This article is on how to activate an Apple card as well as every other thing you need to know about Apple cards and Apple pay.
Apple refers to it as a “prepaid debit card in your Apple Wallet.” It’s similar to Venmo, but you’ll have to add money to your Apple Cash account by using your debit card in the Wallet app.
You can use this cash to make payments in stores, in apps, and online or you can transfer your balance to your bank account.
Some users have reported Apple Card credit limits as low as $250, which isn’t enough to buy the AirPods Pro with tax, let alone an iPhone.
Other users have seen credit limits between $1000 and $5000, perhaps as little as a tenth of the credit limits they’ve been granted elsewhere.
If you use your Apple Card responsibly, it can help you build your credit over time. As of this writing this article on how to activate Apple card, the Apple Card reports credit activity to TransUnion and Equifax.
These are two of the three major credit bureaus and Apple may expand reporting to Experian in the future.
Keep reading this article to know more about how Apple pay works and how to activate Apple cards.
How Apple Card works
Before we go into how to activate an Apple card let’s first take a look at the basics of how an Apple card works, so you don’t go in blind.
There are still a ton of questions about the way it works mechanically, the terms involved for consumers, and its overall benefits.
Though I’m not a financial reporter, I did use to cover payments and I’m a huge points hound. Some of the benefits (and caveats) of Apple Card are worth examining a bit more.
Once Apple launched Passbook, it became extremely clear that it was headed towards this end game, with stops along the way for loyalty cards, coupons, external credit cards, and ticketing.
The basics of Apple Card are pretty straightforward. It’s a virtual card and physical card that can be used for both regular and Apple Pay purchases at any place Mastercard works.
The app companion categorizes purchases automatically, shows you where they were made, and has a design that makes it easy for you to see interest charges, spending, and cashback. The physical card offers 1% cashback, the virtual card offers 2% cashback on Apple Pay purchases and 3% back on purchases from Apple.
The cashback is delivered daily to your Apple Cash balance or to the card monthly as a credit balance if you don’t have or want an Apple Cash account.
How to Activate An Apple Card
Know that you’ve gotten the basics of how an apple card works let’s go into some quick steps in how to activate an Apple card.
- Step 1: Open Wallet on your iPhone and tap Apple Card.
- Step 2: Tap the more button.
- Step 3: Under Physical Card, tap Activate Your Card.
To add your debit card so you can find your apple wallet from your bank, you can follow their steps;
- Step 1: In the Wallet app, tap the Add button.
- Step 2: Tap Debit or Credit Card.
- Step 4: Follow the steps on the screen to add a new card.
- Step 5: Verify your information with your bank or card issuer.
Note: If you have a paired Apple Watch, you have the option to also add the card to your watch.
Here are some steps on how you can use your Apple card with Apple music
- Step 1: Find the 16-digit code on the back of the card.
- Step 2: Open the Apple Music app.
- Step 3: Tap the menu button, then tap Account.
- Step 4: Tap “Redeem Gift Card or Code.”
- Step 5: Enter the 16-digit code. Then tap Redeem.
Once you’ve signed up for Apple Card, it will be available for use immediately for digital purchases.
Availability is subject to credit approval, so you need to qualify for Apple Card just like you do with any other kind of credit card.
Usually, the approval is very quick while you are on the iPhone. But if Goldman Sachs finds they need to verify or check your state ID, then expect about a week or 2.
Beyond the Basics of Apple Card
Beyond the basics of using an Apple card as we’ve discussed earlier in this article on how to activate an Apple card, here are some important features and things to note.
Activating a physical Apple Card will happen with a tap of the iPhone to the card.
The activation takes place with a pop-up view of the card and an activation button, similar to the pairing process of AirPods. You can see signs of this in the current beta.
There is no penalty interest rate on Apple Card. There have been some reports that Apple Card will charge penalty rates, largely due to some required regulatory legalese.
Penalty rates are an increase of your interest rate if you fail to pay on time. That is not true. Apple Card has no late fees and no penalty rates.
You will continue to pay your agreed-upon interest rate on your outstanding balance, but that rate will not go up.
It will impact your credit score, as Apple does do standard reporting, but neither Apple nor Goldman Sachs will increase your rate due to late payment.
Apple will place Apple Card users at the low end of their interest rate tier. While Apple Card’s interest rates fail to break the mold in any major way (they are roughly between 13-24%).
Apple will place users who sign up at the lower end of the tier that they land in due to their credit score.
This isn’t some incredible re-imagining of how to offer credit or an intensely low-interest option, but it could shift you to the bottom of a tier when you qualify instead of paying a few points higher at your ‘exact’ score.
You can pay your balance via ACH from a bank account or via Apple Cash. Apple Cash is not required to pay your bill, though cashback earned or any other money you have in there can go towards your balance if you desire.
Apple Card does not require or display signatures. Neither the physical Card nor the app will display a signature.
A network change a few months ago means that signatures are not required at the point of sale for any credit cards. Though some stores may still ask to see ID, the lack of a signature anywhere within Apple Card’s system shouldn’t be a roadblock to using it.
The physical Apple Card does not support contactless payments. If you’ve got a tap terminal, you’re supposed to use Apple Pay.
Perhaps the biggest security feature of the offering is that Apple Card can generate virtual card numbers for online non-Apple Pay purchases.
Though Apple said that the app would display your card info during the event, they weren’t specific on what that info would be so I got some more detail here.
The physical Apple Card, of course, has no number. The app displays the last 4 digits of the card number that is on the mag stripe of the card only, you never see the full card number.
Instead, Apple provides a virtual card number and virtual confirmation code (CVV) for the card in the app.
You can use this for non-Apple Pay purchases online or over the phone. This number is semi-permanent, meaning that you can keep using it as long as you want.
But you can hit a button to regenerate the PAN (primary account number), providing you with a new credit card number at any time.
This is great for situations where you are forced to tell someone your credit card number but do not necessarily completely trust the recipient.
Card numbers are manually regenerated only and do not automatically rotate. There is, currently, no single-use number support or single-merchant number support.
Each purchase requires a confirmation code, a fantastic additional security feature outlined by Zack Whittaker earlier in the week.
This makes it even harder for someone to use your card, even if skimmed or copied, to make online purchases.
If you use Apple Card for a subscription or ongoing service, by the way, it’s possible you’ll have to re-enter your info if you regenerate your card through many.
Many retailers especially if they have ‘Card on File’ systems already use account updater services.
These services can pull the new number from Mastercard to make sure that recurring payments remain in place and Apple Card members will have nothing to do. That old number is, however, completely invalidated.
The physical card has a fixed number on the mag stripe, but you don’t know what it is. It’s important to note that the number you have in the app and the number that are on the magstripe can be totally different and it doesn’t matter.
You’ll only really know the last 4 digits of your PAN on the physical card. Apple Card users must have two-factor authentication set up to sign up.
If your card gets lost or stolen you can get replacement cards for free, and you can easily freeze the card with the app in case of theft or fraud.
Using Apple Card on Android is pointless. This is kind of silly but people asked me.
You can’t sign up for or administrate most of Apple Card’s features on Android but if you were to switch to Android you could continue using your physical card and paying your bill but without the majority of the cashback or security benefits.
In conclusion, you now know how to activate an Apple card as well as how an Apple card works.
Should you find any hiccups while using your Apple card online always feel free to come back to this article, or do more intensive research on the problem.