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Apple sent waves across the fintech landscape last month with the launch of its new savings account, which saw deposits reach nearly $1bn over the first 4 days. Savings are not the only aspect of Apple’s new strategy, but a high-yield savings account is certainly one way to take on the banks head on as savings are one of the largest sources of capital for the legacy banks. Apple’s other financial services include credit cards, instalment loans, mobile and contactless payments, Apple’s fintech ecosystem today poses a growing threat to all those businesses in main stream financial services. And this at a time when some of the medium sized banks in the US are falling by the wayside.

Which is not to say that Apple started yesterday, it moved into fintech almost a decade ago, when it launched Apple Pay in 2014. It followed that up with Apple Card in 2019. These set the foundation of Apple’s fintech strategy, but partnerships have played a vital role in expanding the scope of its offerings. Apple’s partnerships have targeted banks, buy now, pay later (BNPL) players, card issuers, payment gateways, and spend management platforms, allowing the company to add new products into its fintech ecosystem while growing its client base through integrations. For example: Apple has focused on partnerships with spend management and AR/AP solutions like Payhawk, SAP Ariba and Sage to meet small businesses’ growing demand for secure and contactless payments; and has partnered with ZestMoney in 2020 and Affirm  in 2021 to offer BNPL for Apple device purchases in India and Canada, respectively. However, it decided to bring the services in-house when it rolled out ‘Apple Pay Later’ in the US earlier this year.

Google faces an investigation in Germany by the Bundeskartellamt,(Federal Cartel Office – FCO), which has been studying Google’s T&Cs for processing user data since 2021. At issue is how Google collects and connects user data across multiple services — and whether it offers users sufficient choice over its profiling of them for advertising targeting. The antitrust regulator argues that a lack of choice for consumers can negatively affect competition. The FCO has now issued a preliminary statement of objections over its data processing terms and said that it is currently planning to require the tech giant to provide users with more choice over what it does with their information.

Alastair Tempest

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