Apple launches its first credit card – with no fees

A new iPhone X. Apple has launched its own credit card for the first time. Picture: Reuters/Thomas Peter
A new iPhone X. Apple has launched its own credit card for the first time. Picture: Reuters/Thomas Peter
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Apple has unveiled its first credit card – built directly into a user’s iPhone – as the company made a surprise new step into financial services.

The new Apple Card will allow users to sign up from their iPhone and begin using it “in minutes”.

The technology giant said its new system would automatically track and categorise spending for users, as well as customise repayment times.

It will be usable anywhere around the world where the firm’s Apple Pay payment system is currently available.

The firm said its card would have no fees and all purchases made with the card would receive 2 per cent cash back each day, rising to 3 per cent for purchases made at Apple stores or through the company itself.

A physical version of the card is also to be launched for use in locations where Apple Pay is not accepted.

The global tech giant also announced its new TV streaming service, Apple TV+, working with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

“I’m so grateful to be here today,” Spielberg said at the launch event.

“This is my first time at Apple, the place where imagination and technology join forces.”

Witherspoon and Aniston were joined on stage by Steve Carell to talk about their series The Morning Show while Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard revealed details about their project See.

JJ Abrams, M Night Shyamalan, Sofia Coppola, Ron Howard and Octavia Spencer also appeared in a preview video for the company’s new service.

Apple is rolling out an update to its Apple TV app in May that will allow people to access programmes from other channels and providers such as HBO and Amazon Prime.

The streaming video entertainment sector is becoming ever more competitive, with Disney and WarnerMedia currently working on their own plans.

Meanwhile, in the UK, traditional broadcasters are stepping up their efforts, with the BBC and ITV announcing plans to collaborate on a joint subscription-based streaming service called BritBox, featuring new commissions, recent shows and old British favourites.

Apple also announced a new subscription-based magazine service, with access to more than 300 US magazines for $9.99 (£7.58) a month - a UK launch is set to follow in autumn.

Apple Arcade, a subscription gaming platform for mobile, desktop and living room, with more than 100 new and exclusive games, will also be released in autumn.

Apple TV+ also comes amid a shift in the company’s profit, moving towards services instead of relying on hardware sales.

Its star product, the iPhone, remains a triumph, but recent numbers have shown a fall in demand, while its services, which include its Apple Music streaming app, are growing.

The last quarterly results revealed that revenue from its services business jumped 19 per cent, from $9.1 billion (£7bn) to $10.9bn (£8.3bn) year-on-year.

Apple will be hoping to emulate the success of Apple Music, which has gained more than 50 million subscribers since launching in 2015 and is closing in on market leader Spotify.

Apple is beginning to place more emphasis on the services aspect of its business in the wake of falling iPhone sales.

In contrast to a 15 per cent drop in phone sales reported in its most recent quarterly financial results published at the start of the year, Apple’s services revenue was up 19 per cent to around £8.3 billion.

The subscription announcements will come in the wake of a number of surprise device updates announced by the firm last week, including the first new iPad mini tablet in more than three years, and a second generation pair of its AirPods wireless earphones, which can be bought with a wireless charging case for the first time.