Apple has announced an update to the Apple Card that will make it possible for up to six people to use one credit card account.
As part of Apple Card Family, available in May 2021, those who want to share an Apple Card must be part of a Family Sharing group, which also allows those six people to share access to Apple accounts and services like Apple Music, Apple TV+, iTunes, App Store purchases, an iCloud storage plan and more.
Here’s what you need to know about Apple Card Family.
How Apple Card Family works
Apple Card Family offers two ways to share accounts:
As "co-owners": This is similar to a joint account holder arrangement, a rarity among credit card issuers. Two Apple Card users who are at least 18 years old can combine their Apple Card accounts and equally share the responsibility of paying bills. Or, alternatively, one primary cardholder can decide to add a co-owner (who does not currently have an Apple Card) to that existing account.
As a primary cardholder, who adds "participants": This is similar to adding authorized users on a credit card account. Participants ages 13 and up can make purchases with the card, but the primary cardholder (or both co-owners) would be responsible for bill payments.
Two co-owners can add up to four participants, or one primary cardholder can add up to five participants — meaning up to six people can use the same Apple Card account.
These sharing arrangements allow groups to help each other build credit history with responsible credit card use. Account activity is reported to all three major credit bureaus for co-owners, as well as for participants who are 18 or older and opt in to credit reporting.
Nerdy tip: Note that every member of an Apple Card Family group earns Daily Cash through their purchases and gets to keep the cash back they earn. This is unlike many other authorized user arrangements, where earned rewards go to the primary cardholder.
How co-owners share the account
Co-owners share full rights to, and responsibilities for, the Apple Card account. This means they’re equally responsible for paying the bills, and can get real-time notifications of all participants’ spending (they can also set up a notification if total group spending for the month exceeds a certain amount). Either co-owner can close the account, request credit line increases, add or remove participants, lock or unlock participants’ cards and set transaction limits for participants. Co-owners can’t set transaction limits on each other.
When two co-owners merge their existing separate Apple Card accounts, their new credit limit equals their previous credit limits combined. The APR will be whichever APR was lower.
Alternatively, someone who does not currently have an Apple Card can simply be made a co-owner of an existing account. If that person has no credit or bad credit, they might benefit from teaming up with someone else — but according to an Apple representative, customers with a bankruptcy on their credit reports wouldn’t be eligible to be a co-owner.
How primary cardholders or co-owners share with participants
Unlike co-owners, participants don’t have full rights and responsibilities — they can merely use the Apple Card to make purchases and keep any Daily Cash they earn. Co-owners or primary cardholders can set spending limits on participants of any age.
As mentioned before, participants who are 18 or older can opt in to credit reporting so they can build credit. For younger participants, being part of Apple Card Family can still be a way to learn how to use a credit card.
What if you want to remove a co-owner or participant?
Shared credit card arrangements need an escape route for a variety of reasons: Couples break up, kids grow up and get their own cards, people realize their spending habits don’t align. Apple Card Family offers several ways to change course.
Co-owners can remove participants, or even close the account, without the other co-owner’s approval. Participants can also remove themselves. To end a joint account between two co-owners, you must close the account and, if you’d like separate Apple Cards, reapply on your own.
What’s staying the same
Otherwise, there are no major changes to the $0-annual-fee Apple Card. It still earns cash-back rewards (in the form of Daily Cash) whenever you make purchases. If you use the card through Apple Pay, you’ll earn:
3% back on Apple purchases, as well as purchases at select merchants including Uber and Uber Eats, Walgreens, Nike, Exxon, Mobil, Duane Reade, Panera Bread and T-Mobile.
2% back on all other purchases.
Any purchase made with the physical Apple Card earns 1% back.