Apple Wallet has long been a hub for organizing everything from credit cards to boarding passes. Now, in a groundbreaking move, the app will display the user’s current bank account balance, courtesy of a new integration with the United Kingdom’s Open Banking API. This feature aims to make users more financially aware, helping them decide whether they can responsibly afford a purchase when using Apple Pay.

How it Works

The new integration, part of the upcoming iOS 17 developer beta, will initially be available to a subset of Wallet app users in the UK who have an Apple Pay credit or debit card linked with a supporting bank. The list of supporting banks includes Barclays, Lloyds, RBS, and Starling. Users can authorize the integration securely through the Wallet app using a familiar OAuth flow. In line with Apple’s stringent privacy standards, all data retrieved will be stored solely on the user’s device.

Open Banking: The Backbone of the Integration

Open Banking is a UK initiative designed to foster innovation, transparency, and competition in the financial services sector. It serves as a framework for securely sharing financial data between banks and third-party providers via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This standardization makes the UK a fertile ground for such a feature, one that would be much more challenging to implement in regions like the United States, lacking a similar open banking infrastructure.

Why This is Big News

The ability to view your bank balance right within the Apple Wallet app represents a significant step toward financial awareness and inclusion. Open Banking has already shown its impact in the UK, with 11.4 million open banking payments recorded in July 2023 alone. Apple’s integration extends the benefits of this transformative technology directly to consumers, empowering them to make more informed financial decisions.

Future Implications

While this feature is currently exclusive to the UK, it sets a precedent that could inspire similar functionality in other regions, especially as open banking standards become more widespread. It also adds another layer to Apple Wallet’s already robust feature set, which includes Apple Pay, loyalty and rewards cards, and even digital car keys.

Final Thoughts

As tech companies continue to integrate financial services into their ecosystems, the line between tech and finance is blurring. With Apple Wallet now offering real-time bank balance information to users in the UK, the app is not just a digital wallet but also a tool for financial awareness.