As tech giant Apple winds down its partnership with investment bank Goldman Sachs, it will need to find a new issuer to back its credit card. And given the size of the business, there’s a small pool of suitors, analysts say.
Opinions differed as to who would be the best match for Cupertino, California-based Apple. Card network American Express was “probably not the right company,” Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Dominick Gabriele said in an email. Private-label card company Synchrony Financial “would love” Apple’s card since it fits with their modus operandi, and because Synchrony is “looking for technology-driven card partners,” Gabriele added.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Sanjay Sakhrani also noted Synchrony has a “similar strategic relationship with PayPal” in a Wednesday note to investor clients. But he noted that “given the size of the Apple branded credit card portfolio … there are only so many issuers that could pick this up.” Sakhrani also said that Synchrony may have trouble managing the roughly $2 billion to $3 billion needed in reserves and/or capital.
Both Gabriele and Sakhrani mentioned Capital One as a potential successor to Goldman. Gabriele added Bread Financial to the list, while Sakhrani suggested both American Express and JPMorgan Chase as fellow contenders.
Tech giant Apple sent a proposal to Goldman Sachs to end its credit-card partnership with the investment bank within the next 12 to 15 months, according to a Tuesday report from The Wall Street Journal. Synchrony may be ready to back the card, since it had lost out to Goldman in an initial bid to back Apple’s credit card, the report said.
Goldman Sachs had talked with card network American Express about passing off the Apple partnership this summer, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But while the partnership may be winding down, Apple remains committed to its credit card and savings account, a source told Bloomberg in a Tuesday report. That source also said the tech giant has not yet started discussions with firms that could potentially replace Goldman.
American Express, Synchrony and Bread declined to comment on potentially backing Apple’s credit card. JPMorgan Chase and Capital One did not immediately respond to similar questions. Apple did not respond to questions about the potential end of its Goldman partnership and whom it might partner with next.