Tech giant Apple reportedly acquires British fintech start-up Credit Kudos for $150m, to perhaps bolster its financial services operation
Apple has reportedly acquired London-based fintech start-up Credit Kudos, which specialises in data mining customer data for credit checking purposes.
CNBC, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Apple’s acquisition was finalised earlier this week, but it should be noted there is no official confirmation of the deal.
That said one of the people reportedly said the deal values Credit Kudos at around $150 million, and could signal Apple’s intention to bolster its financial services operation.
A spokesperson for Apple told CNBC that the US tech giant “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Credit Kudos did not immediately comment when contacted by CNBC.
So why would Apple be interested in this London-based fintech?
Well, Credit Kudos develops software that uses consumers’ banking data to make more informed credit checks on loan applications.
This means it is a potential challenger to established credit reporting agencies, such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Credit Kudos had been in discussions about a possible sale as early as September, one of the people told CNBC.
CNBC reported that Credit Kudos operates in the “open banking” fintech sector, where third-party firms securely link to people’s bank accounts to extract information and make payments on their behalf, provided they’ve got consent to do so.
There is currently no clear answer as to Apple’s plans, or its thinking, behind its apparent purchase of Credit Kudos.
But it should be remembered that Apple already operates in the financial services sector.
Back in 2015 the firm launched Apple Pay, which allows an iPhone user to pay at the checkout using their Apple mobile phone or smartwatch, without the need for cash or card, using NFC (near-field communication).
Then in 2019 the iPhone maker launched the Apple Card, a credit card the firm launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs and MasterCard in the United States.
Last month Apple entered the mobile payments terminal market with a contactless payment system it called Tap to Pay on the iPhone
US merchants and shops will be able to accept Apple Pay and other contactless payments simply by using iPhone and a partner-enabled iOS app later this year.
That development will no doubt worry competitors already operating in this market.
Apple’s solution does not require any additional hardware (except for an iPhone) unlike rival solutions, such as Jack Dorsey’s digital payment specialist Square, which in December was renamed to Block.
Apple said Tap to Pay on iPhone will be available for payment platforms and app developers to integrate into their iOS apps and offer as a payment option to their business customers.