India’s fintech sector, already populated with seriously large players, could soon see a shake-up, with Apple planning a debut of an array of its own finance services.. According to a report from MoneyControl, Cupertino-headquartered tech titan Apple is currently in talks with banks and regulators to launch its Apple Card in India and tap into the Indian financial market (this includes talks with the RBI on the modalities of the card). In this regard, the iPhone maker is looking to join forces with HDFC Bank – one of India’s leading private sector banks – to bring its credit card to users in the South-Asian market.
Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with HDFC Bank CEO and MD Sashidhar Jagdishan during his trip to India in April. And if the (potential) launch of its Apple Card in India is not enough, Apple is also in talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for a possible launch of Apple Pay – its digital payments service – in the country. A localized version of Apple Pay that works atop of UPI, where Indian iPhone users in India are able to scan QR codes and initiate UPI transactions without using PSP apps, is on the cards, should Apple Pay make an appearance in India.
Apple’s plans to bring Apple Card to India, in collaboration with HDFC Bank, mark an important step in the company’s expansion into the Indian financial sector. The credit card was first introduced in the US in August 2019 in partnership with Goldman Sachs. Since then, it has gained popularity for its seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem, unique rewards structure, and focus on user privacy and security. In India, only banks are allowed to launch credit cards.
For those who are unaware, the Apple Card is designed to work seamlessly with Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs, and is known to provide cashback rewards, detailed transaction tracking, and a unique titanium physical card option for offline payments. For now, the RBI maintained that should Apple Card be launched in India, it has to follow the norms laid out for other co-branded credit cards, and there will be no special provisions will be made for the tech giant to launch its credit card in India.
India, with its large consumer base and growing digital adoption, presents a lucrative opportunity for Apple to expand its financial services, especially at a time when the pandemic ensured that an unprecedented shift to online modes of payment take place. By launching Apple Card in India, the company aims to tap into the increasing demand for digital payment solutions and credit options – a market that is already dominated by the likes of Walmart’s PhonePe, Google’s GPay, and Paytm.
Apple and India alike can benefit from this arrangement – Apple can leverage the bank’s expertise, customer base, and extensive distribution network to reach a wider audience and establish a strong foothold in the Indian financial market. The Indian fintech sector, on the other hand, is likely to witness intensified competition among the existing players. The introduction of Apple Card in the country could further accelerate the adoption of digital payment solutions in India, encouraging more users to embrace convenient and secure digital transactions.