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Apple Card – A Loyalty Miss?

Details surrounding the highly anticipated Apple Card, Apple’s “new kind of credit card” in partnership with Goldman Sachs, were recently released. It should come as no surprise that folks were on the edge of their seats as they awaited the all things Apple Card run down. Unfortunately, overwhelming reactions from media and users seem to be, “meh.” While the card does offer cash-back rewards, its biggest selling points were around simplicity, security and ease-of-use – as opposed to more creative offers or engagement opportunities that one might expect from an innovative company like Apple.

While Apple certainly had an opportunity to open several doors by giving itself access to more customer data, we can’t help but wonder, ‘was this a missed loyalty opportunity for the tech giant,’ or ‘will it serve as a basis for better engagement opportunities in the future?’

Let’s take a closer look at the pros

“It builds on the incredible ease and security that millions of people love about Apple Pay,” is one of Apple’s main messaging points for the Card. Smart move. A component to today’s shopping experience is all about accessibility and ease-of-use. I can foresee consumers applying for Apple Card based on this alone, as they can simply sign up directly on their iPhones and begin using the digital option once approval is received.

NO FEES! That’s right, Apple Card has no annual, cash-advance, over-the-limit or late fees, which is kind of incredible in my book. The fine print, you still want to pay off the full balance each month as interest is accrued if late payments are made. The interest estimator also piqued my interest given that it shows you how much interest you will owe, in real-time if a balance begins to add up.

Privacy was high on the pro list, too. Apple has gone above and beyond to lock this card up tighter than Alcatraz. The tech giant shared that payments must be authorized via Face ID or Touch ID, the physical card does not have any numbers, a CVV or an expiration date and, if paying an online merchant that doesn’t accept Apple Pay, you can utilize the Wallet by generating new numbers for each transaction. 

Now, the major con…

What do people receive for being loyal customers? Well, not much. As a potential Apple Card user, I would be eligible for 2% cash back on any purchases made using Apple Pay, 3% cash back on Apple products and 1% cash back on all other purchases. THAT’S IT! When looking at others in the space, the loyalty perks are below average, at best. The Verge reported that “its rivals offer sign-up bonuses while Apple doesn’t. Amazon offers 5 percent cash back on Amazon purchases and a $50 gift card when you sign up. Uber offers 4 percent on all dining as well as $100 back when you spend $500 in the first three months.”

This was a huge miss for Apple. Given the amount of choices available in today’s marketplace, turning customers into brand loyalists is already an up-hill battle. If they had done this correctly, the company not only would have been able to retain loyal Apple Pay users, but also could have easily attracted new customers via memorable, useful and competitive perks to further drive purchasing behavior and inspire greater loyalty. Those types of offers cultivate deep brand affinity in the era of choice, while further increasing revenue and profitability.

At the end of the day, millions will sign-up simply because it is Apple and others won’t because “credit cards” aren’t for them. I’ll be interested, however, to see how this plays out once Apple Card officially launches. Will Apple smarten up and truly revolutionize how payments are made? How will they do this while staying true to strong privacy promises made out of the gate? Only time will tell.