11 Apple Card features you can get elsewhere—and 4 you can’t

As slick because the Apple Card is, its options are distinctive most effective of their combine, presentation, and integration into iOS. Doing industry in different places doesn’t imply you fail to see real-time fraud indicators, fee reminders, coins again and the like.

If truth be told, the vast majority of the Apple Card’s defining options were round for ages, and odds are they’re to be had in a bank card you already possess. That’s in particular so if it was once issued through one in all huge banks—Chase, American Categorical, Uncover, Citibank, Capital One, or Financial institution of The us.

Pitting the ones firms’ approaches towards Apple’s doesn’t lead to actual equivalents, after all. For instance, whilst maximum bank cards from a unmarried large financial institution include the advantages we’ve defined underneath, now not each one does; you’ll want to examine the particular card you have got or need has what you search. Some options additionally require handbook arrange. And a handful of options can’t be replicated in any respect.

However having a decision past Apple manner you’ll select the proper card for your private budget. The Apple Card as opposed to the contest isn’t a winner-takes-all state of affairs, as you’ll see.

Searching for particular bank card suggestions? We’ve made a listing of the most efficient Apple Card possible choices, with callouts for absolute best general, absolute best for coins again, absolute best for low-interest charges, and extra.

Apple Card options you’ll get in different places

Money-back rewards

You’ll get coins again as a praise with slightly a couple of bank cards that haven’t any annual price. Those playing cards range of their way. Some pay a flat charge for all purchases, with the most efficient ranging between 1.five to two p.c. Others be offering tiered rewards (just like the Apple Card), the place some classes of purchases qualify for various quantities of money again. For instance, the Uncover it Money Again doles out five p.c on a rotating sequence of classes, and 1 p.c on the entirety else, whilst the Citi Costco Any place Visa will pay four p.c on gasoline, three p.c on trip and eating, 2 p.c at Costco, and 1 p.c on the entirety else.

citi double cash info page Citibank

The Citi Double Money will pay 2 p.c on all purchases, not like the Apple Card.

Some Apple Card lovers have argued that the three p.c again for Apple purchases can’t be beat. That’s true however now not very related to maximum folks, as they’ll spend better quantities in spaces like meals, trip, and residential enhancements. The Apple Card gained’t maximize rewards for them.

When you’re available in the market for a brand new bank card anyway, a handful of the most efficient include sign-up bonuses or introductory bonus coins again, which will web juicy rewards that cancel out or exceed what you’d most often earn on an Apple Card. For instance, the Wells Fargo Propel awards a $300 sign-up bonus in case you spend $three,000 inside 90 days. Purchasing Apple items (say, a loaded MacBook) at the non-Apple Card is the smarter transfer, as you’d must spend $10,000 on Apple merchandise or products and services on an Apple Card to compare that quantity.

We identify particular suggestions for cash-back playing cards in our Absolute best Apple Card possible choices article, plus evaluate the numbers on cash-back percentages, rates of interest, and charges in our rundown of the Apple Card and its two nearest opponents.

Contactless fee

apple pay stores Apple

As a result of bank cards issued through primary banks fit with Apple Pay, you gained’t fail to see contactless fee as an possibility.

Skipping on an Apple Card in reality can building up your choices for contactless fee, since word on the street is that the bodily model of the Apple Card gained’t fortify it. The listing of banks that fortify Apple Pay contains the entire primary bank card issuers we researched for this text, plus a excellent choice of credit score unions and smaller banks, too. On most sensible of that, American Categorical, Capital One, Citibank, and Chase are all closely pushing bodily playing cards with tap-and-pay features at the moment.

Finish-of-the-month fee due date

Does the due date to your bank card fee fall in a clumsy a part of the month? You’ll transfer it. The entire large banks will let you select your personal, in most cases between the first and 28th of the month, supplied your account is present. (In different phrases, you haven’t any past-due bills.*) Maximum banks will let you make a selection the brand new date by means of their web site, but when now not, you’ll additionally achieve this with a telephone name.

Google Calendar Android200degrees (CC0)

You can change your payment due date in minutes.

Why the date-range limitation, and why can’t your payment due dates fall on exactly the end of every month, like with the Apple Card? It’s likely because of a strict adherence to the CARD Act of 2009. The regulations say that due dates for credit card payments must be the same day each month, and by disallowing the 29th, 30th, or 31st as options, card issuers can follow that law to the letter. (Or perhaps keep their software systems from choking.)

