Apple is launching a new feature that will allow its UK mobile wallet users to check their bank account balance in the wallet app. If successfully adopted, it can pave the way for Apple to disrupt the UK banking landscape.

According to GlobalData’s 2023 Financial Services Consumer Survey, Apple Pay has a 51% share of the UK mobile wallets market, which positions the company well to offer more financial services products. The latest enhancement to the wallet app comes around 18 months after Apple acquired Credit Kudos, a UK tech startup utilising open banking to provide credit-scoring services. This suggests Apple may indeed have a longer strategy for financial services.

Digital wallet and mobile payment apps are well positioned to target particularly younger demographics. Traditional banks and building societies remain by far the preferred providers for most financial products and services. According to GlobalData’s survey, 53% of UK consumers would choose a traditional bank for budgeting tools, with only 10% preferring mobile wallet apps. However, within the 18–24 age group, these respective figures change to 29% vs 17%, with mobile wallets being the second-most popular choice. A similar trend can be observed for other services, such as investments or non-mortgage credit.

Initially only 6 UK banks are supported

The latest improvement to Apple’s Wallet app is very limited. Its users will only be able to see current account balance and history, and only six UK banks are supported. While this integration can help users with simplifying budgeting and spending decisions without switching between apps, the true opportunity lies further ahead. The app should be developed to offer features such as setting specific budget limits, creating saving goals, analysing spending patterns, or providing financial advice. With more banks supported and greater access to users’ banking data, Apple could look to offer a host of new financial services to its users, such as buy now pay later and other lending options or investments.

Apple has not revealed its further plans for the wallet app. However, it will not come as a surprise if it continues with enhancements as suggested above. The initial limited launch may be an attempt to test the waters and gauge users’ initial reactions. If positive, Apple can enter the UK financial services landscape with increased pace and pave the way for other mobile wallet providers.

Olujimi Oke is a payments analyst, GlobalData

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