Talking Apple Card, Privacy, and Fintech Innovation

Apple Card

The following is a quick (and somewhat nerdy) conversation between Tiller founder Peter Polson and Tiller Marketing Lead Edward Shepard about the Apple Card announcement earlier this week, and how it might drive a new wave of privacy and design focused fintech innovation. Blocks in gray are Peter.

Edward Shepard: The new Apple Card was announced earlier this week!

Peter Polson: It’s huge. There are 900 million people around the world using iPhones. In terms of FinTech, Apple has an incredible platform. I think in terms of innovation, it’s probably going to be one of the largest adopted FinTech solutions of the year.

Edward: It will be one of the biggest FinTech stories for the foreseeable future. And the reason I say that is because it will spark a whole new wave of competition around mobile payments.

It will put pressure on credit card companies to think about everything from how people apply to how credit cards give rewards.

Ultimately it could effect everything from huge global banks to consumers and even local merchants who begin to think about incorporating Apple Pay into their payment solution.

Privacy and Apple Card

Peter: The thing I’m excited about from the Tiller perspective is that Apple is the first company to say privacy matters with your finances in a big way.

That’s a value we care about at Tiller. From the get-go, we’ve bent over backward to make sure the team at Tiller doesn’t see or interact with any customer transactions. It’s not necessary to provide what we’re doing.

I don’t know of other FinTech companies that do that.

And here comes Apple. And they announce, specifically, that they’re building a card payment solution and issuing a card and they don’t ever want to see your transactions and balances.

I’m so excited for Apple to be making that statement because there should be more options for customers who don’t want to be marketed to and sold ads based on what they’re doing with their money.

Edward: A lot of people don’t seem to care about financial privacy because they don’t feel like they have anything to hide.

But the truth is, privacy ultimately has huge impacts on your day to day experience. Peter, the other day I heard you say, “it’s not just that we don’t look at your transactions at Tiller, we don’t want to.”

Peter: That’s right. And, you know, in our competitive world, if you sign up for Mint, you’ll get ads based on what you’re doing with your finances. If you sign up for Personal Capital and you have account balances that meet a certain threshold, you’ll get voicemail from them because they want to upsell you.

So they’re going to sell you stuff based on your finances. And of course, we never do that at Tiller. But similarly, if you’re using an Amazon card or an Uber card, you bet they’re paying attention.

Amazon wants to know if you’re buying a lot for them or from say Home Depot or Lowes. They can shift offers and inventory and offer more shovels and hammers.

Similarly, Uber, they’re watching to see if you’re using Lyft and Uber both? Or just Uber? And that’s going to affect the promotions they’re showing you.

They’re eager and thirsty for your financial data.

Yet here comes Apple saying, “We don’t want see it. We don’t want to see your data. It’s not our business.” That’s huge. And it works with their business model because they make money off devices and services, increasingly services.

I’m relieved that there are options out there. There are options for those who want free, ad-driven models. But Apple is offering a premium solution, and not driving ads.

At least there’s a company offering something different from a privacy perspective. Something we at Tiller identify with.

And I think that’s an important dialogue to have out there in the marketplace.

Edward: I want to talk about the upcoming money tracking tools Apple is including with Apple Card and Apple Pay bundled in the Wallet app. I think those could both help people understand spending and also drive app innovation for banks and credit card issuers.

Peter: Apple Card promises clean descriptions, real time data. You can chat rather than talk to a bank and pick up the call and be on hold. Those are all things with the Apple polish that honestly, I’d love to see more banks and more FinTech solutions embrace. That polish is beautiful.

I also hope from a Tiller and FinTech perspective that Apple will take walls out of their solution, to give customers and FinTech developers other options for how to use their data.

Well on the Tiller side, because it’s backed by Goldman Sachs, it’s most likely that Apple Card will be compatible with our spreadsheet feeds.

That’s right. Yes.

We always talk about how tracking spending is the foundation of financial awareness and engagement, and transformation. No matter how much money you make. It’s huge. It has a positive ripple effect way beyond spending in terms of consumption and things like that.

It’s a beautiful looking tracking app. I bet it will have a real effect on people’s spending, and I hope it does. The downside is it’s just one card you’re seeing in the tracking app.

Most people have more complicated finances multiple cards, mortgage.  And that’s where it’s helpful to use tools to pull that big picture together. With the Apple Card Wallet app, you’re not going to see your mortgage, you’re not going to see your loans, you’re not going to see your growth or savings.

But, needless to say, I’m excited for the direction here. I hope it does help people feel more in control. That’d be a win.

Well that’s one of Apple’s major goals, stated goals anyway.

I also hope this raises the bar for everyone else making financial apps.

Are You Going to Get the Apple Card?

Edward: I asked a friend this morning if she was going to get Apple Card and she said no. She’s at a point where her and her husband do everything possible not to use credit at all. Because they’re  really focused on saving every penny to invest in real estate. They’ve made a commitment to not have new credit cards.

So while Apple Card is a sexy new way to spend money, it’s still spending money. For many people that’s not the right goal right.

Peter: Absolutely. It’s one of many innovations out there to get your to part more easily with your money. And, pulling out a titanium card makes it a little more fun to buy something. But you’re still buying something.

You better make sure that something you want and that it’s worth the precious dollars you’re using to spend on it.

Do you think you’ll get an Apple Card?

I’m curious to try it! We’ll give it a shot. We should follow up and write more when we actually have a card in hand, and have gone through the whole experience. Signing up on the phone. Getting the card.

Apple Card’s two percent cash back offer is pretty good. But I think for us it’s going to be a second card for when we want to differentiate expenses that are related to projects or other things.

I think, personally, our USAA rewards card gives us two and a half percent on everything. It’s hard to beat. But yes, I can’t wait to try it.

Me too. Enough said!

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