With the announcement of the Apple Card's wide rollout, there are still a wide variety of questions floating around pertaining to the thing’s use. For example: What can you buy with the Apple Card’s reward system? Like many credit cards, the Apple Card has a reward system in place for users; it’s called Daily Cash. The good news, though, is that even though the Apple Card Daily Cash system seems kind of complicated, it’s actually not that bad once you think about it for a little bit. The short answer is that you can buy basically anything using the Apple Card reward system— as long as the store or retailer you’re buying it from accepts Apple Pay as a payment method.
Cash back programs have become popular incentives for credit cards to include in their perks package — and with good reason: You literally get cash back from certain purchases, which results a little money you’ve technically already spent making its way back into your pocket. Of course, cash back programs are actually a little more complicated than just that; for the curious, here’s a walk-through of where the cash for cash back programs actually comes from. For the credit card holder, though, it mostly is that simple: For certain types of purchases, you get a percentage of what you spend back, which you can usually redeem as statement credit, a paper check or direct deposit, or as a gift card.
The Apple Card’s primary — and, right now, only — reward is also a cash back program. However, there are a few things that set it apart from your average cash back reward. For one thing, you get cash back on literally every purchase you make with the Apple Card, although the percentage varies based on the type of purchase: Apple Card purchases made using Apple Pay net you 2% cash back; purchases made directly with Apple (at, say, brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, on the online Apple Store, in the App Store, etc.) earn 3% back; and if you make a purchase with the Apple Card at a merchant that doesn’t accept Apple Pay — that is, you make it with the physical, titanium Apple Card or with your virtual Apple Card — then you get 1% back.
Your cash back is also available to you immediately, which is a pretty big change from the way most other cash back programs work. Any cash back you earn with the Apple Card gets returned directly to you in the form of Daily Cash, which goes immediately into your Apple Cash account. Apple Cash can be used to make purchases anywhere Apple Pay is accepted; whenever you have Apple Cash available, you’ll see an Apple Cash “card” in your Apple Wallet which can be used as a payment method with Apple Pay. You can even send money to friends through Messages using Apple Cash — so if you owe a pal for a coffee they bought you a week ago or something like that, you can use your Daily Cash to pay them back for it. There’s no limit as to how much Daily Cash you can accrue, either, so it basically just keeps piling up every time you make a purchase until you spend it.
Here’s the thing, though: Apple Cash can only be used with Apple Pay — so if you want to use the cash back you’ve earned through the Apple Card’s Daily Cash feature, then you have to spend it somewhere that accepts Apple Pay. If your favorite store doesn’t accept Apple Pay, then alas, you won’t be able to use your Daily Cash at it. Whomp whomp.
However, there is sort of a tricky way you can use your Apple Card reward to technically pay for stuff you buy using your Apple Card at merchants that aren’t set up for Apple Pay: The cash back you accumulate as Daily Cash can be used to pay off your Apple Card balance. There are two ways to make that payment happen: First, Apple notes that if you don’t have Apple Cash set up, your Daily Cash earned via Apple Card purchases “accumulates” and “can be applied towards your Apple Card balance.” Alternatively, if you do have Apple Cash set up, you can also pay off your Apple Card balance that way — that is, when you pay off your Apple Card balance with your Apple Cash account, you’re doing it using the Daily Cash that ended up in said Apple Cash account courtesy of your past Apple Card purchases. The logic is a little wonky here, but technically, it does check out; the thing to note is just that you don’t use the Daily Cash to make the purchase yourself. You buy the item on credit via the Apple Card, then pay off the Apple Card balance with your Daily Cash later on.
Or, if you want to spend your Daily Cash another way entirely, it’s also possible to transfer Apple Cash to a bank account linked to your Apple Pay account. To do so, open up Wallet, tap your Apple Cash card, tap the three dots icon, and then tap “Transfer to Bank.” Follow the prompts on this screen to make the transfer; it should complete within about 30 minutes, according to Apple. Once the funds have been transferred into your bank account, you can use your debit card, write a check, or just go ahead and take out the cash from an ATM and spend it that way.
The bottom line, though, is that the easiest answer to “What can you buy with your Apple Card reward money?” is “Anything, as long as the merchant accepts Apple Pay.” And with contactless payment on the rise, that’s likely going to cover a growing number of merchants as time goes on.
If the Apple Card appeals to you, you can find out how to apply for one here.