Apple has entered the banking arena. The tech giant recently introduced its own Apple credit card, billing it as, “A new kind of credit card. Created by Apple, not a bank.” Apple’s messaging talks about the card’s simplicity, transparency, privacy, ease and security.
Apple claims this is the first credit card which encourages consumers to pay less interest, calling its interest rate “among the lowest in the industry.” It also says the Apple card can do things no other credit card can do, like give daily cash back on every transaction. With the recent release of the iPhone 11 and the 2019 holiday season getting closer, this card could take a bite out of financial institutions’ credit card profits.
It’s pretty clear the target demographic for this card is iPhone users, which translates to a large chunk of consumers. Apple has more than 100 million iPhone users in the United State alone. That’s about 45% of all smart phone users in the country and a reason for financial institutions to be concerned.
I am not an iPhone User, which is a requirement to be a cardholder. I’m a Mac user at work, but much to our fearless leader’s dismay, I’m a long shot at best for jumping on the Apple band wagon. That being said, I would apply for this card if it worked with my current technology, because of its transparency and lack of fees.
Today’s consumers are often skeptical of financial institutions and their credit policies. The Apple card appears to address and fix many consumer pain points. Your financial institution can compete with this new card, but it may require you to make some changes.
Be transparent. I cannot stress this enough, especially if you want to attract young consumers. They crave authenticity and lack financial knowledge. Educate them about using credit responsibly.
Be consumer friendly. According to creditcard.com, “only 41 percent of respondents strongly agree that card issuers are acting in customers’ best interests. On a seven-point scale, customers awarded issuers an average of 4.97 points for being customer-driven rather than profit-driven.”
I can relate. I once had a credit card company charge me $25 because they changed their online policy without warning. I made my payment on the due date, but it was not made before 5 p.m. (on a 24/7 website). That is the opposite of consumer friendly. Don’t look for ways to trap consumers into fees. Look for ways to save them money and stress.
Partner with Fintechs. Consumers want everything in one place. They don’t want one app for a checking account and different app for a credit card. If your financial institution cannot provide that, partner with someone who can. Don’t limit your partnerships to unknown, behind the scenes partners. Contact the Apples and Googles of the world and inquire how you can work together to improve your service to consumers while capitalizing on their name recognition.
The best way to beat disruptors is to become one. If you can’t do that, gather intelligence that will help you anticipate new disruptors.