Buying Apple Credit Kudos could boost its fintech plans

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Hello and welcome to Protocol Fintech. This Thursday: Robinhood cashes in, Apple is set to launch a fintech offensive, and El Salvador holds back its bitcoin bond.

out of the chain

Robinhood shareholders didn’t seem impressed with the meteoric rollout of its new spending account, the latest evolution of a product that’s had a rocky road to market. Its first attempt to introduce a “Checking” product in 2018 failed when SIPC refused to extend its brokerage account insurance to the product. He revamped the product in 2019 with FDIC insurance. The 2022 version – called Robinhood Cash Card, or Robinhood Money LLC Stored Value Account if you are naughty — offers a rounded savings bonus that varies from 10% to 100%. It’s a convenient product, and redeeming on debit card purchases could be a stable source of income. But it’s not as exciting as the stock and cryptocurrency trading that once mined Robinhood’s own stock.

—Owen Thomas (E-mail | Twitter)

Apple’s fintech offensive

Apple has made big strides in fintech lately. He would buy a UK open banking startup Congratulations to the credit for about $150 million. Last month, he said merchants could soon use the iPhone directly process paymentsno additional hardware required.

The tech giant already has a foothold in financial services with Apple Pay, Apple Card and iMessage – not to mention the huge volume of payments it processes for consumers and developers through iTunes and Apple. App Store. Is Apple preparing for a new fintech offensive?

Financial data is the key to success. Credit Kudos gives Apple data aggregation tools like those offered by Plaid and Finicity.

  • Also known as open banking, this direct access to data is crucial for fintech – which is why Mastercard bought Finicity and Visa tried to buy Plaid.
  • Apple’s deal could also be about geographic expansion. Buying Credit Kudos appears to bring Apple “closer to the possibility of offering Apple Card and other services in the UK,” Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Melody Brue told Protocol.
  • Apple Card’s US-only reach is a weakness in Apple’s fintech strategy. “We are approaching the third anniversary of the announcement of the Apple Card, and it is surprising that a company once known for its transactions has not been able to extend this key offer,” said Mark Gurman of Bloomberg. . wrote in January.
  • Brue also speculated that Apple might consider new services, such as the fast-growing “buy now, pay later” industry. Credit Kudos offers “access to financial history and data without credit checks or relying on the traditional credit score model,” she said — crucial elements for offering installment plans snapshots.

Apple is also going after small businesses. The company has rolled out a new feature called Tap to Pay that allows merchants to accept one-click payments on their iPhone.

  • Apple’s Tap to Pay service does not process payments. Instead, it replaces hardware that reads credit or debit card numbers. That’s why you should ignore headlines that claim things like “Apple wants to kill Square”: This analysis completely ignores the evolution of the Block Payments unit from offering dongles to selling more sophisticated software and services that Apple’s offering does not touch.
  • Apple, however, is arming Block’s competition. It partnered with another fintech powerhouse, Stripe, for this rollout. The new feature means businesses will be able to “accept contactless payments on a device that’s already in your pocket: your iPhone,” Stripe chief commercial officer Billy Alvarado told Reuters.

This is where things get interesting for Apple. Although developers complain about certain App Store practices, Apple does not levy any weight on retail e-commerce or in-person payments, except for Apple Pay fees charged to banks. Put Tap to Pay, Apple Card and open banking together, and you can see the glimmers of a payment system that completely bypasses credit card networks and their fees. It could align Apple’s interests with those of merchants and software developers, and ease fears that another Big Tech player is getting into fintech.

It helps that Apple has managed to “break away from the big tech stigma,” Brue said. “With time, attractive offers and no missteps, the company is easily considered a financial services company as well.”

—Benjamin Pimentel (E-mail | Twitter)

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on the money

On protocol: Malaysia just can’t make up its mind on crypto. Days after a government minister said it was important to encourage its development for the country’s youth, another said there were no plans to make it legal.

Crypto.com is an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup. In another Crypto.com move to cement itself in the world of sports, the soccer competition announced that the crypto exchange will be its exclusive crypto-trading sponsor.

GameStop has begun beta testing its NFT Marketplace. Loopring said the new marketplace would be built on its Ethereum scaling technology, driving the price of the LRC token soaring, up 34% after the GameStop Announcement. Immutable X president and co-founder Robbie Ferguson attempted to dispel the confusionclaiming that his company would always provide technology for the market.

Meta has filed eight trademarks relating to crypto and blockchain software. the trademark applications were for its blue two-loop logo, signifying possible moves to crypto. If only Meta hadn’t just abandoned its biggest crypto project….

Canadian authorities are struggling to seize bitcoins from the Freedom Convoy. Although the Supreme Court of Ontario ordered the owners of a multi-signature wallet controlling donated bitcoin to freeze the holdings, bitcoin would have been already distributed to several unidentified wallets.

The Thai SEC will ban crypto as a payment method. The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission says that Although there were money laundering issues behind the ban, it did not mean a total ban on crypto.

El Salvador postponed its bitcoin-backed bond. Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya said the country was expect for “favorable conditions in the financial market”, citing bitcoin’s volatility amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Understood

Casey Newtoneditor of Platformthinks the Web3 ideal of decentralization is dying, and that ApeCoin project was a perfect illustration of this. “Independent Founders and Investors; a hype machine in overdrive; and a growing disconnect between the Web3 we were promised and that traded on crypto exchanges,” he wrote in the newsletter.

Robin HoodThe new Cash Card from is a debit card with savings and investment functions, aimed at young people with little or no credit. “My first observation is that a lot of these credit cards are, intentionally or not, predatory. They have the low rates, et cetera,” Product manager Aparna Chennapragada noted in an interview with the edge.

fed chair Jerome Powell still believe that new forms of money, such as crypto, stablecoins, and even CBDCs, pose risks to the US financial system and require specific rules. “Our existing regulatory frameworks were not built with a digital world in mind,” he said to a panel.

Moves and hires

Mass Fintech Hub has appointed a number of CEOs to its board. The public-private partnership announced new appointmentsincluding Bob Reynolds, CEO of Putnam Investments, Mike Fanning, US Director of MassMutual, Bob Rivers, CEO of Eastern Bank, Snejina Zacharia, CEO of Insurify, and Mike Massaro, CEO of Flywire.

Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan resigns. Hassan goes away the crowdfunding company at the end of March, and COO Sean Leow will serve as interim CEO pending the company’s search for a permanent replacement.

Bill.com named Rinki Sethi as vice president and CISO. Sethi was previously VP and CISO at Twitter and Rubrik, and will lead global security and information technology functions in his new position.

Former Stripe CMO Jim Stoneham joins venture capital firm SignalFire. Stoneham, who left Stripe in October, will join the startup venture capital firm as an operating partner and helps startups grow by “co-creating go-to-market strategies.”

Former Treasury official James Freis joins MoonPay. Free joined the crypto-payments company as a special adviser on regulatory matters. He served as interim CEO of Wirecard, a German fintech plagued by scandals and the director of FinCEN during the Bush and Obama administrations.

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Thanks for reading – see you tomorrow!

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