Apple has made it official: Tech is the new bank

Paige, Volt Bank, 4th April

The line between banks and tech companies has been blurring for a long time. Even at Volt, we constantly describe ourselves as a tech company with a banking licence. But when the largest tech company in the world launches a credit card, we think it is safe to say that it is finally mainstream: tech is officially the new bank.

Apple’s announcement this morning of their own virtual credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs, a US multinational bank and financial services giant, reflects Apple's strong heritage of expanding into and ultimately owning other sectors, such as music.

While the Apple Card has only been announced in the United States to date, many of its functions and innovations mirror what local banks (both new and established) are trying to achieve here.

So as technology, both through established giants like Apple and new banks like Volt, transforms what we know as banking, what can we expect to see new banking players deliver, and what are some of the key questions?

  • Help their customers bank better by tapping into tech
    With machine learning automatically grouping your purchases by colour depending on category, weekly and monthly spending summaries to keep your savings on track, and geolocation technology capturing where you make the most purchases, financial management will no longer be something you “do”. Instead, it will be seamlessly integrated into the banking experience. While some traditional banks have tried to do the same, neobanks have the advantage of being far nimbler, being free of legacy tech and legacy thinking.
  • Offer complete peace of mind when it comes to security and privacy
    New players in the field need to work that bit harder to underline their credentials in providing security and maintaining privacy for customers. And here is where technology will come to the fore. Be it face ID lock, or one-time dynamic security codes to authorise purchases, neobanks will be able to leverage their tech driven approach to provide a real sense of security and privacy for their customers.
  • Strike the balance between convenient and creepy
    Our mobile phones are such intrinsic parts of our lives, that combining personal finance with an iPhone, makes perfect sense for Apple. But what remains to be seen, and probably won’t be evident until the product is available, is have they struck the right balance with keeping you aware of your financial position, but not creating paranoia or guilt around spending choices. How many of us question our life choices when we see our iPhone usage stats on our iPhone? The key for us in the development of our products has been the thought of ensuring we can be there when you need us, but the rest of time, we get out of your way and let you get on with things.