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Forget iMessage, the Apple Card is what's keeping me from switching to Android
Most manufacturers like to wrap you in their vines, making it hard for you to switch to the competition, but Apple is especially known for this. After making a career out of creating Android-focused content, I, too, seem to have fallen into Apple’s trap. Hello, I am Edgar, and I am having a hard time leaving the Apple ecosystem.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t because of iMessage, which I honestly don’t really care much for. It also isn’t because of other things people seem to love iPhones for. I can get excellent build quality, timely updates, speedy performance, and all that great stuff from many of the best Android phones. It’s Apple’s Apple Card and a few other Apple-exclusive features that ended up really locking me in!
Let’s talk about them.
Why is the Apple Card a good credit card?
The Apple Card offers 1% cash back, or 2% if you use Apple Pay, which is still the most supported contactless mobile payment platform in the USA. Oh, and you also get 3% cash back on purchases from the Apple Store and a few other partners. It has no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no late fees. Not that you should pay late, anyways. To top things off, it’s made of titanium and actually looks very nice! This is a nice plus, as metal cards have traditionally been exclusive to those with the highest-tier cards.
There are a lot of contrasting opinions on whether the Apple Card is good or not. Of course, there are better alternatives. I won’t get into that argument right now. I will say this, though: Most cards that are supposedly better than the Apple card often require a significantly higher credit score and history.
Apple’s website mentions anyone with a 600 FICO9 score or lower will likely not be approved, but it also says a 660 score will grant good approval odds. Other factors come into play for credit card approvals, but no matter how you cut it, the Apple Card is pretty easy to get accepted for. At 600-660, people usually still struggle to get anything that doesn’t have an annual fee or horrible terms. And if they find one, it usually doesn’t offer 2% on most purchases. The Apple Card, at these levels, offers pretty nice benefits. You won’t find many real competitors likely to approve you unless you start getting closer to a 700 credit score.
The Apple Card gave me a chance when other credit cards wouldn't.
If we want to get personal, I’ve been working hard to improve my credit score after years of mistakes and a wild youth. Somewhere along the way, I found myself with an iPhone in hand and thought: well, none of my current cards offer benefits even close to the Apple Card. Back then, I was ecstatic to get 1% cash back! I started the application and got accepted about a couple of minutes later. And I was able to use it with Apple Pay right away, while I waited for that beautiful titanium card to arrive.
After years of work, I’ve been able to gain access to better cards, but I still have a special place in my wallet for the Apple Card, which is the one that gave me a chance when others didn’t. This is why I think the Apple Card is one of the best credit cards for people with less than prime credit, if not the best.
Then came the Apple Card Savings account
As if the card wasn’t good enough, Apple came out with another pretty nice financial service. The Apple Card Savings account is just as easy to apply to. The process takes one to two minutes, and you can start using it immediately. There are no account balance minimums, no waiting periods, no lengthy applications, and it offers a 4.15% APY. The APY can change, but this is the rate Apple offered at launch. You will need an Apple Card to get this Savings account, though.
Using the high-yield savings account is a breeze through Apple Wallet, and you can even set your Apple Card cash back to go directly into the Savings account for automatic investing. You can also use Apple Cash to deposit money to it or link a traditional bank account.
The Apple Card Savings account is democratizing high-yield savings accounts.
Again, there are better options out there, but the vast majority aren’t as simple to sign up for or manage. Applications usually take hours, if not days, to get approved. And usually, you can’t just deposit money into them immediately, with a few taps. They also tend to have minimum deposits and other annoying terms. The Apple Card Savings account is democratizing high-yield savings accounts.
If you’re interested in it, you can check our full tutorial on how to set up the Apple Card Savings account.
Can you use the Apple Card with Android?
Now, these benefits are cool and all, but why are they stopping me from switching to Android entirely again? Well, as I got deeper into the world of finances and credit scores, I found there are multiple reasons to stick to this card, and hence my iPhone. Even if I already have better alternatives.
For starters, the Apple Card and Apple Card Savings account rely heavily on Apple Wallet. You can only fully manage them with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and it has to support Apple Wallet.
If you don’t have a supported device, so if you use an Android phone for example, you can only do so much with your Apple Card. You’d also have to forego the 2% cash back you get with Apple Pay and go down to 1% cash back by using the physical card alone.
