Interview with MultiBank Philippines CEO Mark Mangulabnan ...

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
submitted by fuzzyblankeet to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Chance Me: CS Major

Reposting because I didn't get input last time.
Demographics: Indian. Male. From ProspeFrisco Texas. Middle/Upper class area. I would say my high school is very competitive.
Intended Major(s): Computer Science
ACT/SAT/SAT II: SAT: Have not taken a real test. I have taken three practice test all resulted 1440+. Prepping for 1500+, but consider my score to be a flat 1400 for now.
UW GPA and Rank: UW: 3.981 Rank: 12/979
Coursework:
Freshmen Year:
- Honors French 1 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- HonoGT Geometry (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors Computer Science 1
- Honors Biology (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Human (Highest Level that year available to me ) (4)
- Honors English 1 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Outdoor Education (Required)
- Digital Art and Animation (Required)
Sophomore Year:
- Honors English 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors French 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Computer Science A (Highest Level that year available to me ) (5)
- AP Computer Science Principles (Highest Level that year available to me ) (4)
- AP World History (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Biology (Highest Level that year available to me ) (3) <-- Not sending this score
- Honors Chemistry (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors Algebra 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Academic Level Architecture (Highest Level that year available to me )
Junior Year:
- AP English 3 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Independent Studies in Video Games (AP Level but not AP) (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors UIL Math Prep
- Ap Physics 1 (Highest Level that year available to me ) (5)
- Academic Level US History
- AP Chemistry (Highest Level that year available to me ) (4)
- AP Environmental (Highest Level that year available to me ) (5)
- Honors Pre-Cal (Highest Level that year available to me )
Senior Year (will take upcoming year):
- Honors Computer Science 3 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors Computer Science 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP English 4 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Gov/Econ (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Physics C (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Calc BC (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Stats (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Still Deciding but not AP for sure.
Awards:
- Adobe Certified Associate - Visual Design using Adobe Photoshop CC2015
- Aloha Math Competition Certificate.
- UIL Math Competition Certificate.
- Multiple Student of the month award
Extracurriculars:
Essays/LORs:
Essays, I have not started.
Letter of Rec: I have three incoming from my teachers. English/CounseloComputer Science/ Math (waiting for response)
Schools:
- MIT,
- Brown University
- Caltech
- Carnegie Mellon
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Duke University
- Georgia Institute
- Hamilton
- Harvard University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Princeton University
- Purdue University
- Rice University
- Stanford
- UMich
- UT Austin
- UT Dallas
- Texas A&M
- UC Berkley
submitted by goyalyug000 to chanceme [link] [comments]

What are my chances?

Demographics: Indian. Male. From ProspeFrisco Texas. Middle/Upper class area. I would say my high school is very competitive.
Intended Major(s): Computer Science
ACT/SAT/SAT II: SAT: Have not taken a real test. I have taken three practice test all resulted 1440+. Prepping for 1500+, but consider my score to be a flat 1400 for now.
UW GPA and Rank: UW: 3.981 Rank: 12/979
Coursework:
Freshmen Year:
- Honors French 1 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- HonoGT Geometry (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors Computer Science 1
- Honors Biology (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Human (Highest Level that year available to me ) (4)
- Honors English 1 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Outdoor Education (Required)
- Digital Art and Animation (Required)
Sophomore Year:
- Honors English 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors French 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Computer Science A (Highest Level that year available to me ) (5)
- AP Computer Science Principles (Highest Level that year available to me ) (4)
- AP World History (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Biology (Highest Level that year available to me ) (3) <-- Not sending this score
- Honors Chemistry (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors Algebra 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Academic Level Architecture (Highest Level that year available to me )
Junior Year:
- AP English 3 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Independent Studies in Video Games (AP Level but not AP) (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors UIL Math Prep
- Ap Physics 1 (Highest Level that year available to me ) (5)
- Academic Level US History
- AP Chemistry (Highest Level that year available to me ) (4)
- AP Environmental (Highest Level that year available to me ) (5)
- Honors Pre-Cal (Highest Level that year available to me )
Senior Year (will take upcoming year):
- Honors Computer Science 3 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Honors Computer Science 2 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP English 4 (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Gov/Econ (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Physics C (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Calc BC (Highest Level that year available to me )
- AP Stats (Highest Level that year available to me )
- Still Deciding but not AP for sure.

