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One of the main questions asked since the US launch of Apple Card is: When will it be launched in other countries? A new report suggests that the Cupertino company is in active discussions for a planned Apple Card global rollout, but it may not be easy.
The report says that Apple is talking to both banks and regulators about launching the card in India …Apple Card appeal
Apple Card launched in the US back in 2023, and the moment it did, people in other countries started asking when it would be available for them. Almost four years ago now, it still isn’t available in any other countries.
Keen interest in the card has been driven by a combination of two things. First, there’s the coolness factor of both the Apple brand, and the premium look of the physical card: a minimalist design on a card made from titanium.
Second, while the rewards are not exceptional by US standards, they are solid, and the card makes it incredibly simple to take them as spending money rather than points that have to be converted. You get 3% on Apple purchases, 2% on Apple Pay transactions, and 1% on anything bought with the physical card. Those rewards can be taken as Daily Cash, which can be simply deducted from the outstanding balance.But don’t expect those rewards elsewhere
However, as we explained back in 2023, there are a number of barriers to rolling out the card in other countries.
One of the biggest is the cashback deal. While a payback of 3% or even more is not uncommon in the US, that’s because they are in large part funded by what are known as interchange fees: the fees merchants pay when you use your card to make a purchase.
In the US, interchange fees can be as high as 2.95% plus 20 cents for certain purchases with premium cards. In Europe, in contrast, these fees are legally capped at just 0.2% for debit card transactions, and 0.3% for credit cards. So there simply isn’t the margin to play with in many countries.Regulatory barriers also hamper Apple Card global rollout
That isn’t the only problem. As Apple is discovering in India, financial regulations can also prove tricky. Money Control reports that the iPhone maker is talking to both HDFC Bank, and regulators, but isn’t yet getting very far.
According to one of the sources mentioned above, the regulator has asked Apple to follow the regular procedure for co-branded credit cards, without offering any special consideration for the company […]
Apple was looking at significant deviations from the standard co-branded credit card model in India, one of the sources said. It is not clear whether the company is willing to make those compromises in order to launch the card in India, the source added.
One legal requirement is relatively minor in the scheme of things, but would impact the minimalism of the card design.
Unlike in the US, Apple cannot bring a plain card with just Apple’s logo and the customer’s name on the front. The regulations will require that Apple takes the back seat and the bank will take the driver’s seat. The Goldman Sachs name and Mastercard also appear on the back [not front] of the Apple Card in the US. The card also does not have any card number printed on it. These are not liberties that Apple can take in India as per the current co-branded credit card regulations in India.
But a far bigger problem for Apple is integration with the app.
Last year, the RBI clearly stated that the bank’s partner cannot store customer data or transaction data. Even the Apple Card details cannot be stored on Apple platforms.
All in all, then, we shouldn’t hold our breath for an Apple Card launch in India – with similar problems likely to be hampering the Apple Card global rollout more generally.
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