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The Big Apple Threatens Fintech Companies

If Apple begins eyeing banking, there's danger for automated advice platforms, or so-called robo advisors, that have been moving into cash management.

Apple's move into financial products could hit fintech companies like Wealthfront, Robinhood and SoFi, according to a CNBC report. Although Apple is currently working with Goldman Sachs to issue a credit card, a "conceivable" push into bank accounts could spell trouble for fintechs moving toward holding consumer cash.

Wealthfront recently launched a cash product through agreements with smaller banks, although it's still working to directly link its cash feature to its more well-known automated investing platform. Robinhood is still trying to solve the riddle of cash accounts, after announcing—then dropping—its "Checking & Savings" feature. It generated a waiting list of over 750,000 signups. Last month, SoFi pushed to compete more directly with low-fee trading platforms when it launched zero-fee "do-it-yourself" investing through its Invest program, which also has an automated investing feature. Betterment also has a cash feature that sweeps cash between consumers' investing and banking accounts.

“It is conceivable that Apple continues to offer more financial products to its customer base, particularly bank accounts,” Kyle Lui, partner at venture capital firm DCM, told CNBC. “That would be much more competitive to fintech unicorns like SoFi, Chime and even Robinhood.”

TAGS: Industry
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