We may finally have a reason for why Apple Stores and some other stores are installing new NFC payment hardware ahead of the iPhone 6 launch. Apple is reportedly planning on implementing a security feature called tokenzation in the system, which removes the necessity to transmit account numbers or other critical personal details wirelessly (via Bank Innovation).
This tokenization system employs secure codes become useless after being used once. That boosts security by ensuring that any information captured by nefarious third-parties doesn’t give them access to your account or money. However, not all NFC payment terminals can accept this type of payment.
In order to support the iPhone 6, stores will need to upgrade to point-of-sale systems that will function with these tokens. That’s likely why Apple has upgraded its in-store systems and McDonald’s restaurants are receiving new terminals for rollout around the time of the device’s launch despite some stores already supporting NFC payments, while a few other retailers rumored to be on board with Apple’s system are installing NFC terminals for the first time.