The Apple Card, which dropped last week, is clearly going to be another tech status symbol. As such, it’s already been widely mocked for its titanium finish and equally flashy accessories (not only does it come with a microfibre cloth, a specialist wooden case for the card is currently retailing at $139), but it’s also being eyed dubiously by those in the adult industry.
The new fintech product “completely rethinks everything” about the credit card with “simplicity, transparency and privacy” at its core.
Apple has collaborated with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to launch the product, to function as the issuing bank and payment network respectively. It’s the first time Goldman Sachs has acted as an issuing bank for a credit card (adding to the Apple Card’s swank factor).
There are some nifty budget-planning features integrated in Apple Pay – which the card links up with – that are similar to that of other fintech services, such as Mint or Monzo. These are designed to help users track their spending and easily analyze statements.
The data obtained from these features will not be stored on Apple’s servers, but locally on devices instead, the company says.
The Apple Card also includes Apple Pay’s security features (Face ID, Touch ID, and unique transaction codes) built in.
While Apple promises this – along with the card featuring no numbers – means “a whole new level of security” for the credit product, we’re not entirely convinced that it will mean the same things for those working in sex-related fields.
Apple’s history with sex
The App Store is notoriously anti-sex, which is – among other things, and like other Big Tech firms – down to pleasing its shareholders. In 2016, it blocked an interactive app simulating female orgasm, despite it not being explicitly erotic in any way.
In the same year, the App Store rejected a simple app designed to help people adhere to Instagram’s strict nudity rules, saying the content was “sexually explicit” (the cover-up illustrations were of cartoon-like nipples).
So, why might this be red light for adult industry and sex workers?
Well, while Apple has said it won’t have access to any user transaction data, Goldman Sachs will (which is standard procedure for issuing banks to access user data, in order to prevent fraud and analyze trends). However, the bank promises to not sell your data to third parties, which is a nice bonus.
There has been no such promise to keep your data secret by the payment network, Mastercard, and Apple hadn’t responded to Wired when it put this question to the tech firm at the time of writing.
John Drechny, CEO of finance industry group Merchant Advisory Group, told Wired: “In general, for all merchants this is going to be treated as another Mastercard transaction and it’s going to follow all of those rules. And if merchants accept the card online they’re still going to have the same liability arrangement with the payment network. I don’t believe it will be any different than a normal co-branded deal.”
So while those working in the adult industries may be keen to try out the new payment method, don’t expect your credit check to be plain sailing if Apple’s previous stance on sex is anything to go by.