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How to apply for Apple Card and use it on your iPhone

Apple Card is now available to everyone in the US. Here's everything you need to know.

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The look of your Apple Card is always changing. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple just launched the Apple Card, a digital-first credit card for iPhone users. Anyone in the US can apply for an Apple Card with just a few taps on your iPhone's screen. Apple's new credit card comes with incentives for using the Apple Pay version of the card to make payments. There's also a sweet titanium card you can order to carry in your wallet.

Apple's approach to mobile payments can be confusing, considering the company now offers Apple Pay, Apple Cash and Apple Card, which are different services that work in similar, yet different ways. (CNET's Jessica Dolcourt does a fantastic job of breaking down the differences.)

With the Apple Card, Apple took a new approach to how users interact with and manage a credit card. From a simple sign-up process to viewing your spending habits, earning Daily Cash and paying your bill -- everything Apple Card-related is done on your iPhone

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How to sign up

Before you can apply, make sure you're using an iPhone 6 or newer that's running iOS 12.4. Open Settings > General > Software Update on your phone to be sure. 

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Signing up for an Apple Card takes under a minute. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The sign-up process is simple: 

1. Open the Wallet app on your iPhone.
2. Tap the + button in the top right corner.
3. If you see a screen explaining what Apple Pay is, tap Continue.
4. Select Apple Card from the list of available payment methods.
5. Apple fills out most of the sign-up form for you using your Apple ID information. You'll need to verify and confirm the information, add the last four digits of your social security number, enter your annual income then accept the Apple Card terms and conditions.
6. Once you're done, you'll receive an offer with what your credit limit and interest rate will be. Tap Accept Apple Card to open your Apple Card account. Select No Thanks if you change your mind.

Once you accept the offer, you'll be asked if you want to set Apple Card as your default card. If you select Use as Default Card your Apple Card will be triggered for all contactless payments, and your Apple payment source for the Apple Store (apps, movies, subscriptions) will be changed to use the Apple Card. 

If you have bad credit or aren't sure if you'll qualify, read through Apple's support document that walks through details of what could lead to your application being declined. 

Lastly, during the sign-up process, you're asked if you want to receive a physical Apple Card in the mail for use in places that don't have contactless payment systems. If you don't want a physical card right now, you can always request one later on. 

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There are multiple ways to pay with your Apple Card. 

Apple

Using your Apple Card

Immediately after opening your Apple Card account, you'll have a digital version of the card available in Apple Pay. You can begin using it to make purchases right away -- I bought some coffee at Starbucks just a few minutes after setting up my account. 

The process for using your Apple Card through Apple Pay is the same as it's always been: Place your phone near a payment terminal and use Touch ID or Face ID to approve the transaction. 

Apple will also add your Apple Card to Safari's autofill feature, which you've likely seen a prompt for when ordering something in Safari on your phone or Mac. If you're not being prompted to use your Apple Card, or any card for that matter, when making purchases in Safari, go into your iPhone's Settings app and select Safari > AutoFill and turn on Credit Cards

If you want to use your Apple Card on a website that doesn't accept Apple Pay, and you're not a Safari user, your Apple Card has a semipermanent virtual card number (more on what that means below). You can find your card's number on your iPhone by opening the Wallet app and selecting your Apple Card and then the three-dot icon in the top-right corner followed by Card Information. 

There you'll find a card number, expiration date and security code -- all of the information you'd need to make a purchase online or over the phone. 

Your titanium Apple Card should arrive in the mail within a week of signing up. Once it does, you'll need to activate it either in the Wallet app (for older iPhone models) or by holding your iPhone XS or iPhone XR ($749 at Amazon) near the card's envelope and following the prompts. 

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The Wallet app shows you transactions and spending habits, and gives control over your Apple Card account.

Apple

The Wallet app is your Apple Card account portal

The Wallet app on your iPhone is where you go to view and manage your Apple Card account. Your card is tied to your Apple ID, so you don't need to worry about creating and remembering another password. 

You'll notice as you begin to make purchases that the Apple Card in the Wallet app changes colors and looks different after every transaction. That's Apple's way of gently showing you what your spending habits are, with each color representing a different category. 

Currently, there are seven spending categories: Shopping, Food & Drinks, Entertainment, Services, Travel, Transportation and Health. 

To view your spending habits, open the Wallet app and select your Apple Card. You'll see a list of recent transactions, your balance, any upcoming payments and weekly activity. 

Tap on a transaction to view more details, including the exact location it was made at, how much Daily Cash you earned and how much money you've spent at that business for the given month. 

