Payments company Ondot Systems launched its new Card App on Monday, a product the company hopes will deliver an "Apple Card-like experience" for its issuers' customers.
The app is targeting community banks and credit unions that want to provide cutting-edge card services on relatively small budgets.
Ondot provides digital card services to more than 4,000 financial institutions.
The Card App can push cards into a mobile wallet. It's also customizable, with fraud controls that let users limit the geographic area where a card will work and a permissions feature in which users can set spending caps and limit certain transactions.
Users can also view recent transactions and the locations where those transactions were made on a map.
"Our perspective is: there are 12,000 financial institutions, maybe even more, and many of them are regional community bank issuers," Ondot CEO Vaduvur Bharghavan told Banking Dive at Money20/20 in Las Vegas on Monday. "We really want to empower them to be able to compete and excel in this marketplace."
A typical community bank brings customer interaction and an understanding of the local marketplace and its customers, Bharghavan said. Ondot wants its technologies to enable that financial institution to compete to compete.
"This card is essentially a step in that direction," Bharghavan said. "What we are saying to the 10,000-plus financial institutions that don't necessarily have the kind of resources that Apple does is, 'You can have the same kind of experience because we can offer it to you.'"
Apple launched its Apple Card in August, a rollout that its partner Goldman Sachs this month called "the most successful credit card launch ever."
"It's a game-changer, not necessarily because Apple Card is going to go and take over the market. It may. But it's a game-changer because it re-calibrates how issuers interact with their customers," Bharghavan said.
As Apple and Goldman Sachs introduce innovations, community banks feel the pressure to compete. Fintech partnerships allow them to remain competitive, said Tina Giorgio, president and CEO of ICBA Bancard, the payment services subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America.
"By partnering with a fintech like Ondot, it really does level the playing field for community banks, because we're bringing things like this to market right on the heels of Apple," Giorgio told Banking Dive. "We're moving into a fast-follower role when it comes to these types of technologies and solutions, thanks to partners like Ondot. That's a game-changer for community banks."
Community banks are competing with big tech in addition to other financial institutions, Giorgio said, adding that it's important to stay true to the community bank model while showing the drive to offer innovative products.
"When you look at the customer experience and [tech companies'] ability to innovate quickly, focus on the customer and leverage the data they have on that customer, that's where we're starting to pivot," she said. "Our customers want a high-tech experience, especially as you look at millennials and Gen Z, but they also want that high touch that they're used to getting from a community bank."