Apple Card: Trouble Using It…at an Apple Store

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #351

I got my Apple Card last month mostly to take advantage of the 3% cash-back on purchases from Apple.

A week ago Sunday I went to the Apple Store to buy an iPhone. I wanted an iPhone 11 Pro Max in Space Gray with 256GB of storage, but when I tried to buy it, they told me I needed an appointment and the next one available wasn’t for 35 minutes.

While I waited, I tried ordering it from the Apple online store. But I wanted immediate gratification, so the mid-October delivery date wasn’t going to work.


Buying an iPhone

At the appointed time, I told my Apple Specialist I didn’t want any setup or instruction. I said I just wanted to pay and get home as quickly as possible.

But, when I tried to pay with my Apple Card (first via Apple Pay on my Apple Watch, then via Apple Pay on my iPhone) the transaction failed each time with a cryptic error message.

For the record, Apple Card has worked flawlessly every time I used it previously, and my credit limit is more than sufficient.

The Apple Specialist suggested we try the physical card instead of Apple Pay, so I inserted the card and it asked for my security code…

That was When the Fun Began…

I was puzzled. I know I never created a passcode for this card. And the card was blank except for my name and some logos.

Then I remembered something Dave and John had talked about on MacGeekGab 774 a few weeks ago—the Apple Card number, three-digit security code, and expiration date are in the Wallet app on your iPhone, not on the card.

No account, expiration date, or security code on Apple Card... only my name and some logos...
No account number, expiration date, or security code…

I thought we were home free, but after entering the correct three-digit security code… (you guessed it): An error message.

We tried inserting the card, swiping the card, and Apple Pay  (two more times), but it failed at the final step every time. Nobody at the Apple Store had seen such a thing; someone finally suggested calling tech support.

So I did.

The Tech Support Call…

The first technician I talked to said there wasn’t a problem with the card. He asked if he could transfer me to an “Apple Card specialist.” I agreed and explained what was happening again to the second tech. The nice Apple Store Specialist I was working with at Apple Store explained, too.

The support tech said there was nothing unusual on his end, consulted another tech, who then consulted another. But nobody had a clue. Nobody could find the problem, much less resolve it.

After nearly 40 minutes on the phone whilst sitting in the Apple Store wishing I were anywhere else, the final suggestion from support was “try a different credit card.”

What Finally Worked…

I was steamed and ready to throw in the towel (and my 3% discount) and use another card. But I had an epiphany: There was still one thing we hadn’t tried…

I carefully typed the card number and security code on the handheld terminal this time, instead of inserting, swiping, or ApplePay-ing.

That worked, of course, and the sale went through.

Bottom Line

This whole ordeal left a bad taste in my mouth. It shouldn’t have taken two hours for me to buy a new iPhone at the Apple Store.

And I was shocked that Apple’s usually superb tech support was so lousy for the Apple Card.

While the experience was less than stellar, I’m not gonna hold a grudge… so tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion—a delightful ditty I will call, “Dr. Mac’s iPhone 11 Pro Max Review.” Or something like that. 😜

And that’s all he wrote… 

2 thoughts on “Apple Card: Trouble Using It…at an Apple Store

  • Really need to hear more of these kind of stories, to find out just how broken card really is. It sounds like a mis-adventure on Apple’s part. It sounded sus from the very beginning. Apple’s going to reform the credit card system… phone companies are one thing, but -helping- banks smacks of hubris.

  • I had a similar, but better, experience.
    I purchased an iPhone from the Walnut Creek, CA Apple Store. (And, without an appointment, I had to wait 45 minutes in sitting line to get serviced by an available Sales person that was free of appointments.)

    At first, the Sales Tech said that I couldn’t use the Apple Card…that it wouldn’t work…that I had to use another CC. But I said that I had especially obtained the Apple Card for this purchase and had many several inquires at Apple about using the AC for this purchase..
    Then he said he might know a method/trick……that could work.
    It was your exact final method–of typing in the card number and security code–and it did work.
    But it only took me a couple of minutes of haggling to get this “knowledgeable” Tech to do it. So no time spent on that issue. But it was clear that he knew more than the “average bear”.

    Now, I am going to attempt to use the Apple Card to make payments (setup monthly payments) to Citizen One to pay on my purchase loan of iPhone.
    Several Apple Card Dept people have told me that this should be possible and should earn the 3% credit. But I have heard hesitation in their voices (and texts) so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.