The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.
The Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card markets itself as every Apple enthusiast’s dream: it can help you finance the purchase of any new stylish and pricy Apple product at 0% interest.
If you’re a tech fan prone to splurging on Apple’s newest must-have unveilings each year, the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card can take you a long way. The niche card’s biggest draw is it earns you 3 points for every dollar spent at Apple, with every point worth one cent. Instead of redeeming those points for cash, they’re redeemed in the form of Apple Store or iTunes gift cards, depending on your preference upon signing up. For instance, every 2,500 points gets you a $25 gift card to the Apple Store.
While all of that may sound tempting, the other perks don’t quite add up to card that’s ideal for the general consumer. The card has a variable APR that’s far too high for the majority of customers with broader spending habits, and the seemingly enticing introductory offer is misleading once you dig into the fine print.
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Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):
Apple Rewards Card – Benefits
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card – and whether or not it’s right for your wallet…
Considering how rarely Apple offers discounts or deals on its products, 3 points for every dollar spent on their products is fairly strong. With retail prices for the new iPhone XS reaching as high as $1,449, the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card’s rewards system can draw in the repeat Apple customers with relative ease.
The card also boasts a balance transfer fee of 3%, the low end of the average 3%-5% range for most credit cards. The Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card’s 3% fee is below competing cards that similarly benefit high-cost purchases. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has a higher transfer fee of 5%.
Arguably the card’s biggest benefit is its rock-bottom annual fee of $0. That’s extremely competitive compared to other cards tailored toward rewarding specific shopping habits.
For instance, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, which offers rewards for supermarket spending, charges a $95 annual fee. Other cards charge annual fees as high as $500.
The biggest selling point of the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card is the introductory APR offer of 0%. This lets you defer (not waive – more on this in the next section) interest on qualifying Apple Store purchases, depending on how much you actually spend at an Apple Store.
The introductory 0% APR breaks down as follows:
- If less than $499 is spent, you have 180 days (6 months) to pay the balance with no interest.
- If $499 to less than $999 is spent, you have 365 days (1 year) to pay the balance with no interest.
- If $999 or more is spent, you have 540 days (roughly 18 months) to pay the balance with no interest.
However, the card’s introductory 0% APR isn’t exactly what it seems. Its loophole lies in the deferred interest, which could end up losing you a lot of money if you’re not careful.
Here’s why the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card’s deferred interest policy can actually be a drawback instead of a benefit…
Apple Rewards Card – Drawbacks
Because interest is deferred instead of waived, you won’t owe interest on your purchase as long as you pay it off in its entirety during the 180-day, 360-day, or 540-day promotional period.
But if a balance remains after the promotional period expires, you’re retroactively charged interest on everything going back to the date of the purchase. That could end up being a much larger payment than you expected.
For instance, let’s say you buy that new iPhone XS for $1,449 and begin the 0% APR period. If you don’t pay off that entire $1,449 purchase after 18 months, you’ll be stuck paying interest not just on that initial iPhone XS purchase, but also on every Apple purchase you’ve swiped for going back to that initial iPhone XS purchase. In other words, that $1,449 could turn into $2,000 or more, depending on your variable APR after the introductory period. Great!
Speaking of which, the APR after the introductory period for the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card varies from 15.99% to 28.99%. These variable rates are above the national average credit card rate near 15.96%, not to mention they’re extremely high for the majority of American customers who carry a balance from month to month.
But perhaps the most damaging drawback of the card may also be the most obvious: it’s just not good for everyday spending.
Because the card benefits you the most only when you carry the balance between six and 18 months, using the card for restaurants and other purchases can only end up hurting you. While 2 points for every dollar spent at a restaurant may sound like a good deal, that $2 in rewards on a $100 restaurant bill could end up costing you $120 over 18 months. At the end of the day, it’s a bad tradeoff.
Alternatives to Apple Rewards Card
For tech lovers, several other cards offer similar rewards to the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card while also providing superior rewards on other spending categories.
One of the best alternatives is the My Best Buy Visa Card. It offers 5 points on each dollar spent at a Best Buy, compared to the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card’s 3 points per dollar spent at an Apple Store.
Customers loyal to Apple products can rejoice at the fact that Best Buy sells most Apple products at competitive retail prices, albeit without certain warranties that can only be attained through Apple Store purchases. Additionally, the My Best Buy Visa Card has no annual fee and boasts a 26.24% APR, below the high end of the variable APR range for the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card.
Is Barclaycard Visa® with Apple Rewards Right for You?
Only the most loyal Apple customers may find the Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards Card worthy of a spot in their wallet. But even if you’re prone to splurge on the new iPhone or Macbook, the card lacks a strong APR policy and offers very few side benefits, making it a poor choice for a general-spending credit card.