Apple is ramping up a test of a digital-first credit card with Goldman Sachs Group by expanding its use to tens of thousands of the iPhone maker’s U.S. retail employees.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company this week launched an internal beta program for the Apple Card with its retail workers, according to people familiar with the initiative.
The move marks the first major trial for the card, which has been used for several weeks by a far smaller set of Apple corporate and Goldman employees.
Apple has about 70,000 retail employees globally and more than half its locations are in the United States.
The test with employees provides Apple an opportunity to work out the kinks with the credit card before it hits the wallets of consumers.
While Apple has thousands of retail employees, the internal group still provides a controlled testing environment. Apple has asked employees not to discuss the card, although they are allowed to use it publicly to make purchases.
The co-branded partnership integrates the card digitally with the iPhone and gives users higher cash back on Apple purchases and all transactions via Apple Pay.
Goldman handles payment processing, credit obligations, disputes and customer services.
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Apple showed off a physical card with a sleek metal design when the company introduced it earlier this year.
Apple sees the card as another way to help keep customers attached to the company’s hardware and drive its expanding services revenue. For Goldman, the product provides the company with a consumer-focused offering tied to a popular company brand.
The credit card is scheduled to launch first in the United States in the next few months.