A recent update to its mPOS system and a reported agreement with China UnionPay shows technology behemoth Apple following suite with its direct competitors and is adding NFC support for mobile payments.
A major update to Apple’s EasyPay mobile payment system is currently being rolled out in the US. The newest features being added to the system, primarily the addition of NFC, are not relevant to Apple’s current line up smartphones, the iPhone 5c and flagship iPhone 5s. However Apple’s current crop of device can benefit from secure contactless payments with the aid of an add-on.
The NFC function can be used on current 5, 5s, and 5c devices with the aid of an NFC adaptor case by Verifone. The support for Verifone is currently implemented on Apple’s system, and will first be supported at Apple’s chain of retail stores. Other companies have come in to fill the void until Apple decides to incorporate NFC in its iPhones. mPOS firm Isis has already developed an NFC powered case to be used at its point-of-sales.
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A recent agreement with China UnionPay for integration into its current payment app Passbook also points to a future NFC venture for Apple. Through China UnionPay Apple devices will be able to place mobile payments through over 3 million QuickPass mPOS stations around China. QuickPass is primarily used by NFC powered devices, and just adds more reason for Apple to add the feature in the next-gen iPhone.
Payment data security is a main concern for Apple. Chip-and-pin (EMV) card support for Verifone’s product has been added. In addition, the fingerprint scanner located on the home button of the iPhone 5s has been confirmed to be intended for upcoming payment options, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Although slightly late to the party, Apple seems to be going full steam ahead for future contactless payments on upcoming devices. Given the slow adoption rate of NFC in the US and Apple’s penchant for perfectionism, we expect the big A’s new payment features to be at least on par with competitors like Google Wallet and PayPal.