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apple card and the impact on the payment ecosystem

Stepping into credit cards

Apple's CEO stepping out onto the stage and presenting something new that gets customers extremely excited while the competition lose sleep is, by now, practically business as usual. This year that something is Apple Card. 

Apple Steps Into Credit Card Business

The card, the result of Apple joining forces with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, marks the company's foray into the credit card business. But now that Apple Card is finally here, what is it actually?

It’s a card offering something almost nobody else does: with Apple Card there are no penalty interest rates, no late fees, no annual fees, no international fees

However, while there will also be no foreign transaction fees, the exchange rate for such transactions will still be determined by Mastercard rather than Apple.

That it integrates seamlessly with your iPhone is a given, but the sign-up process also involves your mobile phone and it takes only minutes before you can start using your Apple Card.

Users can make both regular and Apple Pay purchases and it works anywhere retailers accept Mastercard, which is to say, virtually all over the globe. The Apple Card can be used for all digital payments, be it from Apple, other online retailers, renewing your Netflix subscription or paying for Lyft. The card doesn't, however, support contactless, so Apple Pay is still the way to go at tap terminals.

Secure is as Secure Does

Signature? The Apple Card neither requires nor displays it since recent network changes removed the requirement for signatures at credit card points of sale. Also, each purchase requires a confirmation code and biometric identification, which further increases security - even if someone has skimmed or copied your card, they will not be able to make online purchases without confirmation. 

Tracking, Spending, Saving

The card comes with an app that pulls data from Apple Maps to allow you to track where you made your purchases and also provides full info on all transactions, including interest charges and cash back.

Said cash back is 1% for the physical card, 2% for Apple Pay purchases, and 3% for all purchases made from Apple and can, through Apple Cash, be used to maintain your balance. 

Card Numbers for the 21st Century

While the physical card has no number, the app will display only the last four digits, ensuring the full card number is never visible. Apple Card can also generate virtual card numbers and virtual confirmation codes for online non-Apple Pay purchases. This number is semi-permanent and can be used for as long as the customer wishes, but can also be regenerated at any moment if the situation requires. 

Regenerating the number may require you to re-enter a subscription or an ongoing service, but most retailers already use the "Card on File" systems with account updater services that deal with such situations and make your experience frictionless.

Credit cards are an area in which Apple has been making overtures for quite some time. Now, they’ve finally committed to it fully.

This places Apple in direct competition with the likes of Square, Venmo and most importantly, Amazon, which has been enjoying a great partnership with Visa.

While the financial market has received a healthy dose of new competition, Apple's customers - both old and new - will certainly enjoy the benefits of a credit card fully integrated with Apple's various other services.

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And how are Apple users reacting to this development? 

Well, the fact that the physical card itself is made of titanium and laser-etched was received with some enthusiasm, with people remarking that it will certainly become a status symbol as much as the recent Airpods were. The "no fees" policy also seems to be a big selling point, as well as the promised detailed outline of every transaction, including location

There were, however, those that pointed out a lack of any sign-up bonus or that while Apple Card seems to aim at the widest possible market, it obviously has no inclination to target the smaller section of users who are interested in maximizing benefits and rewards. Perhaps the best summation of Apple Card was made by a Twitter user who pointed out that Apple consolidated the best parts of already existing services into a single, "shiny" package.