Oops: Problems With The Titanium Apple Card

Filed Under: Credit Cards

Earlier this week the Apple Credit Card was formally launched in the US. For those of us who are into maximizing credit card rewards, this card is truly nothing to get excited about. However, Apple has a loyal following, so I imagine this card is going to be incredibly popular with consumers.

The card does have some cool features, though, like its lack of fees. One of the focuses of this card is that you can start using it instantly using Apple Pay. After all, Apple is all about mobile payments, so they’re placing a lot of emphasis on making payments without a physical card.

However, all cardmembers will receive a physical card, and it’s pretty cool-looking. It’s a titanium card, and it doesn’t have any numbers on it, so they say it’s one of the most secure physical credit cards yet.

Unfortunately it looks like Apple may have focused on style over substance when it comes to the design of this card. No doubt a lot of people will take great pride in having this card and will want to keep it in good condition, though that may be a challenge.

Apple seems to be acknowledging issues with keeping this card in decent condition, as they have a dedicated webpage about how to keep your Apple Card clean, and it seems like that’s quite a task.

They note that the titanium Apple Card is laser-etched with the card holder’s name and the Apple logo, and then the card has a white finish that’s achieved through a multi-layer coating process that’s added to the titanium base materials.

While the white color sounds cool and matches Apple’s branding, it may not be the most practical. Apple notes:

  • If your card comes into contact with hard surfaces or materials, the coating can be damaged
  • Some fabrics, like leather and denim, may cause permanent discoloration that will not wash off
  • Place your card in a slot in your wallet or billfold without touching another credit card; if two cards are placed in the same slot, your card could be scratched
  • Don’t place or store the card near a magnet, or the card could be demagnetized
  • Don’t place the Apple Card in a pocket or bag that contains loose change, keys, or other abrasive objects

Then for cleaning the card, Apple recommends wiping the card gently with a soft, slightly damp, lint-free microfiber cloth, and even using isopropyl alcohol.

They say not to use window or household cleaners, compressed air, aerosol sprays, solvents, ammonia, or abrasives to clean the card.

Bottom line

It sure seems to me like Apple may not have fully thought this through. There are so many people who are brand loyal to Apple and will take pride in their new titanium Apple Card. The rewards structure isn’t great for in-store purchases, but many people will be so happy to use this card.

While there are some other metal cards out there, this will without a doubt be the swankiest-looking no annual fee card ever… at least when you first receive it.

So while lots of people will take pride in using this card, it sure sounds like the card won’t age well, since a white coating seems less than ideal. Sure, all cards get scratched up over time, but this design sounds especially impractical.

I’ll be curious to see if they eventually modify the card design, or if over time the Apple Card will just be the most beat-up-looking card out there…

  1. Why are we excited for this card? Is is because of Apple and it looks slick? I would just call this a massive waste of a hard pull

  2. I’ve had way too many travel-related companies who want to manually type my card number into their screens. This happens very often at hotels and car rental locations. I’m not sure how well this card will work in such situations.

  3. I can’t believe they managed to take one of the most durable things known to man, a plastic card, and make THAT fragile and an item to baby.

  4. “It sure seems to me like Apple may not have fully thought this through.”

    More likely scenario is that it’s simply a way to generate hype and the aura of being “elusive” and “exclusive”

    Cuz they managed to get all of the media (traditional, online, and bloggers) to talk about it being titanium instead of its mediocre rewards structure. sounds like a winning marketing strategy to me.

  5. Left card in original packaging…the card number is available in Apple Wallet. Better to use with Apple Pay anyways…

  6. @Tony : GS did my hard pull from Transunion, so if you know where Chase/Amex/Citi hard pulls from you can strategically plan it that way.

    ps : a hard pull is a max 1-2 pts diff in FICO 08 score. Can’t speak for VantageScore.

  7. I’ll bet you my paycheck that they’ll come up with a pouch or wallet that “protects” your card.

  8. It’s a credit card. As long as the magnetic strip or the chip isnt damaged, you can still use it. I have a metal Amazon Prime Chase card thats been wearing down since i got it and it works no problem. I don’t understand whats so interesting about wanting a card thats so pristine and white for any other purpose than a status symbol of some kind. This is ridiculous

  9. Maybe it’s all part of a clever plan: make a card that cannot come into proximity with any other credit cards or coins, thereby causing the proud new card owner to rid the purse or wallet of all other forms of payment = instant payment monopoly. Then make it so cumbersome to use and maintain the physical card that you surrender and move all payments to a mobile device that default to this card = payment monopoly completed.

  10. I think the support document is a tongue and cheek moment for Apple. They mainly produce products that you want to keep in near new condition, and they wanted to have a little fun with the Apple Card.

    People are taking the support document too seriously from Apple.

    They are a product company first, product companies always produce support documents on how something is intended to work and be maintained.

  11. So just like everything else Apple makes, it has to go in a case. Soon we’ll see 3rd party credit card cases with the “Made for Apple” logo so that Apple gets a cut.

  12. Apple announces a new product, the iHolder. A specially design card holder made out microfiber. It will retail for 99.99 and will protect your titanium card!
    Get in line now to buy this amazing new product!

  13. I think Allen (above) nailed it.

    Before reading the comments, this was literally my first thought: they did this intentionally to create a need to separate the card, as well as a ritual of sorts that would elevate the prestige/halo around the card in the eyes of the cardholder.

