Apple is planning on entering the mobile payment space.
According to a conference call held by Apple CEO Tim Cook, mobile payments were one of the main reasons for the iPhone 5s’ fingerprint ID sensor. Cook also mentioned the success Apple has seen from iOS users who choose to place iTunes and AppStore payments by using the security feature.
Apple executives have been rumored to be meeting with payment professionals on entering the industry as a payment method. While nothing has been confirmed by Apple, some recent patent filings paired with the overwhelming amount of transactions placed through iOS devices this last holiday season shows Apple taking payments very seriously.
“You can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition that it’s a big opportunity on the platform,” Cook said.
Beyond iTunes content and applications, Apple does not offer payments for physical goods, or any goods not sold directly through them for that matter. Main rival Google has been offering a payment solution for quite some time with Google Wallet, although the payment service never really caught on with online and offline merchants.
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Apple has already setup a payments division at its Cupertino headquarters. Cook did mention Apple will not limit the ID feature to only mobile transactions, although as of right now the main feature of the finger ID scanner is to unlock the phone and purchase Apple content. Currently, for security reasons, the source-code for the ID scanner is not made available to developers, so trying to implement its secure elements for external payment methods is not an option. Apple has also never implemented the NFC standard in any of its devices.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia