An iPhone owner using Apple Card to make a payment. Photo: Apple

Apple today begins processing the first applications from consumers to get the new Apple Card, the credit card it is debuting in conjunction with Goldman Sachs.

Why it matters: It's part of a broader push into services from Apple, but also puts the company in direct competition with the banks and credit cards already part of Apple Pay.

  • Apple won't say how many people of those who pre-registered will be getting the cards Tuesday in the first part of what it's calling a "preview" of Apple Card.

How it works: At its base level, the Apple Card is an "iPhone-first" MasterCard that can be used anywhere Apple Pay or MasterCard is accepted. However, there are several things that make Apple Card distinct from other credit cards out there.

  • Although you can get a companion physical card, it's mobile-first and customers use an iPhone to sign up for the card, view their transactions and pay their bills.
  • The physical card has a traditional credit card number on its chip and magnetic stripe, but that number isn't on the card or otherwise visible. If they need a numeric credit card number to give out, customers can provide a different one stored on their iPhone.
  • Apple says its card has no fees including no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and no late fees. Also it doesn't boost its interest rate if customers miss a payment. (There's no cash advance/ATM fee — because the Apple Card can't be used that way.)
  • The Apple Card rewards come daily in the form of a credit to an Apple Cash account that can be spent at merchants, sent to a friend over iMessage, used to pay the credit card balance, or transferred to a bank account. Customers get 1% back on traditional card purchases, 2% on Apple Pay transactions and 3% on goods and services purchased directly from Apple.

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