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The Apple Card boasts compelling, user-friendly features: Are they really unique?

Newly launched Apple Card promotes comprehensive tracking tools for users, but it might not be the first

Summary

Apple Card is boasting user-friendly spend tracking, interest calculation and payment features. Here’s how they stack up against similar features from other card issuers.

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Apple Card is officially on the market, and it’s safe to say it’s garnered a lot of attention. With a rewards rate that is tailored to Apple fanatics, the card’s main draw is a combination of top-notch security and seamless usability.

The Apple Card’s rewards rate has seen some criticism from industry experts – as it is only competitive if you use Apple Pay regularly. But it seems Apple Card hopes to make up for this lackluster earning rate by offering one-of-a-kind features in the Wallet App that make tracking your spending, managing monthly payments and adjusting your budget simpler.

See related: Guide to the new Apple Card

This begs the question – are the features on the Apple Card truly unique? And does user-friendly functionality make up for less cash back? Read on to learn how Apple Card’s features stack up against those from other issuers and if they are worth the hype.

Feature breakdown: Apple Card vs. other issuers

Apple Card has plenty of draws, including some of the best security on the market and a metal card for no annual fee. It also offers a user-friendly interface on the Wallet app, where cardholders can visualize their spend activity, payment due dates, current balance and more. This app comes with a bevy of features designed to support users – here’s how they stack up to other cards.

See related: Apple Card Daily Cash: Deep dive

Spend summaries

What Apple Card offers:

  • Spending totals by week and month
  • Color-coded graph to help you spot trends available in app

What other issuers offer:

Chase, Capital One and American Express all offer some sort of spend summary report, but only in monthly or yearly statements. Apple Card is the only one to offer weekly reports.

However, both Chase and American Express offer color-coded graphs in their spend tracking, to help users identify what categories they are spending the most in. On the downside, both of these issuers’ tools come with drawbacks that make them less user-friendly than the Apple Card’s spend reports.

Chase’s color-coded report is displayed as a pie chart, and it is a bit more difficult to read than the graph on Apple Card. Colors blend into each other, and percentages are represented in a list next to the chart. Additionally, the feature is only available on the desktop site.

Amex’s display is much more appealing and breaks down spending by both category and top merchants. However, the report is only available on the desktop site – not in app – and it is difficult to find.

Spend activity tracking

What Apple Card offers:

  • Lists merchant name, city and date of purchase, and you can tap each merchant to view all the purchases you’ve made with that particular retailer
  • Purchase history by spend category (such as food or entertainment)
  • View where the merchant is on a map to better identify where you made a purchase.

What other issuers offer:

All other major credit card issuers list recent purchases in their apps, with the merchant name, city and date of purchase. For more specific information, Chase – like Apple Card – allows users to click on a particular merchant to view all recent charges with that merchant.

While American Express offers a list of your most common merchants on your trends page alongside your spend summary, it does not offer this functionality on the list of recent purchases. Capital One does not include the option to view all purchases with a specific merchant.

See related: Apple Card: Worth its weight in titanium?

The ability to visualize merchants on a map is touted as unique to Apple Card, but this is not the case. American Express also offers users a geographical view of particular transactions – though only on the desktop site.

Additionally, both Chase and Amex allow cardholders to easily filter recent purchases by spend category from their summary pages. Only Capital One does not offer this functionality.

Interest calculator

What Apple Card offers:

  • Use a slider to choose a monthly payment in any amount, and the interest you’ll pay is automatically calculated
  • Customized payment suggestions to get your balance paid off without accruing too much interest

What other issuers offer:

The interest calculator is where Apple Card takes the cake, as this is indeed a truly unique offering. All other major card issuers allow users to choose payments from a limited menu of options – usually including your current balance, statement balance and a custom amount you must type in yourself.

See related: Comparing the new Apple Card to other metal credit cards

While card statements usually include a calculation of how long it would take you to pay off your balance if you only make minimum payments, no other card issuer offers customized interest calculators with suggestions based on potential cost.

Payment reminders and scheduling

What Apple Card offers:

  • Set up text reminders for your upcoming payment due date
  • Due date automatically scheduled for end of the month
  • Set up automatic payments, including biweekly option to match paycheck schedule

What other issuers offer:

Every other major card issuer offers payment reminders, so this is hardly a new feature. Both Capital One and American Express let cardholders choose from email or text reminders, as well as customize how many days before the due date they’d like to receive them.

Chase goes a step further, offering cardholders the ability to set push notification alerts for payment due dates – among other notifications.

As far as payment due date, most issuers set your date based on when you open your account – while Apple card automatically sets your date at the end of the month. While Chase, Capital One and American Express all allow cardholders to adjust their payment date, Apple Card is more convenient from the get-go.

Additionally, most issuers allow users to set up automatic payments, but Apple Card is the only one that offers a biweekly payment schedule – which is a convenient option for users who are paid at the same frequency.

Are Apple Card’s features worth it?

Apple Card certainly offers some unique features, and the Wallet app’s interface is clearly user-friendly and visually appealing. However, many of the features advertised as unique might not be as special as they seem.

The truth is, many other card issuers are offering similar functionality to the Apple Card – as long as you know where to look. Chase, American Express and Capital One all have competitive features that make it easy to visualize spending and manage your card.

In Apple Card’s defense, the interest calculator functionality is incredibly valuable to cardholders – and seems to only be available on Apple Card for now. Plus, the Wallet app makes hunting down spend tracking functionality much easier than other issuers; American Express for one has a clunky interface that can be difficult to navigate.

But are the spend tracking and interest calculation features enough to justify a less-than-exciting rewards rate? In our opinion, many cardholders might be better off opting for a card with better rewards from another issuer. You can still find many of the features Apple Card is boasting as revolutionary while bringing in more points or cash back along the way.

However, Apple Card might be a good option for cardholders looking for the best tool to manage their spending – especially if you have a history of carrying a balance and racking up more interest than you can pay off.

Bottom line

Apple Card has certainly built up quite the hype, but a visually appealing interface is not enough to set it apart from the bounty of great rewards cards out there. Many of the features Apple Card has staked its reputation on are offered by other card issuers. In our opinion, a prettier version of something you can find on another card is not valuable enough to choose Apple Card over an alternative with better rewards.

Nevertheless, Apple Card does come with some truly unique offerings – that are particularly beneficial to cardholders who carry a balance. Beyond offering the ability to customize your monthly payments, Apple Card offers users individualized suggestions that can actually save you on interest every month. That’s something no other card can claim just yet.

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Published: August 26, 2019

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