(Pocket-lint) – Apple Card is a digital credit card from Apple that works seamlessly with your iPhone. The sad news is that it’s only available in the US, but there’s no need to panic if you’re in the UK.
There are some alternatives that will give you some of the most attractive features of Apple Card in the UK, while avoiding some of Apple Card’s shortcomings.
Apple Card is a credit card first
We’ve talked in detail about what Apple Card is here, so we’ll be very brief. Apple Card is a credit card, it is run by Goldman Sachs and it works on the Mastercard platform, with interest rates between 10.99 per cent and 21.99 per cent.
It’s integrated into Apple Wallet so will work just like other cards in Apple Pay, be that for contactless payments, app or browser payments.
It comes with a physical card, although that has no numbers on it, no signature strip and no magnetic strip. It’s titanium and looks cool, but has the obvious disadvantage of only offering the card chip – so it won’t work in situations where you need a magnetic swipe or signature (which may or may not be a problem).
The attractive elements come down to things like no fees for international payments, cash back, real time transaction and interest information in Wallet. And it’s here that there are plenty of existing services to consider for those in the UK.
Monzo is one of the big names in a new wave of banks designed to be mobile first. Rather than being a credit card, it’s a current account, offering payments through Apple Pay on your iPhone and issuing you a physical card too – supporting all payment standards.
So it’s for money you already have, rather than credit you don’t have – which some might see as a benefit.
But the big sell is in the management of the account and the lack of associated fees. Many of the benefits offered by Apple Card are available with Monzo – categorisation of your spending, instant transaction details, notifications on your phone when the physical card is used and so on.
If you lose your card you can freeze it instantly through the app, and you can make instant payments to friends.
There are also no travel fees, you get the Mastercard exchange rates without fees when spending abroad and you can easily make international payments much cheaper than a high street bank. You can withdraw up to £200 a month cash – anywhere in the world – without incurring fees, but that’s a bit of a limitation – over £200 a month you get charged a 3 per cent fee.
You can find out more about Monzo on its website.
Starling is another app-based bank, offering a current account that’s modern and dynamic, with instant feedback and what you’re spending, and where. It will categorise, send you notifications and has little features like being able to round-up transactions with the extras going into your savings pot – all those pennies you’d otherwise not notice.
There’s a physical contactless Mastercard to go with it, as well as integration into Apple Pay – as well as other services like Fitbit Pay. It’s also really easy to make small payments to friends without fiddling with sort codes and stuff.
Again you don’t have fees when using your card abroad, you get the Mastercard exchange rate. You can also apply for an overdraft and arrange borrowing – we well as being able to pay in money using the Post Office.
Starling is an award winning bank and you can find out more about it on its website.
Revolut is another player in the digital banking scene. It integrates into Apple Pay and it offers a range of other compelling features. You get the app to manage your account and a physical Visa card.
Revolut doesn’t have any fees when used abroad, giving you the freedom to spend at interbank exchange rates. These rates can be live tracked and you can easily move currencies in your Revolut account around – including being able to auto transfer if particular rates swing in your favour. It can also handle cryptocurrencies.
You can easily send or request cash from contacts, freeze your card if you lose it, as well as getting instant notifications on your phone when you spend money. All payments are categorised and location recorded.
Cash withdrawals are limited to limited to £200 a month, which can be a limitation. But you can get Revolut Metal, with cashback and concierge services, and an increase to £800 a month cash withdrawals – but it does cost £12.99 a month for that version.
You can find out more about Revolut on the website.
Writing by Chris Hall.