In March 2019, Apple announced it’d be releasing a credit card. The internet immediately started pulsing with excitement as people became enthralled with the titanium structure of the card, Apple’s misleading promise that it isn’t “created” by a bank and the curiosity of the card being operated through user’ iPhones. An oath was made that card users would reap the benefits of high cashback, no extra fees and interactive online modules that allow cardholders to track their spending.
As with many shiny new toys big companies mold for the purpose of sticking their hands in consumer’s pockets, this has more than one massive catch — and some of them are dangerous.
Perhaps the most vicious lie in Apple’s credit card scheme is the false implication that the card isn’t tied to a bank. Sure, Apple can say they “created” the card, but the card must be tied to a bank in some way — the money can’t appear from thin air. It’s no wonder why Apple isn’t promoting what bank is supporting the credit card because it’s being backed by a company who was recently entangled in a massive scandal where they admitted to defrauding their investors — Goldman Sachs. The New York Times now calls the defrauding “one of the most significant scandals in its history.”
Besides the terrifying reality of the Apple card being linked to Goldman Sachs, there are plenty of other more technical aspects that coat ugly truths with sweet falsities. One YouTuber with the username “This is Tech Today” published a video titled, “The Apple credit card was designed to trap you forever.” In it, he talks about the long-term effect of buying the card. It ties users to Apple products for life. This is because the Apple card only works on Apple products. In other words, if the consumer ever wants to use their credit card again, they must have a working Apple product. It’s a stroke of business genius that some users may actually be happy about, as consolidating services is quite convenient, but it’s also something that many probably won’t even think about before purchasing.
Another YouTuber specializing in credit card analysis, Graham Stephan, made a video explaining why the Apple card simply isn’t as beneficial as other cards. He explains that while it offers you 2% cashback, so do plenty of other cards like Citibank. Apple also tries to entice buyers with 3% cashback when purchasing other Apple products. Stephan reveals the flaw in this logic by showing that a better deal is possible with Citibank, who might only offer 2% cash back but who also grants a free warranty on Apple products that the Apple card would force users to pay over $200 for. In the end, users would actually save less money purchasing Apple products with the Apple card than with another company like Citibank.
Negatives aside, the Apple card is unique and technologically advanced, and it’ll be purchased in droves among younger generations and college students for those factors alone. Features like the card directly tracking where and how much users spend, which can be done with any card by installing apps like “Penny,” and the physical absence of a credit card number on the outside which allows for a convenient technical sync to the iPhone and no need to type in digits when ordering online is certainly cool, but it isn’t practical. This is because the card operates through phones on Apple Pay — which plenty of businesses don’t accept as a form of payment.
Just because the Apple card is something different and exciting doesn’t mean it’s better than traditional credit cards. Don’t fall into the trap of supporting this card just because Apple has pitched it in a way that appeals to the masses.
Josie Haneklau is a sophomore political science and psychology double major. Contact Josie at firstname.lastname@example.org.