Apple snaps up UK open banking start-up Credit Kudos

Apple has acquired London-based fintech start-up Credit Kudos, according to multiple media reports.

The acquisition was first reported by The Block today (23 March), based on three sources who said the deal took place earlier this week. A person familiar with the matter also confirmed a deal to CNBC. One of the sources told The Block that the deal valued Credit Kudos at around $150m.

While neither company has commented on a deal, Credit Kudos’s terms of use page, last updated on 21 March, describes the business as a subsidiary of Apple.

Credit Kudos develops technology that analyses people’s banking transaction history to help lenders estimate credit scores and make better financial decisions. It also has a service that helps those seeking loans to evaluate their own credit scores before applying.

The start-up was founded in 2015 by Fred Kelly and Matt Schofield.

It taps into the fast-growing open banking space, which has seen a surge in activity in Europe since the Payments Services Directive (PSD2) stipulated that banks must open up their data chests to third-party providers. Earlier this month, payments giant Visa closed its €1.8bn acquisition of Swedish open banking start-up Tink.

Credit Kudos had its most recent funding round in April 2020, when it raised £5m in Series A funding led by London-based technology investment firm AlbionVC.

According to figures reported by CNBC, the start-up reported losses of £4.5m in 2020 – more than double the amount it reported in losses in 2019.

Apple generally does not comment on acquisitions publicly. In a 2019 interview, CEO Tim Cook said the company buys smaller tech companies “on average, every two to three weeks” looking for talent and intellectual property. It is not clear what the tech giant’s plans are with Credit Kudos, but it would likely help the company make moves in the open banking space.

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Last month, Apple announced a new Tap to Pay feature enabling businesses to accept contactless payments using an iPhone and a partner-enabled iOS app. Irish-founded fintech Stripe will be the first platform to introduce the feature.

Apple’s current financial products include its mobile wallet Apple Pay as well as an Apple Card that has been available in the US since 2019. It is yet to be launched internationally.

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