Apple’s acquisition of UK’s open banking startup Credit Kudos could be a precursor to Apple Card’s arrival in Europe

Apple Card may hit Europe after all, breaking its US exclusivity, as Apple has snapped up Credit Kudos, UK’s startup which offers credit-checking services.

Marketing image showcasing an Apple Card and an iPhone set against a dark gradient background
  • Apple has snapped up Credit Kudos, a credit checking startup based in the United Kingdom, sparking speculation that the move might signal plans to expand Apple Card beyond the United States where it launched years ago.
  • Apple typically acquires smaller companies for their talent or technological solutions, and this appears to be one of those acquisition deals.
  • Apple Card’s remained restricted to the United State since its 2019 debut.

Apple snaps up Credit Kudos, UK’s credit checking startup

The agreement was signed sometime last week, according to The Block. The startup leveraged the UK’s Open Banking system to offer credit checking services to borrowers and lenders. “Credit Kudos, a UK open banking startup that helps lenders make better decisions, has been acquired by US tech giant Apple,” says the report. “The deal closed earlier this week, according to three people.”

The deal is acknowledged by an update to the Credit Kuso website, clarifying the startup, founded in 2015, is now an Apple subsidiary. No financial terms of the agreement were disclosed at the time of writing though it’s known that the startup was last valued at around $150 million.

Kris Holt, Engadget:

A terms of use page on Credit Kudos’ website, which was updated on March 21, notes that the company is a subsidiary of Apple. A privacy policy link now redirects to Apple’s website.

Needless to say, the move has sparked speculation that Apple Card, currently a US-only thing, could expand internationally. In the US, Apple partners with Goldman Sachs on Apple Card, with the bank providing services to Apple Card customers, running credit checks and so on. Read: How to apply for Apple Card in the US

When is Apple Card expanding internationally?

Apple Card is currently available in the United States, with no indications when the product might expand to the United Kingdom, major European markets like Germany, France and Italy, and elsewhere. Now, Apple Card is unlike most of the other services that Apple provides in that it needs a banking partner to make it work.

Needless to say, banks want their interchange fees. Apple may have difficulty negotiating the kinds of fees it is accustomed to with non-US banks. We saw a similar situation unfold when Apple Pay debuted in the United States, with banks in countries like Australia for years refusing to support the mobile payment feature because they wouldn’t agree to Apple’s fee structure.

The whole situation is complicated further by the fact that Apple Card offers 1% to 3% cashback that it’s unlikely to be offered in European countries.