The report says the service may launch this fall, enabling iPhone users to pay for goods with their devices in retail outlets. Apple has apparently discussed the plans with credit card institutions, according to the report, as a user’s banking information “would essentially be uploaded to the wallet”. Apparently, Visa is already onboard with the project.
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According to the report, new phones will include a ‘secure element’ to store such sensitive data. Unsurprisingly, the service will also run without any intervention by carriers.
Apple has told some partners its system would involve a so-called secured element in the phones—a piece of hardware where sensitive information such as a phone owner’s financial credentials can be stored. The company also aims to run the system without giving up any control to wireless carriers.
9to5Mac reported that Apple had made several key hires for a payments service a few months ago, including a former senior director of Visa.
While Apple’s discussions with retailers appear preliminary, separate sources confirm that Apple has begun work on the iTunes-based iPhone payments service internally. The project is said to be led by former Apple Online Store chief Jennifer Bailey, and Bailey has formed a team around former managers from various iTunes and mobile hardware projects. Bailey has also hired multiple executives from the payments world to work on the future service. Tommy Elliot, a former senior director for Visa (and the Visa-acquired Cybersource payments company), joined Apple earlier this year to work on the project. Andrew McCarthy, a former top mobile payments executive for J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, and various engineering managers from payments companies such as eBay have also joined Apple.
It seems likely that the payments service would tie in with Touch ID, to enable seamless purchasing. The Information says Apple may rely on short-range Bluetooth and WiFi to enable the transfer, rather than NFC, which most competing mobile payment services today have adopted technologically.
You can read the full report over at The Information.