Apple’s plan to transform the world of credit cards in the image of Apple Card seems to have progressed further than anyone might have thought, thanks to a top-secret project with Mastercard…
The news is that Apple, Goldman Sachs and Mastercard have been quietly working together to make similar technologies available for use by other card issuers.
Payments Source claims the project has been ongoing for 18-months and means banks will be able to use Mastercard’s system to offer digital-only cards.
Managed using apps, these will supplemented by physical versions that – like Apple Card – dispense with CVC and PAN numbers and carry no user information.
This doesn’t mean every bank will introduce such cards, but those who do choose to do so will get to begin doing so in six months’ time, the report claims.
Unique selling points
That every card issuer will eventually offer these app-savvy digital cards was never in much doubt. The success of these things from digital fintech challengers such as Revolut make such moves inevitable.
Mastercard’s decision to develop digital technologies to enable card issuers to introduce Apple Pay-like credit cards means the focus for card issuers will also change.
It won’t just be about reward schemes and card design, app integration, engaging tools and useful add-on services will all see rapid evolution as card issuers, including Apple, seek to develop unique sales propositions to tempt target markets.
Within that context, Apple’s software development skills, passionate user base and market size constitute significant advantage.
Apple will inevitably focus on app integration and related services built around its Apple Card provision, and this makes it highly probable the company will now seek other financial offers in which its technologies can be used to innovate customer relationships and delivery.
Health, insurance, savings vehicles and payment services (Apple Pay Cash) seem to be reasonable areas for future experiment and expansion.
That focus on health could even see the company pivot into other emerging industries – concierge services, coworking spaces, even health clubs.
Apple has the cash to invest billions in steady expansion of its retail spaces, so it certainly has the potential to reinvent what those retail spaces actually do – enhancing its FAANG-war survivability while it does.
Down to earth
What’s happening in this phase of the digital transformation of everyday life is that almost every element is becoming part of the gig economy.
Airbnb, Uber and ride-sharing schemes illustrate the way many products and services will soon be made available.
Want to secure office space, communication and collaboration facilities, provision and deploy managed digital mobile numbers to a global network of employees and create a payroll, accounting and financial services to support the company you create?
There will be an app for that.
This is the kind of fundamental shift in how we live that Apple and others have both enabled through development of the core technologies underpinning such changes and also hope to profit from by offering hardware, software and services designed to feed the needs of that change.
Watch the puck
This may seem like quite a lot of prediction to make on the back of the Apple, Goldman Sachs, Mastercard Apple Card tech project, but if you aren’t already looking to where the puck is going then you’ve probably already lost the game.
What makes this more interesting is that Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, first began visualizing an Apple-branded credit card back in 2004.
Former Apple creative director Ken Segall revealed this in early 2019, claiming Jobs’ vision would reward card users with iPoints, which could be spent on iTunes tracks.
15-years later, Apple rewards Apple Card users with 3% cashback when purchasing Apple hardware, products or services. Eventually it seems possible the cash back on your Apple product purchases will become a means of exchange for your next ride in your friendly neighbourhood Apple Car.
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