Apple was previously allowing its corporate employees to test the Apple Card, but is now expanding testing to a much larger group through an internal beta program that launched this week.
Employees are able to sign up directly from their personal devices, with the Apple Pay portion of the card activated immediately and a card scheduled to be sent within two to three weeks. Employees are receiving APRs between 13.24 percent and 24.24 percent, the same APR range that will be provided to consumers.
With thousands of retail workers available, the expansion marks the first wide scale test, allowing Apple to find and address bugs and other problems before the Apple Card launches to the public.
Apple employees have been asked not to discuss the card, but they are allowed to use it in public to make purchases.
Screenshots of the employee beta of the Apple Card show that test versions of the card are fully functional and include the ability to receive daily cash back, pay bills, see an order status for a physical card and receive technical support via text messaging. Users can also schedule payments, access their credit limit and manage connected bank accounts, among other tasks. Users will also have the ability to set the Apple Card as the default payment method for Apple purchases.
The Apple Card, created in partnership with Goldman Sachs, is deeply integrated into the iPhone and the Apple ecosystem. It offers 3% cash back on Apple purchases, 2% cash back on all Apple Pay transactions, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Purchases are tracked in the Wallet app on the iPhone, providing a breakdown of spending across different categories like health, food, shopping, and more. While the Apple Card offers higher rewards for Apple Pay purchases, for instances where a traditional purchase is required, Apple is providing customers with a physical card made from titanium.
Apple is planning to launch the Apple Card in the United States this summer, and Bloomberg says Apple has already been discussing an expansion into Europe with financial regulators. The employees using the card are running iOS 12.4 on their devices, and the iOS 12.4 update is expected to bring Apple Card support.
We've had four betas of iOS 12.4 so far, so a launch may not be too far off.