Apple recently announced its new privacy-focused credit card, Apple Card, which it claims will offer more privacy protections for consumers when purchasing products online. But how does Apple Card stack up when compared to other leading privacy-focused credit cards? Below we'll be comparing Apple Card with the privacy-focused Blur Masked Cards and Privacy.com Virtual Cards and outlining which is the best option for privacy and security when making online purchases.
Best disposable card: Blur Masked Cards
Disposable cards are one of the best ways to boost your privacy and security when purchasing products and services online. They work by sending disposable credit card data to merchants which can only be used one time and cannot be tied back to you.
This disposable data prevents merchants from using your data to build a personalized advertising profile and also keeps your personal data safe during data leaks or breaches. Additionally, it protects you from credit card fraud because the data cannot be used to make additional purchases after the original transaction.
Apple Card has a unique device based card number that is stored safely in the secure element of your iPhone – a special security chip that's used by Apple Pay. A one-time use dynamic security code is then generated with each transaction to ensure that the card can't be used without your authentication. This does protect you from fraudulent transactions but since the credit card number is shared with each transaction, third-party merchants will still be able to track your purchases and build a personalized advertising profile.
Privacy.com Virtual Cards create a unique credit number for each transaction which protects you from fraud. This unique credit card number also stops third-party merchants linking any purchases to you and prevents them from using this data to create a personalized advertising profile.
Blur Masked Cards take this data protection one step further by generating a one-time dynamic security code, credit card number, and expiry date for every transaction. You can also create a masked card billing address which further reduces the data that's shared with third-party merchants. In addition to this, any purchases that are made with Blur Masked Cards show up as Abine, Inc. on your statement which means your bank doesn't get any data on where you shop or what you buy.
Since all three cards offer some level of disposable information, they're all great for protecting your data when making online purchases. However, Blur Masked Cards are clearly the best of the three when it comes to minimizing the purchase data that's shared with your bank and third-party merchants.
Best data privacy: Apple Card
According to Apple, all the purchase data for Apple Card is stored on the device which means Apple doesn't know what you buy, where you buy, or how much you spend. None of your purchase data is stored on Apple's servers.
Blur does store some of your purchase data on its servers but it claims to encrypt any real credit card information and address information that you provide. Blur says that all data is encrypted with a locally generated backup passphrase that is never readable by its servers and this ensures that Blur cannot read any of your encrypted data. Blur also promises not to sell your personal data.
Privacy.com also stores some of your purchase data on its servers. The company says that it encrypts your personal data and promises not to sell any of your personal data. However, unlike Apple and Blur, Privacy.com says it can access and view your transaction data.
Apple Card is the only option where no purchase data is passed to company servers which makes it the clear winner in this category.
Best payment processor data privacy: Tie
Apple Card is issued by Goldman Sachs which has access to all your purchase data. However, Apple promises that Goldman Sachs will never share or sell your data to third parties for marketing.
Apple Card and Blur Masked Cards both use Mastercard for payment processing. There have been reports that Mastercard has data-sharing deals with companies such as Google so it's possible that the data Mastercard collects will be shared with advertisers when using either of these cards.
Privacy.com Virtual Cards use Visa for payment processing which means that Visa also keeps a record of all your purchases when using these virtual cards. Visa uses anonymized and aggregated customer spending, marketing reports, and other data products to enable companies to improve their marketing efforts so your data could also be shared for marketing purposes when using Privacy.com Virtual Cards.
The good news is that you can opt out of both Mastercard and Visa's data analytics programs.
Since both Mastercard and Visa use your purchase data for marketing by default, there is no clear winner here. The best way to protect your payment processing data is to opt out of these data analytics programs before making your first purchase with any of these credit cards.
Best choice of cards: Apple Card
Blur Masked Cards and Privacy.com Virtual Cards are digital only. Blur Masked Cards are provided by Mastercard and the Privacy.com Virtual Cards are provided by Visa so you can use them to shop for almost anything online. However, most offline merchants won't accept these digital cards.
With Apple Card, you automatically get a digital credit card when you sign up and you can also request a physical credit card for offline purchases. This physical credit card contains your name but does not display the card number, expiration date, or CVV number. This sensitive data can be accessed via the Wallet app on your iPhone when you need it.
Hiding the data within the Wallet app is a great security measure which ensures that your credit card details cannot be stolen if you lose the physical card. You can also freeze the physical card and get a new physical card at any time from within the Wallet app which gives you even more security when making offline purchases.
If you mainly purchase online, then all three virtual cards are fantastic options. However, if you want a card you can use for offline purchases, Apple Card is the winner.
Best biometric security: Apple Card
Biometric security is another great protective tool when making online purchases. It allows you to use biometric security features such as Face ID and Touch ID to protect your credit card details and prevent fraudulent transactions.
All three of these credit cards take advantage of biometric security features. Both Blur Masked Cards and Privacy.com Virtual Cards allow you to optionally protect your account with these biometric security features which reduces the chances of your credit cards on these services being used in a fraudulent manner. However, Apple Card has the most robust biometric security features.
When you make a purchase with Apple Card, you have to authorize that purchase with Face ID or Touch ID. This means that if someone gets hold of your Apple Card details and attempts to make fraudulent purchases online, you'll be notified and be able to block the transactions. Additionally, if someone gets hold of your phone, they still won't be able to make fraudulent purchases because the biometric security will prevent them from authorizing any transactions.
Since Apple Card uses biometric authentication on a transaction level rather than an account level, it gives you a much greater level of protection than Blur Masked Cards and Privacy.com Virtual Cards.
Best cross-platform support: Blur Masked Cards
Apple Card is currently only available to iPhone owners. It's possible that Apple Card may be rolled out to other hardware such as the Apple Watch in the future. However, given that the security features of Apple Card rely on Apple hardware, it's unlikely that Apple Card will roll out to non-Apple hardware any time soon.
Blur Masked Cards and Privacy.com Virtual Cards are available on a wide range of platforms. They both have iOS and Android apps and both cards also have browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox. In addition to this, Blur Masked Cards also have browser extensions for Safari and Opera.
Overall, both Blur Masked Cards and Privacy.com Virtual Cards are great cross-platform options but Blur Masked Cards just edge it as the best option in this category because of their wider range of browser extensions.
Best availability: Apple Card
Blur Masked Cards and Privacy.com Virtual Cards are currently only available to U.S. users. It has been this way for some time and neither company has announced plans to expand their services outside of the U.S.
Apple Card is not currently available but is coming to the U.S. in Summer 2019 and will be rolling out to other territories after this. Apple hasn't announced when the Apple Card will be coming to other territories but a top expert has predicted that it will be arriving in the UK by 2019.
Since Apple does have long-term plans to introduce the Apple Card in non-U.S. territories, it's the top credit card when it comes to availability.
While Apple is the winner in most categories, the best private credit card for online purchases will ultimately depend on your own preferences.
If you want to minimize the data that's shared with your bank and third-party merchants or you want a private credit card that doesn't require you to own an iPhone, Blur Masked Cards are the best choice.
However, if you want the maximum protection against fraud, plan to use the credit card to make some offline purchases, or you're located outside the United States, Apple Card is the winner.