The upshot of this system that you can change the date to any day within that period. Perhaps you don’t get paid on the 1st or the 15th, or there are other bills that fall at the end of the month you’d prefer to space out. You can accommodate those.

*Some credit card issuers have further restrictions on how soon you can change your due date and how often you can do it. You may need to wait past the first billing cycle for a new card, or past 90 days since the last adjustment. Also, be aware American Express does distinguish between its credit cards and its charge cards, and Wells Fargo has some oddly specific dates that are acceptable.

Low interest rates

Because the Apple Card only has the lowest interest rates for a rewards credit card, it’s not hard to beat it on this one point. For one, you’re not guaranteed its absolute best annual percentage rates (APR)—that’s determined by how creditworthy Apple and Goldman Sachs find you.

low interest rate Patelco

Credit unions are the best source for straightforward, low-interest-rate credit cards.

Second, even if you are saving 2 to 3 percent over other rewards cards, you’re still accruing interest at a rate that’s anywhere from 6 to 27 percent higher than the better alternatives. Whatever you earn in rewards won’t be enough to come out ahead.

You have two options for a low-interest rate credit card. The first is straightforward and easier to manage: a plain, no-rewards credit card with no annual fee. Credit unions are your best bet for this type of card, as their mission is to serve their members. They do so by offering lower interest rates on loans and credit cards, and higher rates on savings accounts and certificates-of-deposit. Currently you can find low-interest cards from select credit unions with rates starting as low as 7.25 percent.

A few credit unions actually offer rewards cards with interest rates this low, but finding such a card is based on luck of geography and your affiliations. Credit unions allow people to join based on where they work, live, worship, or if a relative is already a member.

The second option is a zero-interest credit card, which is suited solely for people who have excellent credit, a specific strategy around their debt, and the ability to pay it off quickly. These cards generally offer an introductory rate of 0 percent interest on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 to 18 months. If you go this route, look to avoid fees if transferring a balance, and eliminate your debt before normal interest rates kick in (anywhere from 16 to 26 percent).

Metal credit card

Metal cards similar to the Apple Card aren’t numerous, but if you drop further down the list of larger credit card issuers, you can find a slab of metal alloy with no annual fee and a tiered set of rewards.

wells fargo propel info page Wells Fargo

Like the Apple Card, Wells Fargo Propel American Express card is made of metal and has cash-back rewards.

The standout example is the Wells Fargo Propel, an American Express card that has no annual or foreign transaction fees, and up to 3 percent back on select categories. It’s not an ideal option for anyone planning to carry a balance from month-to-month though, as the interest rates are much higher than the Apple Card’s. (But as mentioned above, you really shouldn’t carry a balance on a rewards card anyway.)

Dedicated travelers have more choices, but going in that direction is a different strategy than with an Apple Card. To make the most out of a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum, you must pay off your balance every month and dine out or travel with a certain frequency to overcome the hefty annual fees.

No fees

With an Apple Card, you completely avoid common fees like those of the annual, balance transfer, late payment, foreign transaction, cash advance, over the credit limit, and returned payment varieties. That’s a rarity, but not impossible to find elsewhere. You just need to sift through offerings from credit unions.

penfed promise visaPenFed

PenFed’s Promise Visa truly has zero fees.

Our searches uncovered one card available to everyone (provided that you can make a donation to charity if you’re non-military), Pentagon Federal Credit Union’s Promise Visa, and it’s possible that local credit unions in your area might have similar card. (Those near Macworld’s office are not completely fee-free, but the best have very few fees along with excellent benefits. The perks definitely vary from credit union to credit union.)

If you’re not able to avoid fees all together, you can and should avoid a few common ones. For starters, many good rewards cards don’t charge an annual fee. The best ones also don’t charge a foreign transaction fee, which is usually 1 to 3 percent of purchases made through a foreign merchant.*

As for late fees, you can typically request a waiver from customer service if you’re a customer who typically pays at least your monthly minimum due. Banks sometimes offer zero-fee balance transfers to select customers, as well. These options doesn’t remotely resemble the Apple Card, of course, but they do exist.

*Note: To avoid accidentally paying more for international purchases, always refuse being billed in U.S. dollars. The merchant’s bank will almost always use a worse conversion rate than your card’s network (Visa, Mastercard, etc.). This issue is separate than foreign transaction fees, so you’re not immune even with a card lacking fees.

Real-time fraud alerts

Virtually every bank and credit union offers real-time fraud alerts via text message, email, or through its app. Most credit card issuers automatically set these to fire if any suspicious activity is detected, but you can confirm they’re active by logging into your account. (Look for “account alerts.”)

capital one eno fraud alert Capital One

The Apple Card is not the lone credit card offering real-time fraud alerts.

