Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is set to wrap up its week-long annual Worldwide Developer Conference later today, but many of the big announcements have already taken place. And almost buried beneath the usual reveal of new MacBooks and updated software was a very important revelation for investors:
Apple is finally set to enter the buy now, pay later (BNPL) market.
Following on from the announcement of a burgeoning partnership with Block, which we covered in Tuesday's edition of Fastball, Apple's latest dive deeper into the fintech space wasn't exactly a major surprise -- investors have been awaiting this announcement for some time now. The Cupertino-based firm has slowly been increasing its footprint in the finance world with numerous products, with the most notable being the Apple Card -- a credit card administered through Goldman Sachs.
Now, however, the Big Tech firm will offer customers the opportunity to split any payment made through Apple Pay into four separate installments. The service will be rolled out natively within its Wallet app, taking advantage of its already impressive interface and large base of existing users, and it will come with the enticing offer of no fees or interest.
While Apple stock didn't make much of a move following the news, some other big players in the space took some notable losses. Affirm, in particular, is down over 15% this week. Fears around rising inflation, higher interest rates, and a decline in economic growth and discretionary consumer spending already had the alarm bells sounding across many BNPL companies. The entry of one of the world's most valuable companies into the space will only make it more difficult to compete.
Intriguingly, Apple has stated that it plans to handle credit checks and lending internally, marking a move away from its deal with Goldman Sachs. This is a significant change in how Apple is approaching financial services as now a much more concerted focus will need to be given to building out its resources. Should this work out, it could put Apple in a formidable position within the financial services market for years to come.
I don't know about you, but betting against Apple's innovation never seems like the smartest move.
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