Apple, the company that makes iPhones, is talking to banks and regulators to bring its credit card, called “Apple Card,” to India. During his visit to India in April, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, met with the CEO and MD of HDFC Bank, Sashidhar Jagdishan. This is happening at a time when more and more payments are being made through mobile phones. Big technology companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Samsung are actively trying to expand into the payments industry and have big plans in the financial services sector. They have created payment apps and want to make significant progress in this area.
Apple has also had discussions with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about how the card should work. The RBI has asked Apple to follow the regular process for co-branded credit cards, without giving any special treatment to the company.
Apple and HDFC Bank have not provided any statements in response to the inquiries sent to them. The RBI has also not responded to an email asking if they have discussed the matter with Apple.
According to sources, Apple wants to launch its Apple Card, which would be a credit card created in partnership with HDFC Bank in India. The discussions are still in the early stages, and no decision has been made yet. It is not known what exactly was discussed or when Apple plans to launch the card in India.
According to one of the sources, Apple is considering making significant changes to the standard co-branded credit card model in India. However, it is not clear if the company is willing to compromise in order to launch the card in India.
India has been an important market for Apple, with growing iPhone sales. The company’s revenue in India reached around Rs 50,000 crore ($6 billion) in the financial year 2023, which is a 50% increase from the previous year. Apple’s global services revenue is approximately $80 billion. If a significant portion of these transactions can be done through the Apple Card, it would have a significant impact.
During Tim Cook’s visit to India in April, Apple opened exclusive retail stores in Delhi and Mumbai. The company has also been shifting a large part of its iPhone production to India, and it is expected that almost 25% of Apple’s total mobile phone production will happen in the country in the next few years.
Currently, Apple has about 4% of the smartphone market in India, with around 20 million users. If 20-30% of Indian smartphone users switch to iPhones in the next decade, like in other middle-income countries, India could become Apple’s third-largest market after the US and China.
One reason why Apple might be considering launching the Apple Card in India before other countries like Japan or European countries is that Apple currently does not accept card payments in India. Most App Store purchases in India are made through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), except for services like iCloud storage and music.
The Reserve Bank of India has stated that third-party websites should not store card details and that all payment data should be stored on Indian servers. They have also introduced additional measures for card payments. These factors may have influenced Apple’s decision to explore launching its own credit card in India before allowing card payments again.