Nike is the latest company to offer 3% cash back to Apple Card users, when they make an Apple Pay purchase using the card across Nike's retail platforms, including its stores, Nike.com, SNKRS, Nike Training Club, Nike Running Club and on the Nike app. The addition is one of what's still a small number of Apple Pay partners who are offering the top-tier cash back rate of 3% to cardholders -- a group that also includes Uber/Uber Eats, Walgreens/Duane Reade, and T-Mobile stores.
When first introduced, Apple had only said purchases from Apple itself would be rewarded with 3% back. Apple Pay transactions would be rewarded with 2% back and use of the physical card offered 1% back.
But when the card launched in August to customers in the U.S., Apple surprised everyone by expanding the 3% back to Uber and Ubers Eats, too, with promises of more to come.
Since then, Apple has been steadily expanding the number of retailers and apps that offer cash back to Apple Card users, giving Apple a larger foothold in online and mobile payments, as well as point-of-sale transactions. In October, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Pay transaction volume was bigger thabn PayPal and was growing 4 times as fast.
Apple's advances in this area have clearly shaken up the market, as Apple Pay rival PayPal last week announced its largest acquisition to date with a deal to buy browser maker Honey for $4 billion in mostly cash. PayPal plans to use Honey to get ahead of the checkout page by reaching customers as they're shopping online looking for deals and discovering new products. By capturing the customer at this earlier stage, PayPal can acquire the sale before the customer chooses to simply tap a button to pay with Apple Pay instead.
Nike is an obvious choice as the next Apple Card partner, given the two companies' close relationship over the years on products which ran from retail partnerships to co-branded products, like the Apple Watch Nike+ edition and Nike sports bands, for example. Nike also last year rolled out Nike+ app membership benefits that included free months of Apple Music, among other perks.
As an Apple Card partner, Nike customers who transact through Apple Pay with their card receive 3% Daily Cash. This is applied to the customer's Apple Cash Card, then can be used immediately for other Apple Pay purchases, sent to family and friends, or can be put towards the Apple Card balance.
Apple says more Apple Card partners will be added in the months ahead.