Brits have been wondering when we might see a UK Apple Card ever since the US launch back in 2019. A new report today suggests that the company may now be preparing the ground.

Apple has acquired a UK startup company which takes a new approach to assessing the credit-worthiness of finance applicants …

The Block reports.

Credit Kudos, a UK open banking startup that helps lenders make better decisions, has been acquired by US tech giant Apple.

The deal closed earlier this week, according to three people close to the deal. 

Engadget notes that the evidence for this appears clear-cut.

terms of use page on Credit Kudos’ website, which was updated on March 21st, notes that the company is a subsidiary of Apple. A privacy policy link now redirects to Apple’s website.

The Block reached out to Apple for comment, but hadn’t received a response at the time of writing. However, it’s a safe bet that the iPhone maker will issue its usual boilerplate statement: ‘Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.’

Credit Kudos claims to offer a better approach to credit-checking than conventional agencies.

The startup offers insights and scores on loan applicants drawn from bank data — specifically transaction and loan outcome data — sourced via the UK’s open banking framework. Its API can offer lenders faster decision-making, less risk, and increased acceptance rates, according to its website.

However, Brits shouldn’t necessarily get too excited about the prospect of a UK Apple Card. Although the rewards offered seem generous by UK standards – 2% cashback on most purchases, and 3% with Apple and other select merchants – it’s unlikely these will be matched in Britain.

We’ve previously explained the reason for this:

So how can Apple afford to offer cash rewards of between 1% to 3%, depending on how and where you use it?

The answer is through what are known as interchange fees. These are fees that card companies charge to merchants whenever they take a card payment.

In the US, interchange fees are relatively high. They typically start at around 0.8% of the transaction plus 15c, and rise as high as 2.95% plus 20c for certain purchase types made with ‘premium’ cards. And Apple Card, despite being available to most people, and charging no cardholder fees, is classified as a premium card […]

European interchange fees (including the UK) for consumer cards are capped at 0.2% for debit cards, and 0.3% for credit cards. That’s it. So Apple – or its European partner banks – would only have that much margin to play with. (Higher rates apply to corporate cards.)

As I noted then, Apple could potentially cross-subsidize to offer rewards, but we still shouldn’t expect anything significantly better than currently available on existing premium cards in the UK.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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