In American Psycho, the lead character, Patrick Bateman lusts after a rival’s credit card aesthetics. He is impressed by the color and thinness of the card. We now know how he feels. Apple just produced a card with no numbers, no expiration date, no CCV number and a look that will turn heads. It is a thin, all-white card that is made of titanium that is then laser etched - it has become a status symbol literally overnight.
The Cool Factor
It is Ironic that the company that spent the last five years telling everyone they need only a virtual card now produces an artifact so physical in existence that you have to send the card back at termination because you are unable to destroy it.
As pretty as it is, the substance is even more impressive than the card’s style. It’s a rewards card that is issued with the cache of Goldman Sachs behind it that offers 3% cash back on Apple products, 2% on other purchases made with Apple Pay and 1% on everything else. The card supports the Apple Wallet on one hand while being competitive with the top cards from Capital One, Chase and Barclays.
The User Experience
The card will be issued this summer and will be integrated into Apple’s card app that is more dashboard than a statement. While it tracks each charge, it color codes them and provides spending summaries so you can see where you are spending your money based on the color of both the graphical representation of the card on top of the display that shows spending for the month and the color-coded bar chart that shows each day.
Instead of a minimum payment, Apple has brought forward to the concept of an optimized payment that balances your balance position with interest charges. Each month you can change your payment level based on your spending level. The nice part about it is that it is all graphically represented.
Privacy & Security
Then, there is the privacy angle. Instead of a permanent card number that can be copied and spoofed, the credit card generates a single-use number with each purchase. The card generates the number and uses Touch or Face ID to authenticate the purchase. In addition to a more secure number, Apple and Goldman Sachs pledge to keep your Level 2 and Level 3 data private and never to resell it or use it for marketing purposes. That means details of your purchases only reside on your device.
What This Means
It is a commonly held belief by many that banks no longer compete with other banks but with the customer experience expectations set by other industry leaders. In this case, Apple raised the bar in terms of financial product design, user interface, security, privacy, and brand. As Apple headlines – “A new kind of credit card. Created by Apple, not a bank.”
The card is beautiful and the features are impressive. Unfortunately, the least sexy thing about the card is the higher standard it just set for banks.
Submitted by Chris Nichols on March 26, 2019