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The big picture: Apple is reportedly ending its partnership with Goldman Sachs on the Apple Card, a consumer credit card the two companies jointly launched in 2019. Several potential replacements could be in line to take over the Apple account including American Express.
Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Apple recently informed the bank and financial services company of its intent to exit their deal within the next 12 to 15 months. It isn't yet known which company would step in to replace Goldman Sachs, but several possibilities were floated by the publication.
Goldman has reportedly reached out to American Express about handing over the program, but it's unclear how far along talks progressed or if they are still ongoing. Another company, Synchrony Financial, is a name you might not be familiar with. The company specializes in private-label credit cards and is also reportedly interested.
Synchrony Financial actually bid against Goldman for the Apple program before it launched but was unsuccessful. The company already works with a number of high-profile partners including Amazon, Lowe's, Walgreens, PayPal, and Verizon, just to name a few.
The WSJ sees the development as a setback for both Apple and Goldman. Apple wanted the program to help bolster its services business, and it could still do that if it finds the right next partner. Goldman, meanwhile, was interested in expanding its services to the consumer space but has now reportedly decided to refocus on its core clients.
Earlier this month, Goldman told some employees it would soon look to find a new issuer for its General Motors credit card. In October, it agreed to sell off its home-improvement loan business GreenSky at a substantial loss.
The Journal noted several issues between Apple and Goldman that could have led to the breakup. Early on, Apple ran ads claiming the card wasn't from a bank which bothered some Goldman executives. Cupertino also insisted that cardholders receive their bill at the beginning of the each month, which put a lot of pressure on Goldman customer service reps that had to deal with a surge in calls each month. Normally, credit card companies spread out bills to avoid this type of chaos.
Some Goldman execs are also said to be perturbed at recent regulatory scrutiny over its credit card practices, and blame Apple for it.