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Apple Card vs. Amazon Prime Rewards Visa: Which credit card is best for you in 2019?

CNET logo CNET 10/20/2019 Katie Conner
a close up of electronics © CNET

The Apple Card has been out for several months now and is available to everyone in the US. The new card can be used in places that accept Apple Pay  via iPhones  and is designed to live inside the Apple Wallet app. But there's also a physical titanium card you can swipe anywhere, just like a normal credit card.

Another popular card for tech-savvy shoppers and consumers, which has already been on the market in the US for a while, is the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, a partnership with Chase bank.

Apple and Amazon are two of the biggest names in tech, and now each has its name on a credit card. So which one is the best? Let's take a look at the Apple Card vs. Amazon card.

Apple Card

  • Cashback credit card rewards: The Apple Card offers cash back that can be used anywhere, at any time. Use the cash back to pay for groceries, pay a friend or pay down your credit card. The cash back is automatically delivered to your Apple Cash balance or to the card as a credit balance.
  • Where to earn: Earn 3% cash back on anything from Apple stores (namely an Apple Store, apple.com, the App Store or iTunes), including games, in‑app purchases and services such as your Apple Music subscription and iCloud storage plan. Receive 2% cash back at other stores by using Apple Pay (using the virtual card on your phone) and 1% cash back in stores that don't accept Apple Pay (using the physical card). There are no earning caps, but your credit limit can max out the amount of cash you earn.
  • No fees: There are no fees for a missed payment or annual fee for cardholders with the Apple Card, and there are no transaction fees You will, however, still be charged interest in addition to what you already owe.
  • Annual Percentage Rates: Speaking of interest, Apple's APR rates range from 13.24% to 24.24% interest on purchases, based on credit score.
  • Security features: The Apple Card has no credit card number on the physical card. There is a virtual card number in the Wallet App for when you use the card with Apple Pay. You can also see the pinpointed location and business of where a purchase was made.
  • Other features: The Apple Card is paired with the Wallet app, which has the appearance of a budgeting app. Spending summaries are available to show how much you've spent in each category. Purchases are color coded based on the type of things you purchase, such as food or clothes.
  • Payment: See how to save on interest before you make a payment. Apple Card will estimate the amount of interest you'll pay, based on your payment amount.
  • Wallet app (and iPhone) required for sign-up: The Wallet app is exclusive to Apple's own iOS devices, so if you don't have an iPhone (or iPad) you can't sign up to use it. Sorry, Android fans.
a close up of a piece of paper © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.  
Apple Card FAQ: What you need to know
a close up of a card: The Apple Card will have no card number. Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The Apple Card will have no card number. Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card

  • Rewards: With the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card, you earn rewards with points that can be redeemed toward a future Amazon.com purchase (or through Chase) -- 100 points is equivalent to $1 earned. You also earn a percentage of cash back on your purchases. There's no cap on what you can earn. Plus, when you're approved for the card, you'll get a $70 Amazon gift card. You can see your rewards balance on the checkout screen when you make a purchase.
  • Where to earn: Earn 5% back on purchases at Amazon and Whole Foods, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. Many retailers now have an Amazon store to sell their items, so always check Amazon before making a purchase so you can get 5% back.
  • Fees: There's no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, but there are late fees for late payments of up to $38 plus interest.
  • Annual Percentage Rate: Amazon's APR ranges from 16.49% to 24.49%, based on credit score.
  • Card options: Amazon offers two Visa cards. One is the Prime version, which requires you to have an Amazon Prime account. The other is the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and offers 3% back at Amazon and Whole Foods, rather than 5%. A Prime membership account is not needed for this card.
  • Premium perks: Use the card for room upgrades and VIP guest status at luxury hotels. The Amazon Visa also offers complimentary concierge service for finding tickets to top events or arranging dinner reservations.
a close up of a device: Amazon Rewards Visa cards offer excellent, um, rewards. Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Amazon Rewards Visa cards offer excellent, um, rewards. Screenshot by Katie Conner/CNET

Which one's better for you?

Aside from the perks like financial tracking, the privacy of no physical number on the card and deep integration with Apple Wallet, the main differences between the two boil down to rewards credit (like money or cash back) and usage.

If you purchase a lot of stuff from Amazon, that card is probably a better bet. The fact that its rewards are Amazon points and cash back is great if you purchase enough from the online retailer.

On the other hand, if you shop primarily at other online and physical retailers that accept Apple Pay, the Apple Card's 2% cash back is great. It's also a solid choice if you're likely to occasionally make a late payment.

It's worth noting that since the Apple Card's 3% cash back is restricted to Apple's own stores, you might get a better deal if you purchase something on sale at another store (such as Amazon or Walmart). Hardware prices at Apple's own stores are often higher than other retailers.

The Apple Card looks to have some advantages over its competitors and could be a valuable addition to the (virtual) wallets of savvy shoppers. 

A closer look at the Apple Card credit card

a close up of a mouse: On March 25, the tech giant Apple surprised many by announcing that it was launching a credit card -- the Apple Card. It will launch through the Wallet app this summer and is available only to US customers for now.

On March 25, the tech giant Apple surprised many by announcing that it was launching a credit card -- the Apple Card. It will launch through the Wallet app this summer and is available only to US customers for now.
© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.
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