Marks and Spencer plans financial services and loyalty 'superapp'

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is bucking a trend that has seen several UK retailers step away from their banking arms by planning a new financial services 'superapp', according to reports.

A report by Sky News said that HSBC, which owns M&S Bank, is in talks with the retail chain about a new deal that would overhaul its banking business.

Sources said that the long-term goal for M&S is to develop an app that merges payments, financial services, and the Sparks loyalty programme, in a move that could see the retailer taking ownership of the platform.

People familiar with the matter told the news organisation that the ongoing negotiations will likely lead to an agreement before the end of an existing deal between the two companies, which is due over the next few weeks.

One source said that there could be an announcement about the agreement in April.

Retail Systems has approached M&S and HSBC for comment.

The reports come after Barclays announced plans to buy ‘most of’ Tesco Bank in a deal worth around £600 million.

Last month the bank said it would acquire Tesco Bank’s credit cards, loans and savings accounts, marketing Tesco-branded services as part of a partnership for an initial 10-year period.

Tesco meanwhile has retained some services including insurance, ATMs, travel money and gift cards.

In January, Sainsbury's also revealed a phased withdrawal from its core banking business.

The retailer said that financial products it continues to offer in the future will be delivered by financial services providers via a distributed model.

In 2021, M&S Bank announced it would close all of its current accounts and 29 in-store bank branches, moving the business entirely online.

At the time, it said current account closures were driven by a new focus on evolving its credit card and payment offerings.

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