Yesterday I received my Apple credit card. Usually a credit card isn’t too exciting but in the case of the Apple card there are few items that stood out for me. And also a quick way to make some extra money for my morning coffee fix.
The first thing that stood out for me are the telephone alerts I got from the moment I applied to the time the physical card arrived. The application was straight forward enough, verify your address, enter your income and the last four digits of your social security number and Chase Bank makes an offer to you with a proposed credit line and interest rate. If you accept, a card is issued to your Apple iPhone immediately. You can use the new card right away via your telephone.
I used it right after I accepted it to pay for my lunch. I had applied while waiting for my food to arrive. Since my card was issued immediately, I paid for lunch with it. The next day, I got an alert on my phone that I had been credited 87 cents as a cash back for my lunch transaction. (I bought lunch for a client)
I like knowing what charges are on my card account via my telephone just by opening the APP. This is true for those recurring charges we tend to forget about. My other credit cards also give me an alert on my phone each time a charge is applied to them. Apple’s alerts weren’t all that new. But the cash back notice makes me want to play a game as to how to best game the card for the maximum benefit to me. But before I get to that, let me share a few other observations.
My actual credit card arrived about five days later. My phone alerted me that my card was on its way. About fifteen minutes after UPS dropped off the card on my front door, I got an alert that my card was delivered. That was cool, knowing that my card was already delivered.
The card is metal, as in titanium. Most of you aren’t surprised because of the media attention, but holding it in your hand it is heavier, and it feels different than the other cards. It also has a different feel to it. And it looks different. The front only has the Apple logo, your name and the chip.
No account number and CVV code are on the card. The back has the Goldman Sachs and Master Card logos, in addition to the magnetic strip.
Activating the card was also cool. I opened the Apple wallet and it directed me to place my phone close to the cardboard packaging the card came in. There are no logos, bar codes or QR codes to photograph. You just place your phone near the packaging and an alert pops up that the card was activated.
Placing your phone near the card itself does not activate it. You must place it next to the sleeve it was packaged in.
I was curios so I broke open the cardboard packaging and found an RFID chip hidden in there. That is how the card gets activated. It makes sense because it requires the cardholder’s Apple telephone and the packaging the card came in to activate it.
Overall, a cool experience.
But the cash back on my lunch purchase got me thinking about gaming the credit card.
The Apple card has no annual fee. If I do not carry a balance, then I pay nothing for the card. But I can get cash back.
I pay technology providers like Amazon, Facebook Google, Twitter and others about $5,000 a month to service my clients’ needs. I also spend about $50 a week in lunch. The cash back just in lunch would be a modest $2.00 per month. Two dollars that can go towards my coffee fix.
But I realized that my technology expense each month would generate $25 each month for me by simply using the card to pay for half of the amount I already spend each month. That is $300 a year the card could pay just to use it for expenses I already pay.
For Apple purchases, the cash back is 3%, meaning that my new iPhone will have a built-in $30 discount just by using the card to pay for it. The Netflix and iCloud subscriptions are now paid via the Apple card because it becomes the default on your Apple wallet.
Obviously the more I run through the card, the more money it would generate for me.
Because the card alerts me on my phone each morning as to how much cash I generated from my use the previous day it has now become a game for me to see how much money I can make just by paying expenses that I already pay.
Cha-ching is now my new morning game with my coffee, thanks to the Apple card.