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North America Paytech Spotlight

Apple Breaks Into the World of Fintech With Savings Account for Apple Card Holders

In October 2022, tech giant Apple announced it was partnering with Goldman Sachs, the investment banking firm, to launch Apple Savings account for Apple Card holders. Six months later, Apple has launched the product with a 4.15 per cent interest rate. 

Apple Card holders can now enhance their Daily Cash, a cashback feature, when making purchases online. When customers pay with their Apple Card, they get cash back on all purchases. The money is then directed into their Apple Savings account.

However, the amount that is returned can vary. By default, all purchases will grant the buyer one per cent in cash rewards and two per cent for all purchases made using Apple Pay. Purchases with select merchants will provide three per cent cashback. The Daily Cash destination can be changed at any time, and there’s no limit on how much Daily Cash users can earn.

Instant gratification

Why is this a step in the right direction for Apple? It shows it is aware of what consumers want. When speaking to Forbes, Ryan Wuerch, c

In fact, of 19,000 users surveyed about their shopping behaviour by Dosh, a cashback app, 82 per cent said they prioritise special promotions, discounts or cash back when choosing where they’ll shop.

With no limit on how many rewards can be claimed, and being able to instantly see the rewards in the savings account, Apple has broken into the fintech market in a strong way.

Getting involved

As of publication, the service is only available in the US. Users must be 18 or over, be the owner or co-owner of an Apple Card, have a social security number and use two-factor authentication for their Apple ID in order to use the account. As this is an Apple exclusive product, they must also own an Apple iPhone or iOS device.

Due to the partnership with Goldman Sachs, balances are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

“Savings helps our users get even more value out of their favourite Apple Card benefit Daily Cash. All the while, it provides them with an easy way to save money every day,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. “Our goal is to build tools that help users lead healthier financial lives. Building Savings into Apple Card in Wallet enables them to spend, send, and save Daily Cash directly and seamlessly — all from one place.”

This is only the beginning for Apple as it makes moves in the fintech sphere. Any company that wants to survive and grow in the modern world must have a financial or payment offering of some sort. At least, these are the views of Elon Musk as he has stated his intent for Twitter to become the everything app.

Industry response

Reaching out to the industry for its response, we heard from Andy Nelson, head of banking and financial markets at NTT DATA UK&I, a global innovator and Ralph Dangelmaier, global CEO of paytech BlueSnap. Both agreed that big tech companies offering financial services is something we can further expect. Especially with the growth of embedded banking.

The first domino to fall in entering the payments market
Andy Nelson, head of banking and financial markets at NTT DATA UK&I
Andy Nelson, head of banking and financial markets at NTT DATA UK&I

Nelson said: “Apple’s move to launch a competitive savings account represents just another step in its banking journey. First launched in 2014, Apple Pay was its first significant step into the financial sector. It revolutionised the way iPhone users made payments. Then, in 2019, Apple released its first credit card, making even more of an inroad into the industry.

“However, Apple isn’t the only big tech player making headway in the banking sector. Amazon also launched a Prime Discount credit card back in 2017. The push into the sector is only going to increase, with the tech giants looking to establish themselves as competitive forces in the market.

“These are organisations with huge financial backing, as well as a background in providing smooth and sleek customer experiences. Most importantly, they are willing to rely on technology and innovate to transform customer services and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

“Historically established banks would do well to take these new entries to the banking industry seriously. They should take a look at their services as well, to ensure they are providing the best services and offers to deter customers from defecting to these new market entrants. Improving the customer experience and having a tailored digital finance offering is one way of maintaining customer loyalty. Banks will need to continue to innovate to keep pace with these new challengers.”

Tapping into embedded bankinig
Ralph Dangelmaier, global CEO of BlueSnap
Ralph Dangelmaier, global CEO of BlueSnap

Dangelmaier said: “People are misunderstanding the Apple Savings account announcement.  This is actually a great example of the new embedded banking innovation happening across the industry. Non-financial tech and software companies (like Apple) are providing access to traditional banking products like a savings account from financial institutions (Goldman Sachs).

“The fact that people are mistaking who is offering the savings account is a sure sign that embedded banking is taking hold. Apple Card owners and co-owners can easily and seamlessly open a Goldman Sachs savings account from within their Apple wallet. Then, Apple Cash is instantly deposited into that savings account.

“This is a far cry from walking into a bank branch. Or alternatively, opening an account online on a bank website, then manually typing in the account number and routing number into an app. It is all about convenience, ease and trust.

“This is an extension of what we see in the software industry with embedded payments. There software platforms are embedding payments into their software.  Customers sign up for the software and the payments together in a seamless onboarding.  When software platforms embed payments they see higher retention, higher revenue and increased value per customer.

“While embedded payments is still the lion’s share of the embedded space – we see examples of embedded banking. The Apple and Goldman Sachs announcement is a great example. It shows it is gaining momentum and showing a lot of promise.”

Author

  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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