Tim Cook is set to speak ahead of President Obama today at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity at Stanford University, and the White House has already shared some unexpected news regarding government support for Apple Pay. As noted by Bloomberg, the White House announced that federal-payment cards will support Apple Pay, including debit cards where veteran benefits and Social Security payments are issued.
“The White House announced Friday that Apple Inc.’s mobile-payment system will be enabled for users of federal-payment cards, including Social Security and veterans benefits that are paid out via debit cards. The deal includes the Direct Express payment network and government cards issued through GSA SmartPay, which handles more than 87.4 million transaction worth $26.4 billion each year, according to the General Services Administration.”
The endorsement of Apple Pay by the federal government is a nod to the mobile payment service’s enhanced security features.
Apple Pay allows users to make contactless payments over NFC in place of swiping a debit or credit card using either the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Payments are authorized by a user’s fingerprint using the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner. With the release of the Apple Watch in April, Apple Pay in retail stores will also be available for iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s users.
Rather than using the actual credit or debit card number, Apple Pay relies upon a unique Device Account Number stored securely on the iPhone or Apple Watch to avoid sharing personal information with merchants.
Below is the official statement from the White House:
Apple, Visa, MasterCard, Comerica Bank and U.S. Bank are committed to working together to make Apple Pay, a tokenized, encrypted service, available for users of federal payment cards, including DirectExpress and GSA SmartPay cards.
Apple Pay is currently supported by more than 60 banks and credit unions with both merchants and apps accepting payments using the mobile payment service.