Apple Inc. is reportedly eyeing the Indian market for a potential expansion of its Apple Card services. The company’s CEO, Tim Cook, met with HDFC Bank’s CEO and MD, Sashidhar Jagdishan, during his trip to India in April 2023 to explore the possibility of introducing the credit card to the country alongside Apple Pay.
In India, only banks are permitted to issue credit cards. As a result, Apple is exploring the possibility of launching its Apple Card as a co-branded credit card with HDFC Bank, one of India’s leading private sector banks. The Cupertino-based tech giant has reportedly held discussions with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank and regulatory body, on the “modalities” of the card. The regulator has asked Apple to follow the regular procedure for co-branded credit cards, without offering any special considerations for the company.
The discussions are in their early stages, and no definitive decisions have been made yet. Still, the partnership between Apple and HDFC Bank aims to deliver an exceptional customer experience through the launch of a co-branded credit card. Leveraging HDFC Bank’s extensive expertise in the banking sector and Apple’s commitment to seamless technology integration, the credit card could revolutionize the way users manage their finances in India.
The Apple Card was launched in the United States in August 2019, and it currently remains exclusive to the country. One of the factors that might have prompted Apple to consider launching the Apple Card in India before other countries is the fact that Apple does not currently accept card payments in India. Instead, the national Unified Payments Interface (UPI) powers most App Store purchases in the country, due to regulations that forbid third-party websites from storing credit card details on their platforms.
Moreover, Apple’s potential entry into the Indian credit card market is part of a broader trend of tech giants venturing into the payments sector. Companies like Google, Amazon, and Samsung are reportedly showing interest in expanding their presence in the financial services domain.
During his trip to India, Cook attended the opening of the country’s first Apple retail stores. This followed Apple’s successful year in India, where sales hit a new high of almost $6 billion in the year through March, growing by nearly 50% from $4.1 billion a year earlier. Apple has also been working to build out a manufacturing supply chain in India, further indicating the company’s increasing focus on the country as a significant market and production hub.
The launch of the Apple Card in India, if it happens, will mark a significant step in Apple’s global expansion strategy and its strategy to provide new inclusive financial services to its customers around the world.