The new Apple Rewards credit card: Should you bite?

“Apple and Barclaycard have just released the new Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards that finally offers Apple fans rewards in the form of Apple store gift cards,” Jason Steele writes via Yahoo Finance.

“Customers can apply for this card online or at Apple stores, and receive deferred-interest financing on their Apple purchases. This means that interest accrues at the standard rate, and will be waived only if cardholders pay off their entire purchase within the promotional financing period,” Steele writes. “If they fail to pay off their entire purchase in time, they will have to pay all interest charges on their average daily balance since the day of the purchase. Six months of deferred-interest financing is offered for purchases below $499, 12 months for purchases between $499 and $998, and 18 months for purchases of $999 or more.”

“In addition, this card also offers three points in the Apple Rewards program for every dollar spent on purchases made directly from Apple at Apple stores, online or over the phone. Double points are earned from dining and one point is earned for each dollar spent on all other purchases. Once 2,500 points are earned, cardholders receive a $25 Apple gift card,” Steele writes. “Although this card is equipped with an EMV chip and even chip and PIN compatibility, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee levied on all charges processed outside the U.S. There is no annual fee.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Math(s):
      $1 = 3 points
      2500 points/3 = $833.3 spent per $25 gift card back
      $25/$833.3 = 0.03, aka 3% back.

      EMV = Europay, MasterCard, Visa
      …a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or “chip cards”) and IC card capable point of sale (POS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs), for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.

      In February 2010, computer scientists from Cambridge University demonstrated that an implementation of EMV PIN entry is vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack; however, the way PINs are processed depends on the capabilities of the card and the terminal.

      IOW: NOT a perfectly secure system. PLUS, these cards are JUST as vulnerable to the Windows XP Embedded POS ‘in-the-clear’ RAM data robbery as the old magnetic stripe cards.

      1. AND as they warn at the bottom of the source article:

        Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

        IOW: Expect loan shark levels of loan interest, as per usual. Borrower beware. Don’t let them GETCHA!

    1. Absolutely ridiculous. I have gotten TONS of stuff for free by using credit cards, including video game systems and video games, plus a bunch of checks from another credit card.

      I pay NO interest and no yearly fee. Thus it’s cheaper AND more convenient than cash.

      1. I agree, I don’t know why your star rating is so low. I use cash for small purchases like coffee, but for everything else I use my Costco Amex (soon to be MC because Costco gave Amex the boot).
        I don’t pay for a Costco card. They cut me a check each year and so does Amex. Probably about $500 per year between the two of them and I don’t have business expenses, just groceries and gas.

        Works for me. I’ve never paid 1 penny in credit card interest or an annual fee in 25 years.

  1. It doesn’t sound like that great of a deal.

    First of all, pairing a rewards card with a special financing payment plan is a total mismatch. For any rewards card to be worth it, you have to be able pay your credit bill in full every month (otherwise you’ll end up spending more interest than you earn in rewards) – and anyone who can pay off their whole credit bill every month wouldn’t need a payment plan to make purchases.

    Second, the best rewards cards this is competing with just give you cash back. This card, instead, gives reward “points” that can only be spent on Apple gift cards. That is far more limiting than cash bask. Also, requiring you to keep converting between points and dollars is just unnecessary annoying extra step – I’m pretty sure the only purpose of using “points” instead of dollars is to confuse or mislead people about how much their rewards are worth.

    1. First, rewards are rewards, and interest is interest. Having a card with interest doesn’t negate the rewards.

      If you maintain a $1000 balance at 15% interest and spend and pay off another $5000 a year with 3% rewards, then you are still benefiting from the rewards. They are effectively paying all your interest for you.

      $5000 * 3% = $1000 * 15%.

      Second, you are right. Cash Dollars > Gift Dollars.

  2. This shark ain’t biting. Horrible deal. The point system is not at all appealing for those of us who would purchase something via a debit card or a credit card and pay in full when the bill is due. No thanks Apple.

    1. WHAT???

      I pay my credit cards off in full – weekly. I keep track of everything I spend via Quicken iOS APP while I’m out and about, then confirm it all in the morning when Quicken on my Mac syncs the data between the iPhone, and online accounts at the banks. Then Friday evening, I submit online payments to any card that has been used throughout the week. That means I pay $0 interest on my purchases, and get the full protection / backing from the credit card companies as well, if there is a problem.

      In my Apple Pay are the following 3 cards – AMEX (with no rewards program), my PNC Debit card (no rewards program) and my Barclaycard Visa which just got upgraded to a Barclaycard Apple Rewards Visa. With all 3 cards the result is $0 interest. So, why wouldn’t I want to use the Barclaycard and earn rewards for Apple purchases?

      My preferred card until this morning has always been the AMEX because they provide better protection for purchases. The Visa and Debit card are only there because not everyone accepts AMEX. I’m thinking now the preferred card is going to be the Barclaycard Apple Rewards card – if though the reward is small, it will probably add up to a better Watch by March than I was planning on.

      On top of that, the next time I go to by a new Mac, they’ll give me 0% interest for 24 months … why wouldn’t I use their money for 23 months instead of giving them my cash right away?

  3. This is nothing new as far as I can tell, why is it being mentioned now? I used an Apple card from Barclays six years ago that provided zero interest and rewards in form of gift cards from Apple.

  4. 3% effective cash back on Apple purchases, is a great deal for those who make enough Apple purchases to keep a separate credit card account open just for them. But for most individuals, even Apple fans who buy the newest iPhone, Mac, and iPad every year, that probably doesn’t mean it’s worth their time. Maybe for those who buy all of that for a family of 5, or a small business…

    For everyone else, Chase Amtrak Mastercard offers ~2.5% effective cash back on ALL purchases; great for those who ride Amtrak often. And airline mileage cards also can come close to ~2% effective cash back on ALL purchases.

    In general, cards that offer great rewards for just a narrow category of purchases (whether Apple, or dining, or gas, or…) aren’t a great deal, compared to Amtrak or airline mile cards. A decade ago you could find cards that offered as much as 2% actual cash back on all purchases; but more recently haven’t seen that deal much above 1%.

  5. The foreign transaction fee has nothing to do with security, extra work, risk analysis or anything other than just another opportunity for banks to make an extra fee of their customers. That’s all it is. I won’t use any card that gouges its customers this way – even if it’s co-sponsored by Apple (which, let’s face it, outdoes every other vendor in figuring out how to milk the most from its loyal customer base, such as offering a 16 Gb iPhone 6 despite the super low cost of RAM while also knowing that these people will all want too upgrade as soon as they are financially able).

  6. here’s another warning on this Apple deferred financing scheme. It’s 0% interest if paid off within the term of the finance period – 18 months for > $2,000. However if you make one late payment, then interest is due for the entire finance period – mine is 23%. So it’s a pretty terrible card – I got it because I was desperate but I have to be really careful about not making a late payment.

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