Apple (AAPL) Card Users May Defer April Payments Amid Coronavirus

Apple AAPL and Goldman Sachs are allowing customers to defer their Apple Card payment for April without incurring interest charges or a penalty in response to the financial pressure due to the coronavirus outbreak, per a Bloomberg report. Apple Card, backed by Goldman, had offered the same program to its users for March payments.

Apple Card users are required to opt in to the Customer Assistance program by messaging a support representative via the Wallet app on an Apple device.

Apple and Goldman Sachs expect card members to pay eventually but don't want to risk service discontinuity for legions of customers who are out of work or otherwise taking a monetary hit due to the pandemic.

Other top banks including American Express, Bank of America, Barclays and Capital One among others have also encouraged customers to reach out in case they are experiencing financial difficulties.

Apple Inc. Price and Consensus

Apple Inc. Price and Consensus

Apple Inc. price-consensus-chart | Apple Inc. Quote

Apple’s Growing Card Payment Services

Launched in August 2019, the Apple Card is designed for iPhone users and comes with several benefits including no fees, daily cash-back rewards, interest-free monthly payments and works with Apple Pay. It also exists as a physical titanium credit card.

Notably, in November 2019, Goldman Sachs provided $10 billion in credit lines in just over a month for the Apple-branded credit card.

Moreover, consumers with the new credit card had already run up $2 billion in loan balances at the end of December, 2019 per Business Insider Report.

Nonetheless, the Apple Card started reflecting additional financial details for charges like iCloud Storage Plan, Apple Music Subscription among others in its internal transactions instead of just showing Apple Services listed on a transaction.

Additionally, Apple is updating its privacy policy for Apple Card to enable sharing more anonymized data with Goldman Sachs. We believe that the updated policy will help Goldman Sachs in creating a new credit assignment model.

Moreover, Apple introduced a opt-in option, allowing users to share more data with Goldman Sachs if they don't get approved for the Apple Card at first pass. The data will require user’s Apple product and service purchase history, how long a user has had an Apple ID, and how much they routinely spend with Apple.

The above initiatives are part of Apple's effort to expand beyond the iPhone into boosting revenues from its gamut of services.

In first-quarter fiscal 2020, Apple witnessed double-digit growth in services across all geographic segments. Robust performance of cloud services, music, payment services and the App Store search ad business drove Services revenues.

Apple’s Continued Efforts to Combat Coronavirus

This latest Apple Card announcement is part of the initiatives Apple has undertaken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently, the iPhone-maker partnered with CDC, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to release a new COVID-19 website and COVID-19 app currently available on the App Store in the United States to bring in more awareness about the highly contagious virus.

Notably, last week, Apple donated 10 million protective masks to U.S. health care groups after using its supply chain team to locate and buy the masks. It also recently added answers about the virus to its Siri digital assistant.

Moreover, Apple has also switched WWDC to an online-only format for 2020 and opened a dedicated coronavirus spotlight on Apple News platform.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Apple currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Avid Technology AVID, Akamai Technologies, Inc. AKAM and Baidu, Inc. BIDU. While Avid Technology sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Akamai and Baidu carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Avid Technology, Akamai and Baidu is currently pegged at 15%, 12% and 10%, respectively.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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