Apple and Barclaycard have ended the Barclaycard Apple Rewards card in the last few weeks, as it readies the Apple Card launch with Goldman Sachs. Apple now only offers basic financing plans with Barclaycard.
Bloomberg reports that the Apple Card terms allow for Apple to offer special financing plans for specific purchases. The publication also says that Apple is preparing to debut an Apple Card companion app for the iPad, to allow users to sign up and manage their card from their Apple tablet in addition to the iPhone.
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The Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards would offer bonus points when making Apple purchases which could be redeemed for App Store and iTunes gift cards and deferred financing. The physical card was emblazoned with an ‘Apple Rewards’ subtitle.
References to Barclaycard rewards have been removed from the Apple site as of a few weeks ago. Now, Apple is only promoting a standard Barclaycard Financing Visa. It’s not clear if this will also be phased out in favor of a comparable Apple Card offering.
On the quarterly earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Apple Card rollout would begin sometime this month. The use of the word “rollout” implies a gradual launch, perhaps with Apple and Goldman Sachs only approving a percentage of applicants at the start as the service ramps up.
Apple has said customers will be able to quickly sign up for the Apple Card from the Wallet app on their iPhone, ready to use for contactless Apple Pay purchases, and also apply for the physical card to be delivered a few weeks later.
Bloomberg says Apple is also preparing an Apple Card companion app for the iPad, which does not have a dedicated Wallet app (although it does have a “Wallet & Apple Pay” preferences pane in Settings). The Apple Card app for iPad would let customers apply for the card and manage their accounts. So far, Apple has only ever shown the Apple Card in the context of the Wallet app on the iPhone.
The inclusion of product-specific special financing in the Apple Card terms is a way in which Apple and Goldman Sachs may be looking to expand the profitability of the Apple Card product. A special financing offer would let customers buy an expensive product with a separate payment plan on the card, not affected by the standard interest rate charges.
This could apply to third party purchases with a fixed fee, or perhaps a vehicle for Apple to replace the remaining Barclaycard financing offer. Apple could announce that Apple hardware purchases made with the Apple Card receive 0% financing for twelve months, for example.
However, Apple is yet to officially announce plans for any such initiatives. Apple’s current public statements indicate Apple Card will offer interest rates between 13.24% and 24.24% on rolled over balances, with no other fees for late payments or international charges. Apple Card is subject to a credit check — information on credit limits has not yet been disclosed.
The Wallet app displays transaction history and trends, current balance, and clearly shows forthcoming interest charges depending on how much of the outstanding balance paid off.
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