Select Weekly Activity to view your purchases, broken down by the same color-coded categories that determine what your Apple Card looks like. Alternatively, you can tap View Monthly to break down spending patterns by each month. 

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Paying down your balance is the best way to save on interest. 

Apple

After purchases begin posting to your account, you'll be able to make a payment and view how much interest your current balance will accrue over time. View your Apple Card in the Wallet app and tap on the Payment panel. At the top of the screen will be your billing date. A circular slider will let you adjust a payment amount, and just below that, you'll see any interest charges that will be charged. Tap Pay Now when you're ready to make a payment. 

The first time you make a payment you'll need to add a bank account. If you already use Apple Cash, then you'll be asked if you want to use the same bank account and the information will automatically get filled in for you. Otherwise, you'll need your bank's routing number and your account number. 

Daily Cash

Using your Apple Card, you'll earn cash back on every purchase. The amount of Daily Cash you earn is based on how (and in once instance, where) a purchase is made. For all purchases made at Apple, be it for your Apple Music subscription or a new iPhone in the Apple Store, you'll earn 3% back. At launch, Apple announced it partnered with Uber to give all rides and Uber Eats orders the same 3% benefit. 

For all contactless payments, you'll earn 2% back. When you use the physical card, you'll get 1% back. 

(Here's how the Apple Card compares with the Chase Sapphire and Amazon Prime Rewards credit cards.)

You don't have to do anything to claim your Daily Cash -- Apple will process and transfer it to your Apple Cash card every night. So if you purchased an iPad Pro ($800 at Walmart) at the Apple Store and the total was $1,000, you should expect to have $30 on your Apple Cash card after the transaction has posted. 

You can then put your Apple Cash balance toward the balance on your Apple Card, spend it using Apple Pay or transfer it to your bank account. 

Check on your Daily Cash transaction history by going into the Wallet app and selecting your Apple Card, then the three-dot icon in the top right corner. View your transaction history under Weekly Activity and select Daily Cash. 

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Enable Lost Mode as soon as possible after losing your iPhone. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

What happens if you lose your card or, even worse, your phone?

If you misplace or lose the physical Apple Card, you can freeze it in the Wallet app. You can then unfreeze the card if you recover it, and begin using it again. If you lose it and are unable to find it, you can cancel your old card and request a new one within the Wallet app. 

Replace your virtual card

If your virtual card has been compromised, you can cancel it and request a new number from the Wallet app. Doing so will immediately give you a new number and security code, invalidating the previous card number. Your virtual card number is not the same number that's on your physical card, so getting a new virtual number will require you to order a replacement card. 

To request a new virtual card number, view your Apple Card in the Wallet app and tap the three-dot icon in the top right corner. Select Card Information > Request New Card Number. You'll need to confirm you want a new card number, after which it will be updated. 

What happens if you lose your phone?

If you lose your iPhone, the first thing to do is turn on Lost Mode using Find My iPhone. Doing so will prevent anyone from using all the cards you've added to Apple Pay. Next, you'll need to contact Apple support at 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800–692–7753) and request that your virtual card number and, if needed, your physical card be frozen. Or you can use another iOS device to manage your account until you're able to recover your iPhone. 

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Apple Card support is live 24/7. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Where to turn for customer support

The quickest and easiest way to get support for your Apple Card account is via iMessage. You can start a conversation with Apple support by viewing your Apple Card settings in the Wallet app.

Tap on the Message button, and an iMessage thread will begin where you can chat with a support representative from Goldman Sachs, the Apple Card's card issuer and bank. Next to the Message option, you'll also find the options to call support or visit the support website. 

Don't go to an Apple Store: Apple Card support is handled by Goldman Sachs, so Apple Store employees probably aren't going to be much help beyond directing you to Goldman Sachs. 

Since the Apple Card is part of the Mastercard network, you are eligible for some Mastercard network benefits, for which you'll need to contact Mastercard support -- for example, for help with its identity theft protection program, or free ShopRunner shipping

What if you switch to Android?

If you decide that it's time to jump ship to an Android phone, you can still use the physical version of your Apple Card and continue to pay toward your balance -- but you'll need to call in your payments to 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800–692–7753). Without an iPhone, all of the benefits and streamlined interactions that make the Apple Card unique all but disappear. 

You can use your iPad ($329 at Amazon) to view transaction history and similar information, make payments, view spending habits or any of the more in-depth features you'll find on an iPhone. 

As we continue to use the Apple Card, charging, making payments and monitoring our spending, there'll surely be more features we discover. We'll continue to update this post in the coming days and weeks. 

Mentioned Above
Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray)
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