Apple buys UK open banking tech startup Credit Kudos

Apple buys UK open banking tech startup Credit Kudos

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Apple Inc. has reportedly acquired the U.K. open banking firm Credit Kudos Ltd., a company that helps banks do credit scoring, for around $150 million.

Credit Kudos sells software that helps banks to make smarter decisions on whom to lend money to. Its software provides insights and scores for consumers based on transaction and loan repayment data that’s freely available through the U.K.’s open banking framework. The company pitches its application programming interface as a way for banks to achieve fast, automated decision making around loan applications with reduced risk and higher rates of acceptance.

The firm, which began raising money in early 2020, had secured about $10.3 million in venture capital funding.

Three people with knowledge of the deal reportedly confirmed the acquisition to The Block today, saying it concluded earlier this week. Neither Apple nor Credit Kudos has yet made any announcement, but the terms of use on the latter’s website now redirects to Apple’s terms of use, suggesting it is indeed a done deal.

What isn’t clear is what Apple has planned for Credit Kudos, though some media outlets have speculated that the company’s technology could enable the iPhone maker to launch its Apple Card product in the U.K.

Apple Card is Apple’s primary credit product and is currently available only in the United States. However, Apple is keen to expand Apple Card to additional markets, and the U.K. is one of its most important, having the third-largest number of Apple Stores behind the U.S. and China. Many of Apple’s new products and services are launched in the U.K. ahead of other markets.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said during a visit to Germany in 2019 that he was interested in bringing Apple Card to international markets.

However, launching a credit product in new markets is not easy. To do so, Apple needs access to consumer credit data in each market it targets. That’s where Credit Kudos could come in, providing credit checks for Apple Card customers in the U.K. The Block said, however, it would likely take time to integrate Credit Kudos’ API with Apple Card, so any launch of the service is probably still some months away.

It’s also feasible that Apple might adapt Credit Kudos’ technology to work with U.S. open banking frameworks to strengthen credit checks in its home market.

In any case, the acquisition fits the company’s modus operandi of snapping up smaller businesses with a view to bolstering its own platforms and expertise without immediately rolling it into a new product or service.

Photo: Niels Epting/Flickr

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