Apple's iWallet mobile money app could be the start of a more general trend that sees web giants such as Facebook pushing into the payment industry, according to online payment experts.
iWallet would give iPhone-toting consumers the ability to pay for goods with their smartphones. It is predicted to use the firm's Touch ID fingerprint sensor to verify a customer's identity and could be launched in the autumn alongside Apple's iPhone 6. Visa has already signed up as payment-processing partner, the Daily Mail reports.
The newest Jesus phone iteration, the iPhone 6, is rumoured to contain a "secure element" to store such sensitive data. Other payment platforms – such as mobile payments rival Google Wallet – use NFC. The latest Android phones all ship the tech – which enables "Pay by Bonk" – as standard. But most reports speculate that Apple will offer their contactless payments in a "bonk-free" manner – via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and a second interface.
Making payment through mobile devices offers consumers increased convenience, with market watchers predicting an explosion in the market over the next few years.
The contactless payments market is projected to increase from $3bn to $10bn by 2018, thanks to drivers such as host card emulation (HCE) and the predicted popularity of Apple iWallet, according to market analysts Juniper Research, NFC World reports.
"The internet has hugely changed how the payment industry works, and the digitisation of cash has become the norm," said Philipp Nieland, chief exec at the PPRO Group, which specialises in payment services.
"We have seen a rise in the use of eWallets and digital currencies like Bitcoins over the past couple of years – we are now seeing the likes of Google, MasterCard and Facebook creating their own eWallets to make payments easier for their customers. It is vital that companies such as MasterCard and even Apple jump on this bandwagon in order to not risk losing ground against young, fast moving and highly financed competitors," Nieland added. ®