Is an Apple Credit Card Worth the Risk?
You may wonder, if you’re a regular reader of this site, why I would even discuss the topic of credit cards given my stance on them and debt in general. But there are many others who stumble upon our lovely little part of the interwebs who aren’t aware of the evils of debt and credit, and so for them, we must revisit the topic.
I should also mention that do not own a single item that Apple makes or sells. However, I do have family and friends that love to give Apple their money every time they grace the market with a new product. I do, however, own Apple stock within some index funds within my retirement accounts.
And while there is nothing wrong with buying a MacBook or an iPhone (except the price – that’s wrong IMO), that isn’t really what we’re here to discuss.
Apple will soon launch a brand new credit card. Here’s the skinny. It’s made of titanium (cool). It doesn’t have numbers or much lettering at all except your name (cool). And it syncs with iPay on your iPhone (cool I guess), and it makes Apple your bank (not cool), even if they say it doesn’t.
But should you sign up for this new card?
Absolutely not!! And here’s why.
In this age of information and technology, Apple has been a pioneer in making our lives easier. And while I don’t own any Apple products, the products I do own were created in competition with Apple. Competition that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Computers, smartphones, and watches can all make life easier. And competition to create better and faster and smarter machines is great.
But, there’s always a but, some things in life should not be too easy. Like giving your money away. When companies, like Apple, make the process of giving them your money easier, you tend to give them more of it. Whether you intend to or not, it happens. That’s why they do what they do!! But I think it should be a little bit painful to hand over your cash for things. You should feel it.
But with Apple’s new card, it will be painless to purchase items at any store. No longer will you have to shop only where Apple’s iPay is accepted, but you can shop anywhere. This card extends Apple’s reach much further than ever before.
The Apple Effect
Imagine with me . . .
Imagine you are standing on the edge of a nice walled plot of land with a fair amount of buildings on it. Inside those buildings are everything you could ever need. There are stores to sell any kind of product you could imagine. From groceries, to clothing, to jewelry, to entertainment, to toys, to financial services. There’s even apartments in the upper floors of those buildings. It’s all there within those buildings within that plot of land.
Outside the buildings, there’s some nice park-like areas, even a small lake. You can ride your bicycle or jog. You can swim in the lake, or just relax on a bench in the shade of a tall tree.
It seems wonderful. And the people who live in those apartments within the walls seem genuinely happy. They never have to leave that plot of land. Everything they need is right there within those buildings and directly outside.
Nothing can get in or out except through the one gate that’s controlled by the owners of the land. They decide what products make it through the gate and onto the store’s shelves. In essence, they control life inside the walls
People that are on the inside are constantly telling their friends how wonderful life is within the walls. “Join us”, they say. “You’ll see. You never need to leave.”
Nevermind the fact that there’s a whole world out there. And that there are many things to do outside the walls that you could never do inside. More and more people, it seems, are signing up for life inside the walls. Would you join them?
Back to reality.
I picture Apple exactly like this. When you buy an Apple product, you have to buy all Apple products. They all work so well together (so I’ve been told) that it only makes sense. And thus, You enter the walled utopia. And life is exactly what Apple makes it. You cede control of your life to one company to do with you what they want.
You see, you have to give up your other competitors products. Because you can’t have a Windows computer with your iPhone or watch. They just don’t play well together. You can’t have just any app on your smartphone. It has to be approved through the apple store.
Hotel California comes to mind . . . “check in anytime you like . . . . but you can never leave”.
Maybe I’m just being dramatic? Maybe I’m overselling it?
The Privacy and Security Issues
If you still are dead set on signing up for this card after all that, there are still some things you should know. Apple will know everything about you – financially speaking.
You might say, “well, somebody in company XYZ already knows everything about me.. What difference does it make?”
In my mind, it comes down to trust. Do you trust Apple with you? Are you confident that they will always use your information ethically and with your best interests at heart?
Again, you could say, “Well, should I trust any company to use my information ethically?”
My answer would be: I think you should expect them too, but be prepared for them not to. So in order to minimize risk, don’t put your eggs in one basket.
In today’s world, it all comes down to money and control. And Apple has been trying to gain control of as much of your life as they possibly can. This is just another avenue into your life. Your finances will now be under their umbrella.
Spending money should not be too easy. I’ve listed in previous articles why credit cards are dangerous. And this one from Apple is no exception. But on top of the credit card issues, there’s also Apple’s philosophy of becoming the gatekeepers of as many aspects of your life as possible.
For me, that’s a hard pass.
What do you think? Are onboard with the new Apple credit card? Why or why not?
Thanks as always for sharing and reading, and please leave a comment if you found this article interesting.