Apple and Barclaycard are now offering U.S. residents a Barclaycard Visa with Apple Rewards credit card, with points that can be redeemed for Apple Store gift cards. The new Apple Rewards card seems to have replaced the iTunes Rewards Visa, as there is no longer any mention of it on Apple’s Web site.
With the Apple Rewards card, you’ll earn 3 points for every dollar spent at any of Apple’s physical and online stores, 2 points at restaurants, and 1 point on all other purchases. After you’ve earned 2,500 points, you can redeem them for a $25 Apple Store gift card (the default) or a $25 iTunes gift card. To switch to receiving an iTunes gift card, contact the customer service phone number on the back of the card or via the View Rewards tab on the BarclaycardUS.com site.
Also, purchases made using the Apple Rewards card at an Apple store within the first 30 days of receiving the card are interest free for a set amount of time: 6 months if you spend under $499, 12 months if you spend $499 to $998, or 18 months if you spend $999 or more. (Of course, you should never buy a computer you can’t afford, no matter how great the terms are.)
Outside of that exemption, the annual percentage rate is either 13.99, 19.99, or 26.99 percent, depending on your credit rating. Happily, there is no annual fee. See the terms and conditions and FAQ for details.
Another interesting feature of the card is that it features an EMV chip in addition to a magnetic stripe. Such “chip-and-PIN” cards have been standard in Europe, Canada, and Mexico for years and are more secure than cards with relatively primitive magnetic strips. The chip will come in handy if you travel abroad and as chip-and-PIN becomes more widespread in the United States. President Obama has already mandated chip-and-PIN for government-issued cards.