How to opt out of Apple Card arbitration (and why you should)

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Opting out of Apple Card Arbitration is easy.
Opting out of Apple Card arbitration is easy.
Photo: Apple

The Apple Card is now potentially available to anyone in the U.S., so you’ll soon be able to use your (tough titanium) credit card to defeat locks, scrape paint, and open beer bottles. But it’s not all good news. Your Apple Card contract includes something called arbitration, and that’s a very bad thing. The silver lining is that you can easily opt out. Here’s how to opt out of Apple Card arbitration, and why you definitely should.

What is credit card arbitration?

If you ever have a problem with Apple Card provider Goldman Sachs, the arbitration clause means you can’t sue the bank. Nor can you take part in any class-action lawsuit. Arbitration means you waive the right to take the company to court. Any disputes will be settled by a supposedly neutral third party instead.

The effect for you, the customer, is that you lose many of your rights. Here’s a summary of the differences between arbitration and court, published by Creditcards.com (emphasis added).

In court, rules of evidence govern the process, and people who feel they were wronged can compel corporations to provide copies of confidential documents. Cases may be heard by a jury, and decisions can be appealed to a higher court.

In arbitration, the arbitrator has more latitude to decide what evidence to consider, and may not be bound by consumer protection law. Decisions are generally not open to appeal, although some card agreements provide for a review by a panel of arbitrators. Consumers can represent themselves or hire an attorney, although relatively few lawyers will take arbitration cases.

How to opt out of Apple Card arbitration

It all sounds terrible, right? Why on Earth would you voluntarily waive your rights like this? There is precisely zero advantage to you, the customer, while the credit card company gets to skirt consumer law, avoid court costs, and also dodge any pesky court precedents that might result in future litigation.

The answer is to opt out. And this is dead easy. Just open up the Wallet app on your iPhone, tap the Apple Card, then tap the three dot icon at the top right. Next, tap Message, and you’ll find yourself in a business message conversation with Goldman Sachs. Just write them a message asking to opt out of arbitration. Whoever gets this message will then take care of it for you.

There are other ways to do this:

  • Call Apple on 877-255-5923
  • Send an old-school paper letter to Lockbox 6112, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia, PA 19170-6112 asking to opt out.

But clearly the iMessage method is easiest and quickest way to decline Apple Card arbitration.

About your other credit cards …

If you didn’t know about arbitration before, you should probably take the time to opt out on any other cards you may have. The precise method depends on your card provider, and some cards don’t have arbitration clauses.

Also, it may be too late. If you’ve been using a card with an arbitration clause in the contract for a while, you may have passed the period in which it is possible to opt out. You’ll have to do some checking. Better still, retire all those accounts, and only use non-arbitrated cards in future.