These unsatisfied customers aren’t giving the Apple Card much credit — and one writer in the popular discussion forum Reddit Inc. outlined what he describes as some of the most salient problems with the card in a social-media post that has gone viral.
The Reddit user, under the name PoliticalGuy2016, delivered a particularly biting critique of Apple’s AAPL, +1.19% card in a post entitled, “I’ve owned the Apple Card for 3 months, this is why it sucks compared to other credit cards.”
The poster, who identified himself as David and declined to give his last name, told MarketWatch that he vented his frustrations on Reddit before going to bed on Thursday night because he was tired of seeing rave reviews from tech enthusiasts online that overlooked the fact that the Apple Card was “missing the basic functionality” of many other cards.
“I woke up and was like, wow — I have a lot of notifications,” laughed David, 23, who works in fintech in Washington, D.C. Indeed, his original post had picked up almost 1,200 comments over 12 hours by early Friday afternoon.
David’s comments come three months after Apple’s hotly anticipated laser-etched, titanium card back by Goldman Sachs GS, +0.37% hit the market. Cardholders and analysts have responded with mixed reviews. Early controversies have included: accusing the card’s algorithms of discriminating against women; the fact that AppleCard wasn’t initially reporting consumer payment information to the credit bureaus; as well as the widely mocked care instructions, which warn that leather wallets and jeans can discolor the sleek card.
Still others love showing off the sleek card as a status symbol — especially those reaping 3% cash back on Apple products (under $1,000 anyway) at the Apple Store, as well as retailers and apps like Walgreens WBA, +1.07%, Uber UBER, +3.08%, Uber Eats and T-Mobile TMUS, +1.60%.
David’s other gripes include the card’s “absolutely dismal” 1% cash back reward when using the physical card. (It offers 2% back when using Apple Pay, however.) “Most cards offer between 1.5% and 2%,” he writes, citing the Citi CITI, +0.31% Double Cash card in particular, which offers unlimited 2% cash back on everything.”
An Apple representative wasn’t immediately able to respond to an emailed request from MarketWatch on the problems cited by its critics.
David allows that the 3% cash back on Apple-related purchases is generous, but adds that this often gets beaten by other cards. For example, the Amazon Rewards Visa Card from JPM, +0.72% Chase offers 5% cash back on all Amazon AMZN, -0.86% and Whole Foods purchases, as well as 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% back overall. (And it’s also a metal card, if you’re looking for that cool factor).
You also can’t add authorized users to the card, he complained. “What kind of 1980s bulls— is this?” he asks. He’s learned that he can’t make payments on his desktop or laptop computer; payments must be made on the mobile app or speaking with a customer service rep by phone. “I don’t know any credit card provider that is so archaic you cannot pay via a web portal,” he writes.
But for him, the biggest downside is that the card doesn’t integrate with budgeting apps such as Mint, which he says is “absolutely ridiculous.” Bottom line — he gives the Apple Card four out of 10 stars, admitting the four stars are only because “the flex is nice when you clank it on a table.”
“I signed up because I’m interested in maximizing rewards, and I wanted the 3% cash back on App Store and Apple Store transactions. And, I thought it looked cool. I wanted to actually hold it, because it is cool — physically,” he tells MarketWatch. “But it lacks the basic functionality that almost every other credit card has, he claims.
One Apple spokesperson said the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is working on allowing customers to export data into budgeting apps.
Still, the early problems have caused some to stop using the newfangled card altogether. “I got the card for clout a few months ago,” chimes in another, “but I’m using it less and less, and will eventually stop. The cash back has been terrible.”
Some complain that the Apple Card “locks” you into Apple’s ecosystem because you need Apple Pay to take advantage of the best cash back benefits, which requires having an iPhone.
Others have taken issue with the Apple Card’s customer service, such as one user who says someone stole their card number, yet a customer service rep reportedly responded with, “that can’t happen.”
And some others cited the “sexist algorithms” that have been making headlines lately — including from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — that have launched an investigation into how the Apple Card determines credit limits and interest rates for cardholders.
“I agree with the original poster that 1% cash back with the physical card is below average, and even 2% on most Apple Pay purchases isn’t ground-breaking (a few merchants offer 3%),” Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com, told MarketWatch. “Most people would come out ahead by using a card such as Citi Double Cash which offers 2% cash back on all purchases (technically 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay it off). Apple Card’s lack of a sign-up bonus is also disappointing for rewards aficionados.”
“The Apple Card is, at its core (no pun intended), a very basic cash-back card,” agreed Sara Rathner, credit cards expert at NerdWallet. It has cool technological bells and whistles, but if what a consumer really wants is a steady stream of cash back without having to debate where to use a card and when, there are other options on the market.”
But Rossman also noted that “we’re probably all guilty of holding Apple Card to a higher standard,” so the card could be a victim of the brand’s previous success. And he gave the card credit for “doing some nice things around the margins, like improving security by housing the card number, expiration date and card verification value in your phone rather than on the physical card.”
He recommends it for those with subprime credit, or someone who is new to credit, as “you’re unlikely to qualify for a card with better rewards than Apple Card.”
Indeed, there were also comments on the Reddit thread that support the card. Some say that their Apple Card interest rates are half as much as those on their other cards. Those who use Apple Pay often say they are reaping cash back rewards, and Apple reps have said that more apps and retailers will be part of the 3% Daily Cash club in the future.
As for David’s final verdict: “I probably just won’t use it, except for if I’m going to buy something off of the App Store.”