Apple has started rolling out the Apple Card, inviting people accepted into the new credit card's early preview program to start swapping their plastic for solid titanium this week.
With a streamlined design, decent cashback rates, and a focus on security, there's every chance the Apple Card will establish itself as one of the top credit cards around – but owners should still pay attention to the fine print when signing up for the product.
As spotted (opens in new tab) by Gizmodo, the Apple Card's customer agreement includes a forced arbitration clause that is opt-in by default, thanks to the terms of its financial partner, Goldman Sachs.
Signing up for this impacts on your consumer rights, as 'forced arbitration' basically means you can't sue Goldman Sachs if anything goes wrong with the Apple Card – including as part of a larger class-action lawsuit.
How to opt-out of the Apple Card's arbitration clause
While most of us probably hope we never have to sue a financial services provider, the recent Capital One data breach shows all too clearly that nothing can be taken for granted.
However, unlike the Capital One customers now taking part in a class-action lawsuit against the bank, Apple Card users who don't opt-out of forced arbitration will find themselves hampered by the following clause:
“THIS AGREEMENT REQUIRES CLAIMS TO BE ARBITRATED AND FORBIDS CLASS ACTIONS UNLESS YOU (1) ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROTECTIONS OF THE MILITARY LENDING ACT OR (2) EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO REJECT ARBITRATION AS PROVIDED IN THE ARBITRATION PROVISION, WHICH IS SET FORTH AT THE END OF THIS AGREEMENT.”
Instead, all disagreements or 'claims' directed at Goldman Sachs will be reviewed by an arbitrator. They won't see the inside of the courtroom, and you won't have a chance to present your case to a judge or jury as a result.
Fortunately, opting out of the clause is (relatively) easy.
The Apple Card customer agreement later says:
“YOU MAY REJECT THIS ARBITRATION PROVISION BY CONTACTING US USING MESSAGES, CALLING US, OR WRITING TO US, AND STATING THE FOLLOWING: (I) YOUR NAME; (II) THE EMAIL ADDRESS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR ACCOUNT; (III) THE ADDRESS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR ACCOUNT; AND (IV) THAT YOU ARE EXERCISING YOUR RIGHT TO REJECT THIS ARBITRATION PROVISION (A “REJECTION NOTICE”).
In this case, the phone number you want is 1-877-255-5923. That's probably the fastest way to opt-out of the clause, but those wishing to write should address their correspondence to: Lockbox 6112, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia, PA 19170-6112.
What to do next
The most important thing is to opt out of the Apple Card's forced arbitration clause immediately (if that's what you want to do).
That's because Goldman Sachs requires you to notify them of your desire to opt-out within 90 days of opening an Apple Card account.
Your opt-out notice must be received and accepted before you can make a claim, otherwise it's forced arbitration.
As such, we'd also recommend contacting Goldman Sachs a second time to confirm they have processed your request. Whether you telephoned or wrote to them in the first instance, there's always chance you could fall foul of an administrative error and put your claim rights at risk.