Several sources have stated that technology giant Apple is ready to launch its own iPhone mobile payment service, following discussions with a number of major financial companies including both Visa and Mastercard.
Exact details of the system, or how it will work, are obviously not known, such is the nature of speculation and rumour. However, it seems likely that it would finally mean the introduction of NFC capabilities to the iPhone, allowing users to be able to swipe or thrust their phone at cashiers in order to pay for a purchase.
The new system would be unlikely to rival the likes of PayPal but may be geared towards taking a slice of the Google Wallet market. Considering the fact that Apple is already in possession of millions of users’ credit card details, the move could be swift and it could open the door to an expanse of payment options and payment methods in the future.
NFC payment solutions, or swipe to pay systems, have not set the world alight. People are used to using their bank cards, there is an inherent belief that swipe to pay systems are not as secure as chip and pin payments, and swiping your phone at the card machine isn’t always a convenient or viable option. As a result, consumers are still more inclined to pay using their card, or using reliable cash.
However, Apple dares to tread where other companies have stuttered and many others have failed and the launch of an Apple payment system could well represent the biggest change to the Apple structure since Tim Cook took over the reins.
Near Field Communication, or NFC, is required in order for swipe payments to work, and this is a feature that has been rumoured with virtually every iPhone release since the iPhone 4. While it has not yet materialised, the salivating prospect of becoming a major player in consumer payments could be enough to tempt the company to include it in the next device.
At the other end of the transaction are the Bluetooth receives that need to be installed in shops and at payment terminals. Google, as well as a host of other companies, failed to convince early adopters to invest in what was an expensive technology at the time, but since the launch of Google Wallet in 2011, many of those shops now have the technology ready and waiting. Google Wallet essentially failed, but Apple could once again benefit from jumping on the belated bandwagon.