Apple gets into bed with AmEx and Visa on mobile payments service

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014

PAYPHONE?: Will the next generation of iPhone come with new payment features?

New reports claim that a new virtual wallet is almost certainly going to be one of the iPhone's biggest new features.

According to Re/Code, "Apple has reached an agreement with American Express to work together on its new iPhone payments system" and the new feature will enable owners to make digital payments in physical stores without a credit or debit card. 

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook has made no secret of his desire to do something innovative or creative with the 500 million+ iTunes accounts with connected credit cards at his company's disposal.

No to mention, the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5S -- the company's current flagship smartphone, launched 12 months ago -- was seen by many as the first step towards Apple moving into mobile payments, allowing consumers to use their handsets in lieu of a physical wallet, cash or credit card.

In July, The Information reported that Apple had been in negotiations for some time with a host of credit card companies and retailers about bringing a virtual wallet service to the next iPhone. 

In recent weeks reports have also surfaced claiming that the next iPhone will be the first to incorporate Near Field Technology (NFC), a form of secure wireless connectivity that is already used in a host of European debit and credit cards for making contactless, PIN-free, swipe-free, signature-free payments for smaller amount.

Following Re/Code's report, Bloomberg claimed that Apple has also finalised details with MasterCard, Visa and a number of banks and prominent retailers.

Despite a growing number of companies, from Google to Square and PayPal, already attempting to offer consumers in the U.S. a virtual alternative to cold, hard cash, mobile payments and digital wallets are not catching on.

A number of analysts have blamed this lack of consumer interest on the fact that Apple -- the maker of the most popular smartphone in the US and therefore the largest potential customer base -- isn't offering a service.

However, all of that could be about to change as the company has an event planned for September 9, where it is expected to reveal the iPhone 6.—AFP/Relaxnews 2014 

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