Innovation – Finance – Technology


Apple continues its push into everyday banking.

Following several advancements into every banking services Apple has announced that it will allow users in the UK to view their account balance in the Apple Wallet app.

 According to 9to5Mac, Apple is soft launching a new iPhone Wallet app integration today that is powered by the United Kingdom’s Open Banking API. The Wallet app will now be able to show the user’s current account balance from their bank, as well as a history of deposits and payments. The balances will also be shown inline when buying something with Apple Pay, helping users be more financially aware of whether they can responsibly afford the purchase.

This news comes shortly after the launch of Apple Savings earlier this year, which reportedly brought in as much as $990 million in deposits over its first four days. In addition to being able to deposit directly to the account, Apple offers cashback from all purchases performed through the Apple card (issued in collaboration with Goldman Sachs). By default, all purchases grant you 1% in cash rewards and 2% for all purchases made using Apple Pay. Purchases with select merchants unlock 3% in rewards. According to Apple, 97% of Savings customers have chosen to have their cashback rewards automatically deposited into their account, amounting to over 10 BUSD in deposits by August this year.

Although it seems like Apple will be able to laugh the entire way to the bank, not everyone is sharing their joy. Goldman Sachs seems to be hemorrhaging money from the partnership with Apple, and is rumored to actively pursuing ways to terminate the partnership. However, The Information reports potential partners such as American Express and JP Morgan Chase remain skeptical of providing the rails needed to deliver financial services, effectively signing off the customer relationship to Apple. At the same time, Bloomberg reports that Apple has embarked on a multi-year plan, called ‘Breakout’, that would see it do payment processing, loan risk assessments, fraud analysis, credit checks, and customer service work on its own.

Building on the acquisitions of Credit Kudos and Mobeewave, Apple is lining up the pieces to establish a financial ecosystem of its own. It remains to see how far Apple will venture into this territory, but a glance at how Square is redefining everyday banking services through its ecosystem, combined with the ability to bypass existing infrastructure by closing the loop on payment processing and strengthened position as a mobile wallet provider shows the potential implications for incumbents.

Apple already has a unique grasp of the customer interface through their hardware, and allowing users to check their account balance is likely to strengthen that customer relationship, while at the same time moving customer attention away from the banks’ own mobile channels. Just like the smartphone made the compact digital camera irrelevant, why should users bother to log in to their mobile banking apps to check their account balances when it is available directly in their mobile wallets?

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