APPLE THINKS IT'S A BANK, kind of, with the reveal of a virtual and physical credit card that comes with a suite of techie features.
Imaginatively dubbed Apple Card, the credit card is a form of Apple Pay expansion, only rather than act as a vehicle for other payment cards and services, Apple will have its own credit card.
US banking giant Goldman Sachs will take care of the actual banking side, while MasterCard - already a big partner of Apple Pay - will help handle some of the payments stuff.
So in practical terms, Apple Card works very much like a normal debit or credit card through Apple Pay. But this being an Apple thing, there's more to the card than meets the eye.
For a start, through on-device machine learning and data scraped from Apple Maps, the card will take the fairly nonsensical labelling of payments you'd normally find in bank statements and banking apps and figure out what you bought and where you made the payment.
For example, splash out on a croissant and coffee and the Apple Card will file the payment under a "food and drink" category and make a note of the cafe's name and location.
The idea is that it'll help make keeping an eye on payments easier, especially when its coupled with features like scheduling payments to clear out credit card bills and ensure the user pays as little interest as possible.
Yet despite this data collection, Apple noted it won't suck any of it up to its servers and Goldman Sachs won't use any of the Apple Card customer data to fuel adverting or marketing effoerts.
The Apple Card will also look pretty attractive to people who are dead dumb when it comes to money, as Apple promised it won't charge any fees for late payments, international use, or for going over the credit card limit.
There was no word on whether Apple will send round the iBailiffs clad in 'Genius' gear if you've gone a little bit overboard on ivory back-scratchers and pork scratchings.
But to balance how easy Apple may have made it to get into debt, Apple is offering two per cent cash back for any purchase made using the Apple Card through Apple Pay. Fork out for something directly from Apple and you'll get three per cent back.
So that's quite the hook to sign up for the service, though you'll need to be in the US as that's where Apple Card is making it debut come the Summer; there's no word on a UK release yet.
For places that don't support Apple Pay, Cupertino is offering a physical Apple Card card.
Merely holding a laser etched name - there's no CVV security code, credit card number, or other sensitive details - the card will rely on chip and pin and contactless payments.
It looks very Apple slick, as if Jony Ive has poured all his super-earnest approach to design on the rectangular slice of magnesium. Oh and payments made with it glean one per cent cash back.
Then again, Apple has more money than God, The Beatles and Scrooge McDuck, so taking a punt on becoming a credit card provider probably isn't much of a risk for Tim Cook and crew. Though as ever time, and financial statements, will tell. µ
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