How Apple Card Leverages Consumer Behavior Insights

Using consumer intelligence from Infegy Atlas to detect credit risk

Henry Chapman, Research and Insights Analyst


Goldman Sachs introduces Apple Card

Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, traditionally services business and commercial interests. Most of their business comes from the traditional mergers and acquisitions associated with an investment bank.

Looking to expand their business, David Solomon, Goldman’s CEO, pushed an expansion to a consumer credit product. In February 2019, Goldman partnered with Apple to launch Apple Card. Apple Card is a credit card aimed at consumers integrated with Apple’s hardware and software.

Apple stresses accessibility for Apple Card

When Apple Card launched, Apple pushed Goldman to make the product as accessible as possible. The goal was to avoid alienating potential customers “simply” due to their lower credit scores. Apple even launched a “Path to Apple Card” which is a program to walk with applicants who previously got denied.

When Apple Card launched, people with checkered credit histories were being approved. This raised eyebrows in the financial sector.

Apple stresses accessibility for Apple Card
Image 1: MacRumors article advertising Apple’s Path to Apple Card program for people who were originally denied

Surge of intent when announced

Because Goldman and Apple targeted the Apple Card towards the general consumer, regardless of income bracket, there was large mainstream interest in Apple Card. Social media intelligence from Infegy Atlas detected that the Intent emotion made up 46% of users posts when discussing Apple Card. This suggested that a wide user base was keen on applying for it.

That intent converted into card signups. Apple Card is now Goldman’s largest consumer credit product and makes up a majority of their consumer credit accounts. It is now one of the largest growing sectors of their business.

Image 2 - Intent Scoring Graph-1
Image 2: Infegy Atlas Intent graph showing a surge of users discussing their intent to sign up for an Apple Card after it was announced.

Unqualified applicants approved

Many of these card applicants did not have the requisite credit scores, but were accepted anyway. Infegy Atlas detected a surge of posts around people boasting about being accepted as an Apple Card borrower, despite lying on their application. Posts show them boasting about their new found spending power or talking about how they were going to use the card responsibly.

Image 3 - Sample post 1
Image 4 - Sample Posts 2
Image 3: A collection of posts sourced from Infegy Atlas showing Apple Card customers posting about potentially irresponsible card use.

Apple Card’s risk level over time

Our consumer intelligence platform aggregated hundreds of thousands of these initial posts to show that our Risk indicator rose 486% from May 2022 through August 2022. Risk could indicate a borrower’s lack of ability to pay off a card or increased danger around that credit product.

Image 5 - Apple Card Risk Level
Image 4: Infegy Atlas Risk graph shows a surge of risk posts around time of publication.

Other Infegy data points to increased risk

Infegy Atlas aggregated most popular hashtags associated with Apple Card. We found that a large percentage of hashtags related to terms like #creditrepair, #fixyourcredit, or #creditrestoration. This suggests that the applicant that is posting about the Apple Card is likely to have issues with their credit, and thus be a less than prime applicant for a bank.

Image 6 - Apple Card Topics-1
Image 5: Infegy Atlas hashtags showing how credit repair services often appear when users mention Apple Card.

Goldman reports high default rate

These factors have conflated and resulted in a 200% higher default rate for Goldman’s Apple Card, when compared to other similar credit products. As per CNBC’s reporting, these rates are troubling, especially concerning the economic uncertainty in the country with high inflation and rising interest rates. As interest rates continue to rise, debt-laden consumers will feel more pressure.

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