Apple Launches a New Credit Card From Goldman Sachs and It’s as Innovative as.. IBM and Microsoft

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A year ago we learned that Apple was dropping its co-brand relationship with Barclays and launching a new Mastercard with Goldman Sachs. That didn’t matter much since their existing card wasn’t particularly strong. There was hope the new card would be much better!

The old card had a typical 3-2-1 formulation with points redeemable for Apple and iTunes gift cards:

  • 3 points per dollar spent with Apple
  • 2 points at restaurants
  • 1 points everywhere else

The new card was just launched and has.. a typical 3-2-1 formulation, with rewards in cash:

  • 3% on Apple spend
  • 2% on Apple Pay spend
  • 1% everywhere else

That’s marginally better because you can get cash instead of gift cards, and 2% wherever you use Apple Pay. But who needs to go out of their way for 2% cash? It’s available already without the hassle.


Via Wikimedia Commons, Credit: Calerusnak

So why on earth would anyone get this card? Because reasons.

  • They’ll categorize your spending, which they say makes it easy to understand where your money goes
  • The card is integrated into their mobile wallet seamlessly
  • Cash back is available immediately (like awards are with Capital One), and can be sent to others [I can see problems developing with big charges that are cancelled or returned, like refundable airline tickets]
  • “no annual, late, international or over-the-limit fees”
  • It’s a titanium card with “no card number, CVV security code, expiration date or signature on the card” as though most credit cards are compromised by servers jotting down your number as opposed to through massive breaches of Marriott’s database.

Because it’s from Apple some of you will think it’s amazing, of course.

However there are no ‘benefits’ for being an Apple cardmember like early access to products, special activations at Apple stores, some form of better treatment for cardmembers. This is a huge missed opportunity because there’s more or less no reason to get this card as a result.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. The no fees and “immediate” cash back are the innovative side. How earth shattering can a credit card from a store be?

  2. Seems like it’d be difficult to make a lot of purchases online if they don’t have Apple Pay integrated. For example, if you don’t have the card number, CVV, and expiration date, how can you buy airline tickets?

    Seems somewhat shortsighted.

  3. @Daniel – I agree with Gary. There can be other benefits that Apple could offer at low/no cost and make a fortune:

    * Apple Cardholders get priority pre-ordering of the next iDevice
    * Extra Genius Bar same-day appointments available
    * Meet and greet events with Apple designers/execs/etc open exclusively to cardholders
    * Guaranteed no interest financing on new iDevices (essentially what Apple offers now but no credit check needed, it just puts the device cost on your card and charges 0% interest)

  4. @HT:
    ” For example, if you don’t have the card number, CVV, and expiration date, how can you buy airline tickets?”

    I’m guessing you didn’t watch the actual announcement. They made it clear that you can access all of that information from your phone if you need it.

    @Gary: no mention of all the other things that make this card attractive?

    – No annual fee
    – No cash-advance fee
    – No foreign transaction fees
    – No over limit fee
    – No late fees
    – Lower interest rates than pretty much everyone else (5-6%)

    Those aren’t minor things.

    We get it, you’re one of those Apple haters. Cool. It’s cool to hate on Apple. But all of those things listed above are certainly worth mentioning, and you do your readers a disservice by not mentioning them.

  5. @Nick: How would that be anti-competitive? Those are a similar style of perks to what airline co-brand cards offer.

  6. I have no interest in the card but bloggers and churners probably have little interest since there’s no welcome bonus and presumably affiliate links or some way for bloggers to be paid for touting the card.

  7. The no late fee. no cash advance fee features surely would be gamed, so as the ability to send your reward $ to others.
    These features especially the ability to send the reward $ to anyone, would not last long once Goldman Sachs and Apple realize how much these can cost them.

  8. I disagree, Gary. Microsoft and IBM revolutionized the world we live in while this card – meh. I love Apple, but they could have done better on this one.

  9. >>> as though most credit cards are compromised by servers jotting down your number as opposed to through massive breaches of Marriott’s database.<<<

    Are you just blowing smoke, or do you have some numbers on how many people have lost money from Marriott? Or are you actually referring to the pre-Marriott Starwood breach?

    I have hundreds of nights with Marriott, and never had a cc problem. Every time my card has been compromised has been because a local merchant wrote down my physical card info.

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