Skip to main content

When people talk about the future, what they usually care most about is what that means for people -- how they'll live, if they'll adapt.

Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report  has helped to transform human behavior so that now nearly everyone is inextricably tethered to a cell phone, with mobile access to e-mail, Web browsers and apps to displace CD players, calculators, maps, alarm clocks, metronomes, dictionaries and chess boards. 

The wallet is next. 

Apple's new credit card, offered in partnership with Goldman Sachs  (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report and Mastercard  (MA) - Get Mastercard Incorporated Report , will arrive later this year with a physical version -- an actual card that will give customers 1% back on purchases, according to a press release .

But the digital version, housed on iPhones, will give customers 2% cash back on all purchases made using the company's Apple Pay technology and 3% cash back on purchases made through Apple stores or on the App Store. The rewards are added daily and can be used right away. 

For most iPhone users, such fat rewards levels could make the future-changing digital "card" tough for young consumers to resist, according to the personal-finance website WalletHub. The average cash-rewards credit card gives just 1.06% back on all purchases, according to the site.

Scroll to Continue

TheStreet Recommends

"This new offering is aimed directly at Millennials and could put Apple in the driver's seat as the payments landscape becomes increasingly digital," WalletHub said in e-mailed comments.

Apple has been working on ways to penetrate into the lucrative financial-services industry, while Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street firm that historically has catered to the wealthy and institutions with businesses like bond trading and investment banking, has sought to diversify by offering products and services tailored to regular consumers.

According to the press release, the Apple Card will have no annual fee and no late-payment penalties, though a tiny footnote at the end of the terms description indicates that late payments could result in "additional interest accumulating toward the customer's balance." 

Terms? Footnotes? It's starting to sound like a real credit card. But without the extra millimeters of plastic contributing to that unsightly bulge in the pocket. 

Apple said card numbers will be stored in a special security chip in the device, and purchases will have to be authorized via facial scans or fingerprint readers. The luddite's version -- the physical analog -- will be a "beautiful titanium card" with no card number, security code, expiration date or signature on the card. 

It's a "new level of privacy and security," Apple said. 

According to WalletHub, banks should be worried. Those would likely include the biggest U.S. lenders, which have giant credit-card operations -- JPMorgan Chase  Co. (JPM) - Get JP Morgan Chase & Co. Report , Bank of America  (BAC) - Get Bank of America Corporation Report and Citigroup   (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

Apple, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Citigroup are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells AAPL, GS or C? Learn more now.