Apple and Goldman Sachs’s hotly anticipated new credit card is now just weeks away from launch, according to a person familiar with the companies. The release will be the culmination of an intense, high-stakes development process for the Silicon Valley giant and the Wall Street stalwart.
The Apple Card is targeted to launch as early as the first half of August. That timing means the project is on schedule for the summer release date that Apple first announced in March. People who own an iPhone will be able to sign up for the card via the Wallet app, which will have built-in Apple Card support as part of the latest iOS 12.4 update.
The closely watched collaboration between Apple Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. represents one of the most ambitious ever attempted between an old-world finance titan and a tech company. It also involved the mixing of two very different corporate cultures as the companies split up responsibilities for the project and worked together on the new technology, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the process was private.
"Apple is a great partner and we together are excited about delivering a product that we think customers will love," a Goldman Sachs spokesman said in a statement. Representatives for Apple declined to comment.
In March, Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer David Solomon and some of the bank’s highest-ranking executives visited Cupertino, California, to attend the much-anticipated announcement of the card. On stage, Tim Cook and Apple Pay executive Jennifer Bailey delivered the news with characteristic Apple fanfare.
The outpouring of press coverage about the partnership helped Goldman Sachs bring attention to its efforts to make financial products for everyday people. While the bank has long been a Wall Street institution, it has only recently attempted to ramp up its new consumer-facing business. For Apple, the credit card is thought of as a way to bring in more recurring revenue from iPhone users and further enmesh them in its web of services.
The companies divvied up responsibilities for developing and managing the project. Apple designed the card and will handle its software interface for iPhones. Goldman Sachs is responsible for the underlying infrastructure, managing payment disputes, handling transaction data and collating information for monthly statements.
Goldman Sachs currently has dozens of people working on the product out of its Manhattan headquarters, plus other dedicated employees in satellite offices, said the people. The Apple side of the project is managed by the company’s Apple Pay and Wallet app teams.
At the time of the announcement, Solomon told employees that the partnership was “a major step in the growth of our consumer franchise,” and added that the bank’s lack of legacy credit card technology made it the “best partner” for the effort.
In May, Apple expressed concern with the underlying technology Goldman Sachs had developed to power the credit card, according to people familiar with the discussions. At the time, Apple informed the bank that it was unhappy with some of the card’s mechanics and asked for changes. The pressure mounted on Goldman Sachs staffers as the card neared its planned launch date.
The different viewpoints appear not to have derailed the card’s progress toward its summer release. Apple employees and retail workers have been testing the card for several weeks or more, depending on their role at the firm.
In addition to its stark white appearance and digital-first design, the credit card aims to entice customers with no fees, deep iPhone integration, a unique system for tracking spending and a privacy-centric approach. The product has been designed to be used primarily via Apple Pay, rather than as a physical credit card. However, the company will also issue users an actual card for merchants that don’t accept Apple Pay.
The Apple Card features a cash-back rewards structure instead of points, offering users 1% on purchases made with the physical card, 2% for Apple Pay transactions and three per cent for purchases of Apple products or services.
--With assistance from Sridhar Natarajan