Apple Explores Greater Role in Consumer Financial Services

Apple is exploring various financial technologies for future products that would reduce the company’s reliance on third-party products over time, reports say. Payment processing, lender risk assessment, consumer credit reports, dispute mediation and fraud analysis are among the areas Apple is looking into, according to those who claim knowledge of the situation. The move would build Apple’s profile in a category that currently includes Apple Wallet, branded credit cards, peer-to-peer payments and a merchant app involving iPhones. As previously reported, Apple is also working a subscription hardware model and further enhancements to Apple Pay.

Apple is using the internal name “Breakout” — “underscoring the idea of breaking away from the existing financial system,” Bloomberg reports.

News sent shares of two Apple financial partners — CoreCard Corp. and Green Dot Corp. — down more than 10 percent last week, while a third partner, Goldman Sachs Group, saw shares dip slightly over 1 percent. “The Apple Card currently uses CoreCard as its core processor, overseeing the process of sending transaction details to a bank for approval,” notes Bloomberg.

The initiative represents what Bloomberg says is Apple’s “biggest foray yet into the world of finance,” noting “it may not be an easy task. Other technology companies, including Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, have taken on ambitious financial projects only to scale them back. That included Meta’s development of its own digital coin and Google’s plan for bank accounts.”

Apple has something of a first-mover advantage in that its Apple Pay service, launched in 2014, has since that time become a significant revenue-generator for the company, adding about $70 billion a year to the bottom line.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is also considering becoming a lender for “buy now pay later” services and the potential hardware subscription plan, writing that “few companies can match Apple’s financial resources.”

The company had “more than $200 billion in cash and marketable securities at the end of the last quarter and generated almost $95 billion in profit during the last fiscal year,” according to the Bloomberg report, which speculates that “if Apple were to become the financier, it would probably focus on fairly low transaction amounts — in the low hundreds of dollars.”

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