CUPERTINO, California - Apple has initiated a partnership with three major payment networks to turn its next iPhone into a mobile wallet, according to reports by Bloomberg, citing a source familiar with the matter.
The agreement reportedly includes the big three payments networks Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Official confirmation of the new feature of the iPhone will only be available on September 9th when the new generation of the smartphone is released.
The mobile wallet feature of the iPhone will make payments easier by including a near-field communication chip for the first time. That advancement will be tied-in with the new Touch ID capability of the phone, allowing users to make payments in stores with the touch of a finger.
Apple is not the first to invest in the technology, Google has for several years been exploring ways for mobile phones to be used to make physical payments at retail outlets, but pick up of the technology by retailers in the US has been slow, limiting its usability, while consumer confidence in the security of such payment methods is also lacking.
However, because iPhone have the largest marketshare of the US smartphone sector, there is an expectation among industry observers that the new technology may now become more popular if integrated into the new iPhone.
The move by Apple to create a mobile phone that can be used as a wallet is part of an effort to keep users within the Apple ecosystem, say analysts. Apple already has some 800-million iTunes users' financial information registered, creating clear synergies that will enable Apple to generate more revenue.