Mar 26, 2019

Apple's minimalist titanium credit card

Apple VP Jennifer Bailey introduces the Apple Card at Apple's Monday event. Screenshot from Apple video

Most Apple products are expensive. You want them, but you hate how much you're forced to pay for them. They often use premium materials, too. When the titanium PowerBook was launched in January 2001, it started at $2,599 — $3,750 in today's dollars. The titanium Apple Card, by contrast, launched Monday with great fanfare, is entirely free.

Why it matters: This is an ambitious attempt by both Goldman and Apple to break into the world of consumer finance. But gaining significant market share from the giants in the space will not be easy.

For the unbeatable price of $0, customers will be able to flex a gorgeous minimalist card — so minimalist, in fact, that it comes without normally-standard features like a card number or an expiration date. Instead, you can generate one-off numbers on your phone.

  • Apple has partnered with Goldman Sachs for this product, although the Goldman logo is relegated to the rear of the card. Goldman bought Final last year, a company which specialized in generating new credit card numbers off a single account; it also bought Clarity, which specializes in spend tracking and analysis. Both of those features are core to the Apple Card, the workings of which are also woven tightly with Apple Pay.
  • The all-important underwriting process is going to be on Goldman. When you tap your phone to apply for the card, Goldman will have to instantaneously decide how creditworthy you are, how much of a credit line it will offer you, and how much interest it will charge.

Timing: The card won't be available till summer. Apple didn't announce interest rates and other key details.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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