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A Look at Apple Card

Friends know me to be fanatical about two things: Apple, and credit cards. The Apple Card is hence an overlap of two of the major interests in my life and something one might think I’d be extremely stoked about. Unfortunately, it isn’t a terribly exciting card from a credit card enthusiast’s perspective, though it does provide a few nice things I wish would come to every credit card issuer.

It’s a freaking titanium card

I’m probably not alone here, but I want the Apple Card just to have a laser-etched titanium card designed by Apple. Looks of a card may not be the first priority for many, but the fact that metal cards exist shows that some people (namely me) do care for a card that looks and feel premium compared to plastic ones that tend to get dogeared and peel after a while.

Instant gratification

Apple Card’s cashback has little to boast about: 2% on Apple Pay purchases is rather abysmal. Standard Chartered Spree Card does this, and barely anyone uses it. 3% on Apple purchases, be it hardware or digital transactions, is perhaps a bit better, but with cards readily giving 4 mpd on such purchases, it’s not much to shout about either. A really compelling feature, however, that other credit card issuers should adopt is the instant cashback that Apple Card gives to its users.

Typical cashback cards have you waiting for at least a month after your statement date, which means transactions early at the start of the month can take almost 2 months to reward you with cashback. If I’m not wrong, Amex True Cashback Card is probably the fastest right now to provide the cashback within the same statement month, and that still takes a couple of weeks at least.

Getting rewards immediately is definitely better for users. It feels way better than having to wait weeks and months, and also allows for better planning of expenditure since we can know quickly whether a particular transaction qualified for rewards. I don’t think it’d be too bad for card issuers either – instant gratification tends to translate into less prudence, and I imagine credit card companies do want their users to spend a little more recklessly. Giving the rewards instantly nudges people in that direction.

Lack of annoying, annoying fees

This is another aspect of credit cards that people really hate. Why should I pay a late fee if I’m already going to pay interest on the amounts owed? It’s made worse when late fees have been climbing up over the years, to a rather obscene $100 that some banks charge.

Annual fees are also highly annoying and not something that people would ever want to pay anyway. Banks waive it almost readily as soon as you ask for it, and when they don’t, one would just cancel the card and re-apply if he/she needs it.

The only reason for this song and dance is so that banks get to bleed us the chance they have, and that’s only a relationship we begrudgingly accept only because that’s the way things are. It’s not difficult to root for Apple here when they get rid of such fees, and I do hope (and it’s a fat one) that card issuers follow suit, at least with the annual fees.

A great app to manage the card

If there’s anything we can expect from Apple besides the physical looks of the card, it’d an intuitive way to manage it, and I don’t think Apple is going to disappoint here. Admittedly, it is a pretty low bar when some banking apps look remarkably like webpages from the year 1999 (ahem CIMB, Maybank).

Apps have been trying to help manage your personal finances for as long as apps were a thing, but one that is automatic like the Apple Card app promises to be truly takes the friction out of it. I manually inputted my finances for about a decade and completely stopped earlier this year because it just felt like too much work. Having a card that does this for you is incredibly convenient. It perhaps isn’t enough to give up better rewards for, but one can only hope that such features may trickle to other cards as long as you make the payment via Apple Pay.

Would it ever come to Singapore?

The American company it is, Apple has always been quite US-centric in its product offerings. Singapore is an affluent country with a high credit card penetration, but it remains an incredibly tiny market compared to other countries and thus easy to ignore. Will Apple ever bother to tie up with a local bank to offer it here?

We were fortunate enough to be one of the few Asian countries to get Apple Pay, at least, some 2 years after the US launch, so here’s hoping that we’d see Apple Card in our shores one day. I need my titanium Apple Card to go with my Apple everything else.

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