Awards:
- Adobe Certified Associate - Visual Design using Adobe Photoshop CC2015
- Aloha Math Competition Certificate.
- UIL Math Competition Certificate.
- Multiple Student of the month award
Extracurriculars:
Essays/LORs:
Essays, I have not started.
Letter of Rec: I have three incoming from my teachers. English/CounseloComputer Science/ Math (waiting for response)
Schools:
- MIT,
- Brown University
- Caltech
- Carnegie Mellon
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Duke University
- Georgia Institute
- Hamilton
- Harvard University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Princeton University
- Purdue University
- Rice University
- Stanford
- UMich
- UT Austin
- UT Dallas
- Texas A&M
- UC Berkley
submitted by goyalyug000 to chanceme [link] [comments]

Indian Financial Sector

In a bid to deal with stress in NBFC sector, guidelines will be issued soon for PSBs to take over pooled assets of NBFCs, a finance ministry official said. "Both Department of Economic Affairs, and Financial Services are in consultation. The eligibility norms for takeover should be out this week or latest by next week," the official said.
The RBI will come out with a mobile application to help visually challenged people in identifying currency notes. The RBI said that identification of banknote denomination is key to successful completion of cash-based transactions by visually impaired persons.
-Business Line
SBI Payment Services Pvt Ltd (SBIPSPL) is planning to double the number of point-of-sale (PoS) units deployed by it to 1.2 million by 2021- 22 (FY 22). This is part of the Co’s strategy to be a key player in the Centre’s ambitious plan to increase the number of PoS terminals across the country.
-Business Standard
Led by LIC, life insurers’ collective new premium income jumped 94% to ₹32,241.33 crore in June this year, according to data from IRDAI. All the 24 life insurers had written new gross premium of ₹16,611.57 in the same month a year ago.
-Business Line
Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) reported a huge standalone net loss of Rs 2223 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2019 against a net profit of Rs 134 crore in the year ago quarter.
-Business Line
Dewan Housing Finance Corp Ltd (DHFL), warned that its financial situation was so grim that it may not survive. The Co said it was "undergoing substantial financial stress" and its ability to raise funds was "substantially impaired and the business has been brought to a standstill with there being minimal/virtually no disbursements."
-Economic Times
Thomas Cook has refuted allegations that an investigation is underway concerning its forex business breaching the Rs 14.7 crore foreign exchange reserve mark at the Cochin International Airport. As per media reports, the Air Customs Intelligence department had initiated an enquiry against Thomas Cook and had written to the RBI demanding cancellation of the Co's license after an alleged 'misappropriation' occurred while granting foreign exchange to foreign nationals at the Cochin International Airport.
-Economic Times
9 of the 10 most valued firms suffered a combined erosion of ₹ 88,609.87 crore in market valuation last week, with HDFC Bank and TCS taking the biggest knock. Reliance Industries Ltd was the lone gainer among the top-10 frontline companies, adding ₹ 11,415.21 crore to its market capitalisation (m-cap) for the week ended Friday to reach ₹ 8,11,782.20 crore. On the other hand, HDFC Bank’s valuation plummeted ₹ 22,395.4 crore to ₹ 6,54,084.95 crore. The valuation of SBI tanked ₹ 6,291.85 crore to ₹ 3,24,454.25 crore and that of ICICI Bank dropped ₹ 5,925.68 crore to ₹ 2,75,568.83 crore.
-Business Line
 -#140719 
submitted by venuangamaly to indianews [link] [comments]

Apple Card Review: A (Mostly) Rewarding Way to Pay

I spent a few days hopping around New York City last week, trying to keep my wallet in my pocket. It wasn’t that I was on a tight budget. But I was testing the Apple Card, the new credit card from Apple, and according to its reward program, that’s the most lucrative way to shop.
Introduced back in March, the Apple Card is now generally available to anyone with an Apple mobile device who wants to apply.
If you use the Apple Card via the wireless, contactless Apple Pay system that is becoming increasingly popular with iPhone owners and businesses alike, you get a fairly generous return on every purchase of 2% cash back, no strings attached. That’s a bonus which lines up with the best credit cards around, from major issuers like JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.
So when I grabbed a cup of coffee and a cookie at a cute bakery on the Upper West Side, for example, paying with the Apple Card through my iPhone earned me an almost immediate refund of 11 cents on my $5.63 purchase. (The cookie was good, too.) Later, after traipsing around on a hot summer day, I picked up a $2.87 bottle of water at CVS, also using wireless Apple Pay. Along with the hydration, I scored 6 cents cash back.
A big difference between this credit card and its competition is that unlike other rebate cards, the Apple Card’s cash reward appears almost immediately after the purchase is processed. To access these funds, you simply open the Wallet app on your iPhone, which is the home of Apple Card itself, showing your current balance, recent transactions, and other info updated in almost real time. The Wallet app also displays your “Daily Cash Balance.” These funds can be spent like a debit card on purchases using the digital Apple Pay Cash card, sent to a friend via Apple Pay, or even used to partially pay off the balance on your Apple Card.
There’s another, better benefit to using the Apple Card: Paying for purchases from Apple using the digital credit card earns 3% cash back. For example, my family’s $5 per month _New York Times_cooking app subscription now brings back 15 cents each month. And the $120 a year I pay for a family iCloud storage plan earns $3.60 in rewards. And if I decide finally to upgrade my aging MacBook Pro with the rumored 16-inch model coming later this year (please revamp the keyboard, Apple!), the cash back perk will be even more substantial—$90 on a $3,000 purchase, for example. There’s no other way to get such high rebates on purchases directly from Apple (though some cards affiliated with retailers like Target and Amazon will give 5%, if you’re buying Apple hardware sold at those outlets).

