Apple’s sleek new high-tech titanium credit card already offers a whole range of benefits, including a three percent cash back program at Apple and several other participating retailers, unsurpassed privacy protection and the kind of tight iPhone integration that only Apple could come up with. However, it looks like Apple and its partner Goldman Sachs have another benefit up their sleeves for Apple Card holders.
Following flooding from tropical storm Imelda, at least two MacRumors readers in Houston recently received an email from Apple indicating that they might be able to apply for the “Disaster Relief Program,” which would offer interest and payment relief for up to two months, presumably to assist users who incur other financial challenges as a result of such events.
The sending of the e-mail seems to be triggered based on the cardholders’ addresses matching areas that have recently been hit by a natural disaster, as the opening paragraph of the email would seem to indicate:
We understand that you may have been affected by a natural disaster. We’d like to offer our support and assistance through our Disaster Relief Program.
This suggests that the Disaster Relief Program is by invitation only, although it’s safe to assume that Apple Card holders who live in an area affected by a known natural disaster should still be able to apply for the program if they contact Apple. Regardless of whether you’ve received the email or not, customers still need to contact an Apple Card Specialist to enrol in the program anyway — it’s not automatic.
What’s interesting is that there don’t seem to be any other eligibility requirements. In fact, Apple doesn’t even seem to require your account to be in good standing, since the email explains how the program would work for accounts that are past due.
What Does It Offer?
The Disaster Relief Program is intended to give you a break from worrying about your Apple Card payments in the event that your area is hit with a flood, fire, earthquake, or other like catastrophe.
Specifically, Apple and Goldman will waive all interest charges for two months, starting with the month in which the customer enrolls. The standard interest rate will resume in the third month. Users will also be able to skip whatever payment would be due in that first month without penalty; although of course Apple doesn’t charge late fees, missed payments still normally affect a user’s credit history.
Apple also notes that if the account is already in good standing, it will remain so while the user is enrolled. If the account is past due before entering the disaster relief program, it will remain past due, but will “not go further delinquent.” Put simply, it looks like once the disaster relief program kicks in, your Apple Card status will be frozen in whatever state it was in before you entered the program.
What’s a bit less clear is how long the program lasts for, and it’s possible this may be something that is handled on a case-by-case basis. While the email says Apple will waive interest for two months, the wording of the email suggests that users could be enrolled to receive the other benefits for a longer period of time.
What About Personal Disasters?
Apple’s Disaster Relief Program appears to be specifically intended for users affected by natural disasters that have affected larger communities. However, it’s certainly not out of the question that Apple might be willing to offer similar relief for users who have experienced a personal disaster, such as having their house demolished in a fire. If nothing else, if you found yourself in a situation like this, it would definitely be worth calling up an Apple Card Specialist to see what options might be available to you.