MasterCard is offering Apple Card’s best features to fintechs

By Oliver Smith on Friday 24 May 2019

Digital Banking

Will Monzo and Starling bite?

MasterCard is offering Apple Card’s best features to fintechs
Image source: Jennifer Bailey/Apple Card/Apple

When Tim Cook unveiled Apple Card in March, the European fintech industry was quick to point out all the features Apple had ‘borrowed’ from the continent’s digital banks.

However, while mobile signup, no FX fees and in-app chat for customer support are hardly new or novel to the likes of Monzo and Starling, there were some features to be envious of.

For example, having a blank physical card with all the numbers stored digitally inside an app, a three-digit CVC code which dynamically changes for every purchase to ensure your details can’t be reused, and a card that never expires.

Now MasterCard has announced that it’ll be offering the digital-first Apple Card feature platform to other banks.

“This is digital first. This is, all card details are only available in the digital environment,” said Chris Reid, MasterCard’s Executive Vice President for Services in North America, speaking at SourceMedia’s Card Forum and reported by PaymentsSource.

“Yes it comes with a physical card if you want it—if the consumer wants it—but in that physical card, it’s not going to carry the 16 digit PAN, it’s not going to carry the CVC, it doesn’t need to carry the customer service number or the expiry date.”

Reid told attendees that due to the NDAs signed between MasterCard and Apple, no bank had signed up yet or would be able to for the next six months until Apple Card has launched.

“We know consumers are looking for something that is digitally oriented, that is enabling them to live their digital lives in a way that they would like to, that carries some spontaneity... and so that’s why we have introduced this: digital first, physical optional,” he said.

Clearly, the hope for MasterCard is that banks in the US and Europe will opt (and pay) for their digital platform, as a response to Apple Card and in order to leapfrog the rising threat of fintech banks.

For digital banks in Europe, the offering is likely less compelling, as many of the features that were mentioned by Reid—applying for the card on mobile and getting an Apple Pay version of the card instantly—are already table stakes.

Sign up for our newsletters

Your daily 7am download of all things alternative finance and fintech.

Fintech and alternative finance headlines with an exclusive Editor's Note each week. Delivered Monday at midday.

AltFi's new weekly US newsletter breaking down the ins and outs of America's burgeoning fintech sector. Delivered Monday 9am EST/ 6am PST.