When performing that double-check, you can also change your preferences for how alert are sent. Receiving messages through the app is slightly more secure than text messages, as the latter are vulnerable to hijacking (primarily through someone stealing your phone number and transferring it to a SIM card in their possession).

In addition to fraud alerts, which rely on algorithms based on your spending habits and general fraud trends, you can also manually set alerts for charges as a backup for catching suspicious activity. You can set these to trigger if a purchase exceeds a certain amount, and some issuers like Bank of America and Chase also let you set it based on location, such as a gas station or online. The exact options vary by institution.

Payment reminders (and other alerts)

All of the major credit card issuers let you set up text message, email, or app reminders for when your payments are due. The time frame for how soon you can be alerted varies between bank, but often it’s a customizable period.

You can also opt in to other alerts, like balance transfers, refunds, or charges over a certain amount. As mentioned above, real-time fraud alerts are usually active by default on accounts, but you can check on those from your account while logged in and customize them to suit your preferences.

The exact list of alerts varies slightly from bank to bank, with a few nuances particular to each one—for example, Bank of America lets you monitor online purchases made with your card. But overall, the approaches taken by the big card issuers mostly overlap.

Spending reports

citi spend summary Citibank

Citibank provides a categorized summary of your purchases, which you can access via a desktop computer or on mobile.

Colorful bar charts do make it easy to see where your money’s going. So it’s fortunate that other credit card issuers also break down your spending patterns. Most of the big banks give summaries of your purchases, along with color-coded categories and the ability to drill into each to see the individual transactions. The feature goes by different names at each institution—like Spend Analyzer or Trend Summary—so you may have to hunt a little while logged in to find the option.

Of the bunch, Citibank stands out for the ability to go beyond weekly and monthly summaries. You can choose custom time periods that let you see even just a few days’ worth of categorized purchases. Other card issuers provide a minimum of yearly intervals, with companies like American Express and Discover offering a better set of time spans that include a monthly summary as the shortest period.

Text-based customer service

apple card imessage Apple

Discover and Wells Fargo also use Business Chat to communicate with customers, though Wells Fargo’s service is still in a pilot phase and unavailable in our area for us to try.

Apple’s real-time, text-based customer service is a boon for people who hate talking on the phone, much less wasting time listening to dreary hold music. You get the same level of service and security as you would by calling in, as it’s handled by live agents over Apple’s Business Chat feature in iMessage.

Most big card issuers rely on standard SMS text messages for limited, automated interaction, but two of them—Discover and Wells Fargo—also make use of Business Chat, opening up that same ease of communication to their customers. (Wells Fargo is still in a pilot phase, however, so this contact method is only available in supported locations.) When we tried out Discover’s service, it worked just as the Apple Card’s does. Responses were reasonably timely, with little back and forth before our question was answered.

Virtual credit-card numbers

Virtual card numbers are a security benefit provided by both Apple and its some of its rivals, but their styles of implementation differ.

For the Apple Card, a virtual number protects you from fraud if your physical card goes missing. You only see it in the Wallet app, and only use it for purchases made online and over the phone. It’s separate from the physical card and how those transactions process.

capital one eno virtual card number Capital One

Capital One and Citibank’s virtual card numbers are merchant-specific, which provides an added layer of protection if the number gets stolen or leaked.

This virtual number does not add any extra protection for digital and phone purchases. It remains constant until you decide to regenerate it through the app. If it changes, you will need to update your billing info with every business who charges you on a recurring basis (e.g., a cell phone provider). The process is the same as if you had to request a replacement physical card from a typical bank, but with fewer delays.

In contrast, Apple’s rivals on this front —Citibank, Capital One, and Bank of America—treat a virtual number as a random credit card number with a unique expiration date and CVV tied to your account. Its specific purpose is to provide privacy and security for shopping done online and over the phone. You can create more than one of these at a time through the bank’s website (or if available, an installed desktop application) and use them simultaneously, too. 

Depending on the bank, these numbers can also be specific to the merchant they’re used with (Citibank, Capital One) and can have customizable expiration dates up to one year in the future (Bank of America, Citibank). Citibank also allows you to set a custom spending limit.

If you must replace your physical card with one that has a refreshed account number, you don’t need to make any updates involving your virtual numbers. You only have to update your billing info when the virtual number expires.

Next: Apple Card features you can’t get elsewhere


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