option to call support or visit the support website.Â
Don’t go to an Apple Store — support for Apple Card is handled by Goldman Sachs, so Apple Store employees probably aren’t going to be much help beyond directing you to Goldman Sachs.Â
Since Apple Card is part of the Mastercard network, you are eligible for some Mastercard network benefits, for which you’ll need to contact Mastercard support — for example, for help with its identity theft protection program, or free ShopRunner shipping.Â
What if you switch to Android?
If you decide that it’s time to jump ship to Android, you can still use the physical version of your Apple Card and continue to pay towards your balance — but, you’ll need to call in your payments to 1-877-255-5923. Without an iPhone, all of the benefits and streamlined interactions that make the Apple Card unique all but disappear.Â
You can use your iPad to view transaction history and similar information, but you won’t be able to make payments, view spending habits or any of the more in-depth features you’ll find on iPhone.Â
As we continue to use Apple Card, charging, making payments and monitoring our spending, there’ll surely be more features we discover. We’ll continue to update this post in the coming days and weeks.Â