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Are you a loyal Apple user? Whether your Apple device of choice is an iPhone, iPad, iMac, or all of the above, you’re in good company. And you owe it to yourself to take a look at Barclaycard Visa® with Apple Rewards, a no-annual-fee rewards credit card that favors spending on Apple purchases.
Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards returns 3% on spending at Apple stores, Apple.com, iTunes, and 1-800-MY-APPLE (Apple’s purchase-by-phone hotline). It also returns 2% on spending at restaurants, making it a great choice for Apple buffs who like saving money at restaurants. All other spending returns 1% – the standard baseline for cash back credit cards with tiered rewards programs.
Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards also has some other attractive perks, including a solid introductory financing deal for Apple purchases: no interest for up to eighteen months on purchases made within 30 days of account opening. With no annual fee, this is a worthy addition to any Apple customer’s wallet.
Here’s what you need to know about its features, advantages, disadvantages, and overall suitability.
Earning and Redeeming Points
Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards earns unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on purchases made at Apple stores, Apple.com, iTunes, and 1-800-MY-APPLE. Purchases made at restaurants earn unlimited 2 points per $1 spent. And all other purchases earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent. Points don’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
The only way to redeem your points is for purchases made within the Apple ecosystem. When you sign up, you can choose whether to receive your rewards as an Apple gift card or iTunes gift card. By default, your points are automatically redeemed for a physical $25 gift card of your choice when you hit the 2,500-point threshold. Your points are always worth $0.01 apiece at redemption.
Special 0% APR Financing on Apple Purchases
Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards offers special 0% APR introductory financing on Apple purchases made within 30 days of account opening. The length of the interest-free period, which Barclaycard terms “deferred financing,” depends on the size of the purchase:
- Purchases less than $499: 6 months from date of purchase
- Between $499 and $999: 12 months
- Greater than $999: 18 months
To avoid interest completely, you need to make at least the minimum payment by your statement due date and pay off the purchase in full by the end of the deferred financing period. If you fail either criteria, you’ll retroactively be charged interest on the balance carried over the entire deferred financing period, and on any balance carried forward.
Qualifying purchases must be made at Apple stores, Apple.com, or 1-800-MY-APPLE. iTunes purchases don’t qualify. Also, this card doesn’t have a broad-based 0% APR introductory financing period – non-Apple purchases are excluded from this deal and subject to regular interest charges from day one.
Global Assistance Services
This card’s global assistance services include 24/7 lost and stolen card reporting via a secure phone hotline, plus other basic customer service functions.
Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards has no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost up to $37.
Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards requires good to excellent credit. If you have any major issues in your recent credit history, your application is unlikely to be approved.
- No Annual Fee. Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards has no annual fee. That’s great news for frugal cardholders who don’t spend enough on purchases to offset recurring charges. Since this card is best used to make purchases within the Apple ecosystem (and perhaps restaurants), and not as a general spending card, most cardholders likely use another credit or debit card for general spending.
- Special Financing on Apple Purchases for Up to 18 Months. This card offers special 0% APR financing on Apple purchases made within 30 days of account opening. The financing period lasts up to 18 months – longer than all but the most generous low APR interest credit cards, such as Citi Simplicity (whose interest-free period lasts 21 months).
- Excellent Point Earnings on Apple Purchases. Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards earns 3 points per $1 spent on Apple and iTunes purchases. That equates to a 3% rate of return on spending, though you are required to redeem for further Apple and iTunes purchases.
- Solid Point Earnings on Restaurant Purchases. This card also has an above-average return on restaurant spending: 2 points per $1 spent, or 2%. Even if you plan to use this card primarily as your default payment method for Apple.com and iTunes purchases, it’s not a bad idea to remember it when you go out to eat.
- No Sign-Up Bonus. Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards has no sign-up bonus. This is a big drawback for cardholders looking to juice their point earnings shortly after opening their accounts. Many competing cash back credit cards, including Chase Freedom Unlimited, offer solid sign-up bonuses: Freedom Unlimited’s is worth up to $175.
- Low Baseline Earning Rate. This card’s baseline earning rate is low: just 1 point per $1 spent on everyday purchases, or a 1% return on spending. Many competing cash back cards have better rates of return: Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard (this offer is no longer available) returns unlimited 1.5% cash back, while Citi Double Cash Card returns 2%.
- Redemptions Remain Within Apple Ecosystem. You can’t redeem your accumulated rewards for hard cash, travel, or non-Apple merchandise. Instead, you’re required to redeem for Apple and iTunes purchases. If you’re a frequent Apple or iTunes shopper, this might not be a major imposition, but it’s nice to have the option to expand your horizons a bit. Most competing rewards cards, including Blue Cash Everyday from American Express, let you redeem for the most versatile rewards currency of all: the almighty dollar.
- No Broad-Based 0% APR Introductory Promotion. This card lacks a broad-based 0% APR introductory promotion. While it’s great that new cardholders can avoid interest on Apple purchases for up to eighteen months from account opening, it would be nice to catch a break on all purchases. Chase Freedom, one of our top cash back credit cards, has a fifteen-month 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you regularly travel outside the United States, you’ll pay a premium for spending there. Plenty of rewards credit cards waive foreign transaction fees, including the Discover it family of cash back credit cards.
Barclaycard Visa® with Apple Rewards isn’t your standard cash back credit card. It’s designed for a specific purpose: rewarding loyal Apple customers with an attractive rewards-earning rate and special 0% APR financing on large purchases.
In the majority of use cases, it’s not ideal as an everyday spending card. In fact, you can probably get away with leaving it out of your wallet most of the time – except on dinner dates, when the 2% return on restaurant spending might come in handy.
Still, if your credit is good enough to qualify for this card and you can make timely payments (preferably in full) on any balances you accrue, there’s little downside to applying for this card.