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Apple buys open-banking startup Credit Kudos

Mar 23, 2022
Illustration of a figure looking into an Apple card by opening it's chip.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Apple has acquired Credit Kudos, a U.K.-based open-banking startup, in a deal valued at around $150 million, as reported by The Block.

Why it matters: The acquisition could help Apple better determine the creditworthiness of its customers and hasten the tech giant's launch of the Apple Card in one of its largest and most important markets.

What it does: Credit Kudos bills itself as a "challenger credit bureau," using open banking to access consumers' financial information and help lenders make faster and more informed decisions.

  • In doing so, it competes primarily with traditional credit agencies like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.

By bringing some of that expertise in-house, Apple could get a boost in making the Apple Card available in the U.K.

  • The Apple Card currently is available only in the U.S., but the company has shown interest in launching the product internationally.
  • Notably, users can apply for an Apple Card in the U.S. without a hard credit check and Credit Kudos could replicate that experience in its home market.

The intrigue: Having essentially its own in-house credit agency could also help Apple launch new and interesting financing options for users.

  • While Apple has traditionally relied on partners like Goldman Sachs for underwriting and financing, Credit Kudos could theoretically allow it to cut out the middleman.

Flashback: Credit Kudos last raised funding in April 2020, a £5 million Series A round led by AlbionVC, with participation from TriplePoint, Plug & Play Ventures, Ascension Ventures’ Fair by Design fund, and Entrepreneur First (EF).

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