Taking a swipe at other cards

When using the Apple Card at establishments that aren’t set up for app-enabled, contactless payments, things get markedly less magical. To start, you have to pull the (admittedly cool looking white, titanium) Apple Card out of your wallet—and that can be a drag. Then, the rebates drop to just 1%, lagging competing cards.
A fair counterpoint, however, to the meager 1% cash back on physical card swipes is that Apple also forgoes fees that other cards charge. Apple Card has no annual, over-limit, late, or foreign exchange fees. And that’s great, because those can add up. For instance, imagine if I spent $1,000 over the course of a month on a competing card to get $20 cash back, instead of the $10 I’d get from swiping my Apple Card. Every other credit card I know of charges late fees—and one $35 late fee would quickly wipe out that $20 cash back reward, and then some. Foreign exchange fees can also add up quickly (though there are other credit cards, particularly those affiliated with airline rewards programs, that also forgo forex fees).
Assessing whether the Apple Card makes financial sense for you, therefore, requires making assumptions about how much you spend with Apple (including all your iTunes purchases and subscriptions), how often you’re able to use mobile payments, and how often you typically trigger the fees that Apple doesn’t charge.
For me, it certainly makes sense for all my Apple purchases and when I’m paying via mobile. But Apple also just added Uber as 3% rebate partner—a perk for its cardholders—and future partnerships like this could make the Apple Card more attractive at more businesses.
Even when you’re not rebate hunting or avoiding fees, the Apple Card feels like a futuristic, if long overdue upgrade to spending on plastic in the 21st century.
The application process, within the Wallet app on an iPhone or iPad, takes just a few minutes and, if you’re approved, the card is added as an option in Apple Pay immediately. The white, titanium physical card is optional, but came via FedEx within a few days after I requested one. Activating the card was as simple as holding it near my phone with the Wallet app open.
Every transaction quickly appears listed in the Wallet app on my iPhone, with a categorization (like “transportation” or “food and drink”) along with the rate of cash back I received (3% for spending with Apple, 2% for mobile payments, and 1% for everything else). Tap on any transaction, and Apple shows on a map exactly where you made the purchase. For some stores, like that CVS where I got the water, there’s even a deeper link, with all kinds of info about the business, like the phone number, hours of operation, and customer reviews. Apps for my other credit and bank cards aren’t nearly so nimble.
With a couple of teenagers out in the wild using our family credit card, it can be hard to identify who spent what where, with the typically meager information provided by the credit card company, so the geo-location info is fantastic. Of course, I can’t yet opt to switch the whole family to the Apple card—there’s no option yet to add additional cardholders to my account (a feature available with every other card I’m aware of).
Another potential perk: Apple has committed to not share cardholders’ spending data with marketers, a promise partner Goldman Sachs has also agreed to.
But there is a downside to that privacy policy. As a result of refusing to share data, information that goes into the Apple Card doesn’t come out. That means there’s no way to see it on the web or share it with other financial apps, like Mint or Personal Capital, that can help you budget and track spending across multiple bank and credit card accounts. There also doesn’t appear to be any way to generate an annual report, a helpful tool for tax preparation, though Apple could always add that feature later.
Another thing that could be added to the Apple Card later is discoloration, apparently. A close reading of the card’s care instructions has prompted concern that its white, titanium material may lose its luster when housed in leather wallets, or after rubbing against other cards. But after my initial week of Apple Card use—mostly through the app, which provides the best incentives—I can report that my “plastic” remains pristine.
With version 1.0 of the Apple Card, it’s a little hard to square the product with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s assertion of “the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years.” But for people who spend a lot with Apple, it’s a solid addition to your wallet—at least your mobile one.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—[A rare tech company where women dominate
](https://fortune.com/2019/08/21/thirdlove-tech-diversity-women/)—Walmart CEO: VR training helped save lives in the El Paso shooting
—Can Apple afford to make its streaming video service free?
—How to compete with technology in the [age of automation
](https://fortune.com/2019/08/18/job-replaced-by-automation-artificial-intelligence-ai/)—[Disney’s streaming service](https://fortune.com/2019/08/19/disney-streaming-service/) won’t be available on the most popular streaming devices
Catch up with Data Sheet, _Fortune_‘s daily digest on the business of tech.
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