You can also go to card.apple.com and access your account from any browser. This will allow you to make payments, change your bank account, check your balance, get statements, and get info about monthly Apple Card installments. So, you can still do the basic stuff.
Leaving Apple completely might temporarily affect my credit score!
If you like the Apple Card Savings account, that becomes a much bigger headache to use without an Apple device. You can’t easily add more money to it, but you can use the routing and account number for manual transfers. Getting info about your account and withdrawing funds will require calling Apple at 1-877-255-5923 — not the most user-friendly process.
The whole point is that, while I can leave the Apple ecosystem completely and keep my Apple Card, I will still lose all of its value and benefits if I don’t own at least one Apple device. If I lose all the benefits, I will stop using these services at least now and then. As a consequence, my Apple Card may be canceled due to inactivity. I’ve built a pretty nice available credit and card age by now, and available credit and credit age are key components in credit scores. This means that, ultimately, leaving Apple completely might temporarily affect my credit score! At least indirectly.
Other popular Apple products and services locking me into iOS
But alas, the Apple Card isn’t really the only reason keeping me around. There are a few other things that make Apple so enticing. Let’s start with AirTags.
Although there are decent AirTag alternatives on the Android side of things, they simply aren’t as good — for now. Apple’s Find My network, which tracks AirTags, uses all the iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks that are pretty much wherever you go. In fact, over 2 billion active Apple devices currently exist and most of them help keep track of your AirTags. Google has announced Find My Device, its competitor to this network, but hasn’t rolled it out yet.
In addition, Samsung SmartTags only work with Samsung devices. Tile trackers stick to their own network. And neither of these is as good, even if the Samsung network is getting closer. Plus, the thing is, I already have all these AirTags! Leaving Apple means I have to also let go of my AirTags, which weren’t exactly cheap, and invest in new tags like the Chipolo One Point for Google’s network.
You can’t really use AirTags with Android. Sure, you can see if an AirTag is following you and locate it if you’re close to it, but that’s about it.
No other smartphone manufacturer can match Apple's customer support.
There are other benefits to Apple’s ecosystem, such as the seamless integration between iPhones and other Apple products, which isn’t quite there with Android devices and Chromebooks, and is even more limited with Windows. Then there are cool features like MagSafe, but that one isn’t a huge deal, as I could get a magnetic case or MagSafe adapter for Android devices.
And then there’s Apple’s customer support, which no other Android manufacturer seems to get even close to. I can waltz into any Apple Store, and I’ve honestly never had a bad experience dealing with the company to get some help.
Should I switch from iPhone to Android?
So, with all these things in mind, I can’t help but feel like Apple beat me. I am trapped, and switching completely will cause at least a few headaches.
I plan to continue using an iPhone as my primary device for now. I’ll also keep a good Android phone around to continue enjoying everything Android has to offer. And, of course, I also need something to keep learning about the OS and bringing you all the great content you deserve.
Later on, I may consider completely switching back to Android and keeping my Apple Card open, but stop using it, save for a purchase here and there, at least to let it stay in my credit report. I suppose I can also gift or sell my AirTags.
Another alternative might be to just keep an iPad around so I can continue enjoying the benefits Apple has to offer. I’m a fan of the iPad Mini, which is still portable enough and very useful.
What do you think is my best bet? Have you found yourself stuck in the Apple ecosystem too? How did you deal with it? I would love to learn more about your experience. If you have a chance, please let me know about your experience in the comments.
Not really. The only way to access your Apple Card account on Android is by using a browser and logging into card.apple.com. It’s a limited experience, though, and you don’t get all the features. And since you only get 2% cash back with Apple Pay, that benefit is not an option on Android.
Using the Apple Card Savings account on Android is even more limiting than with the Apple Card. You can pretty much only deposit to the account using the routing and account numbers. And everything else needs to be done by calling Apple at 1-877-255-5923.
Sadly, having an Apple Card is a requirement to sign up for an Apple Card Savings account. You must also be at least 18 years old, have a US social security number or ITIN, be a US resident with an address within the country, and set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID.
Apple mentions its credit card partner bank, Goldman Sachs, will likely deny your application if you have a 600 FICO9 score or lower. It also mentions a 660 score or higher will grant higher chances of approval.
The physical Apple Card is made of titanium.