I never used the Apple wallet until recently. Reason being that I didn’t need to. Then the pandemic hit, and I wanted to avoid using cash, so all of my cards that would work with Apple loaded into the phone. Interestingly some cards would not load but hey, contactless and cardless is the way.
Then I noticed Apple are pretty clever – who would have thought? They teamed up with Goldman Sachs ages ago to launch a credit card and have offered payments for years. But now the game is changing. In fact, Apple might even drop Goldman Sachs, according to some sources, because the company is building its own financial structure. It is focused on payments and credit, not full-service banking (yet), but it gets interesting when you see that they have acquired a firm like Credit Kudos and partnered with Stripe and Adyen. What’s going on?
Well, let’s look at those two key events in first quarter 2022.
Credit Kudos, a UK firm that uses bank data to help businesses to make lending decisions, is an interesting move. It implies that Apple wants to move into the credit marketplace more. And then the tie-up with Stripe and Adyen is all about making payments simpler through Tap to Pay, a contactless way of paying that could wipe out Square.
In looking between the lines, the company is slowly building itself into a fintech powerhouse and doing all the things that banks don’t do. For example, did I mention that some of my bank cards won’t work on Apple Pay? Did I notice that buying a payments terminal from Square, PayPal, SumUp or iZettle is a bit annoying?
In other words, Apple is looking at the whole end-to-end ecosystem of payments and credit and expanding their footprint. They offer a co-branded credit card, peer-to-peer payments, a digital Wallet and the ability for merchants to accept payments from an iPhone. Where will they go next?
Personally, I have always believed that big tech firms like Amazon and Apple will never offer full-deposit banking services, but I’ve also always believed they will nibble away at the areas of banking where they can make a buck. Payments, credit, savings, investments. It’s not banking, but it’s the tertiary parts of banking that they can make smoother, easier and better through tech.
And the biggest difference between Apple and the other big tech guys is that they’ve made a big play about privacy. Quoting from Apple’s website:
Privacy is a fundamental human right. At Apple, it’s also one of our core values. Your devices are important to so many parts of your life. What you share from those experiences, and whom you share it with, should be up to you.
They made their position clear when, in 2016, the FBI demanded that Apple unlock the iPhone of the murderer Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani at the San Bernadino shooting. They would not. It was eventually resolved when a hacking firm, Azimuth Security, unlocked the phone. Since then, Apple has been working hard to ensure that privacy and security are key to their users and that they can be trusted to protect their data.
Now, when you think about this, expanding Apple’s services into all areas of finance with bullet-proof security. Well, there’s an offer I couldn’t refuse.