I suspect this is at least as much about anticipating the need to compete with Facebook's payment services as it is about traditional bank co-opetition
"“They’re not just competing in Apple Pay, but they are [also] opening up features only for the Apple Card that other banks can’t leverage,” McKee said.Apple’s new credit card means the tech giant is now battling the same banks that built Apple Pay | Recode
Still, it’s tough to want to shed tears for America’s big banks. They have a history of making big money by selling your data so marketers have a new contact to hawk their services or wares. They’ve also collectively made fortunes by charging sometimes-usurious penalty interest rates and other late fees. It seems, at least initially, as though Apple is taking a shot directly at the industry by prioritizing privacy with no data sharing or selling, as well as biometric authentication. The card also carries no fees and no penalty interest rates.
For years, Apple downplayed the idea that it would ever compete with the banks. After all, Apple need those credit cards so consumers could utilize Apple Pay. Now, Apple is establishing itself as a competitor in financial services. And it feels like just the beginning."