Apple officially announced the “Tap to Pay” plan on February 8, 2022, in the United States. According to the previously circulated information, this initiative enables certain models of iPhones to receive payments securely from other iPhones, Apple Watches, and contactless credit cards, using NFC technology. What’s the plan? you might ask!
Applicable to various transactions such as person-to-person, person-to-store, and business-to-business payment processes, the “Tap to Pay” feature is directly implemented on your iPhone. Stores or businesses can process payments without the need for additional traditional card-swiping hardware. This move could potentially impact Square’s market share and pose a threat to localized payment startups in different regions globally, as it streamlines and challenges the opportunities in the payment industry.
Is Apple’s next move into banking? Regardless of the perspective, their financial ambitions have been evident since the days of Passbook and Apple Pay. The goal is to become an internet-native financial services ecosystem, akin to challengers such as Atom, Fidor Bank, Monzo, Revolut, and others. In my observation, this is undoubtedly an evolution rather than a revolution. To borrow a phrase from a CreditCard.com analyst: “Apple can do more with Apply Pay.” The evolution of this tech giant will continue to offer more financial products to its customer base, undoubtedly posing a significant threat to financial technology and regional banks.
With the funds and trust provided by banks to customers, along with its Apple Pay and Apple Card businesses, Apple has made consumer finance its first port of call. However, the unlimited potential to expand into loans, investments, insurance, and providing interconnected functions such as Apple Cash for consumer accounts, presents a vast personal finance landscape.
In terms of managing a bank, Apple’s motives go beyond just servicing financial products. The most crucial aspect is the spillover effect into its ecosystem. Judging by Apple’s recent strategies, whether it’s the already established Fitness & Health or the brewing Apple Car, each endeavor aims to integrate consumers into the realm of experiences. After all, the timeless rule of “users pay” is universal. When consumers become accustomed to Apple’s services, the natural progression to paying for high-quality, high-value applications occurs. From any perspective, as long as payment and receipt can be completed within one’s own devices or environment, the massive benefits are immediately transformed into a continuous stream of passive income.
From a global market perspective, Apple’s products may not dominate in market share, but with each forward stride, much like their past endeavors with laptops, tablets, and smartphones, they bring their own unique perspective. They may not always be the first one to enter the market or hold an absolute leading position, but Apple consistently amazes and captivates many with the offerings they bring to the table, often generating excitement.
Looking ahead, whether in sports, fitness, search, home automation, electric autonomous vehicles, or even extending into education, learning, and B2B-related services, these endeavors provide Apple with ample opportunities to compete with other industry giants. Operating within its own ecosystem, gradually incubating and growing, Apple could become a financial behemoth with a billion-dollar turnover.