Are credit cards from Apple, Venmo or Amazon worth it?
There are definite pros and cons to adding one of these techie credit cards to your wallet. Here’s a quick comparison to know if any of them are right for you
All of these tech companies offering credit cards made me wonder if one of them could give me better benefits than those I’m enjoying from my current credit cards. Spoiler alert: the answer is yes, in the right circumstances.
Amazon credit card
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is a no-brainer if you are a Prime member and shop on Amazon a lot. I made 100 purchases on the site in 2020 and will be using the company’s credit card on there from now on. Right now, you’ll receive a $100 Amazon gift card if approved for the credit card and receive 5% cash back on every purchase at Amazon or Whole Foods Market. Card users get 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on everything else.
There is no annual credit card fee and when you log in to your Amazon account to read about the credit card, the company shows you how much you could have earned based on your purchases over the past year. I missed out on $192.10. Of course I earned some cash back with the credit card I did use, but definitely not 5%.
The company also runs promotional offers where buyers can get a much higher percentage of cash back on selected purchases. For instance, Amazon is currently offering 10% back on Roku products and 15% back on Nautilus fitness equipment.
The annual percentage rate is 14%-22% based on your creditworthiness and any late payment fee could cost up to $39.
The Apple Card is a smart choice for anyone who consistently pays off their balances and uses Apple Pay on a regular basis. It is a rare occasion when I find a retailer or restaurant that doesn’t accept this highly secure form of contactless payment these days. The Apple Card looks cool. It’s made of titanium (no plastic here) and the only markings are the chip, and your name and the apple icon laser etched into the surface. There are no visible numbers anywhere. But if you’re an Apple Pay user, that part doesn’t even matter because you’re simply tapping your phone to pay anyway.
The Apple Mastercard has no annual fees, no late fees and is all managed through the Wallet app. In an effort to encourage you to pay less interest, it will show you how much interest you’ll wind up paying when you choose an amount to pay off each month. This helps you make a more informed decision about how much of your balance to pay down instead of defaulting to the minimum amount due.
The card earns 3% cash back on anything you buy from Apple including devices, games in the App Store and services like Apple Music or Apple TV+. Select merchants like Walgreens, Exxon and Nike also help you get 3% cash back. Users receive 2% back any time they use Apple Pay and pay with the Apple Card and 1% for all other purchases. These cash rewards are deposited into your Apple Cash card every day instead of waiting until the end of a statement period like most cards.
Also of note, the company announced Apple Card Family two weeks ago that allows up to five people to share the benefits. Parents can share a card with their kids and can place spending limits and controls on the card as they help educate about financial responsibility. Parents can also use card-sharing to help children build their own credit, although anyone participating must be using Family Sharing.
Venmo credit card
The newest and least appealing offering is the Venmo Credit Card from the payment sharing app. This Visa card divides spending into categories: dining, travel, bills, health and beauty, grocery, gas, transportation and entertainment. In whichever category you spend the most each month, you’ll receive the most cash back. Users earn 3% back in the top category, 2% back for the next category and 1% back for all other spending, including person-to-person payments. But remember, when you Venmo someone using a credit card, there is 3% fee tacked on, so it doesn’t make that 1% cash back seem that great. Plus, users are only allowed to receive 3% and 2% cash back until they spend a total of $10,000. Then all spending is reduced to receiving only 1% back.
The fun credit card colors and personal QR code printed on the front don’t make up for the lack of benefits here. Late fees can be up to $40 and the annual percentage rate is 15%-24% depending on creditworthiness.
There’s a lot to think about in deciding if one of these tech credit cards will work in your financial world. Each one may have their place when used in the right way and the right place, but the benefits won’t add up for everyone.