  14. Over 15 years ago, when iPhone is released, people using Nokia said what a stupid thing. This might be the game changer? Time will tell:)

  15. Now that the world is heavily focused on contactless payments, it’s amazing that the physical Apple Card doesn’t include that option. Seriously?

    In a lot of markets majority of the credit card payments are done contactless and a card without it has no chance. Hopefully the card will include that feature when it hits international — if that ever happens in the first place..

  16. I know the companies that make these cards through my work (I’ve even visited the factories where they make the cards) and sadly their quality is continually deteriorating. Even my Amex Platinum card which I’ve had for less than a year has already delaminated and the front face has started to peeled off.

    They have an annual conference each year in Florida you should check out. You might find it interesting. ICMA

  17. @Peter-The physical card is only for locations that don’t take contactless payments. For contactless, you use Apple Pay with your iPhone or Apple Watch.

  18. A card, even a dirty one, with no numbers is a whole lot more secure than everything else out there. As someone who has a long history of fraudulent charges, I cringe every time I’m forced to hand over my credit card to a server in a restaurant who promptly disappears with it for a while before returning. The concept is compelling. I plan to give it a try.

  19. No worries. They will launch Apple Care + for the card at $129 pretty soon. Just bring your card to the Genius Bar and they will take care for you.

  20. And that is why I feel many are getting this card not for what if offers but what it looks. They want premium look, even if substance is lacking. Kind like Apple, in the last 5 years or so.

  21. @Drew nailed it. They are a product company people – they will always try to convince you it’s special and precious.

  22. 2% back for contactless Apple Pay.
    1% back for purchases with a swipe, in which case, I’ll use a different card.
    I can keep my card in good condition by keeping it in a drawer at home.

  23. If only Steve Jobs is still alive!!!

    This is what he can do to his cult.
    The brainwashed would fork out $149 for AppleCare+++.
    They would also buy a special glass protector for $39 and a shockproof case for $89.
    That not it, the credit card size is proprietary and will not fit in the wallet. So another $199 for a proprietary slot iWallet + $79 for that AppleCare.
    Wait, a special iDenim that is card safe and doesn’t cause discoloration is just $79, sorry no AppleCare for this.

    And the best for last, Apple will constantly update chipOS and every 1.5 years your card will be obsolete, but no worries the keynote will launch a new Apple card with faster chip and more durable coating for just $299. Since it isn’t compatible with the old card, you go out and buy AppleCare+, glass protector, shockproof case, proprietary slot iWallet+AppleCare, and iDenim all over again.
    At least (let’s hope) there is no such thing as Bendgate, card turning yellow, card overheat, or chip losing signals without a bumper.

    All this Apple BS, or I can use my no annual fee metal card to chop a Zucchini while laughing at all those idiots who buy the whole $600+ package again and again every 2 years for an inferior product that ‘looks nice’. Everyone can get a MUCH better card from Chase or Amex.

  24. It is laughable that the author chose to write about the least consequential characteristic of the Apple Card, or any card for that matter; clearly it was written for click-bait. Seriously, who TF cares if a card gets scratched? Is this really even a “problem” for any cardholder? “Oops”.

    This article misses the point of the Apple card entirely, either intentionally or ignorantly; perhaps both. The card is marketed and will appeal to consumers inclined to use Apple Pay. I just received mine and will use it almost exclusively for Apple Pay and will use another plastic card for physical use. Apple knows its target market; those that don’t like the card simply won’t get one.

    One small, but revolutionary feature of the Apple card, which this article failed to mention, is the ease of activation. Simply hold your iPhone over the packaging and it’s done. It’ll probably be years before other card companies even offer this convenience. The feature i find most useful and convenient is the card information’s integration into the Apple Wallet.

  25. At lunch today, a guy at the bar was trying to use the Apple card (he hadn’t received the physical card yet) and couldn’t understand why the bartender couldn’t process the electronic payment.

    Seemed pretty obvious the guy had never used any form of ApplePay before. I’m guessing he got it to fit in with the “look at me” crowd that overflows scottsdale.

  26. So they didn’t want to spring for sol-gel huh? Should have asked the avgeeks how to put a durable coating onto titanium.

  27. Lucky, you’re forgetting one major thing, that Apple has partnered with Goldman Sachs—there must be a longer term play here. These are two of the smartest (and wealthiest) companies out there. This is a long term play, not a gimmick.
    Look at every other product Apple has introduced—the anti-Apple comments are always the same, overpriced, under featured, etc. Yet Apple consistently upends every market it enters. When is the last time you saw a laptop without a touchpad or a phone with a keyboard—both technologies pioneered by Apple. Let’s revisit this article in a few years and see how Apple has developed the card.

  28. So advanced, half of it’s utility is wasted. Can’t use to order things on line because no number, no CCV code, no expiration date, useless. I’m sure the millennials who came up with this are in their gray cubicles, salivating all over their keyboards. Nice design, POOR utility. Hey millennials…, you forgot to make it useful. Jucking Ferks.

  29. My experience with Apple Card was terrible. They gave me a nice credit limit but a horrible interest rate. I spent about $5500 right off the bat (for the Apple Cash Rewards) and paid the charges off immediately……then, my charges started getting declined……everywhere I tried. I contacted support via text, they left me hanging for over 15 minutes 2 different times, never coming back to respond.
    So, the bottom line is this: although they say they “encourage” paying as little interest as possible, their actions say otherwise. After 3 weeks of frustration, I cancelled my Apple Card.
    Apple and GoldmanSachs, perfectly screwing you together.

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