Apple reportedly strikes deal with Amex, Visa and MasterCard to bring mobile payments to the iPhone

Ian Hardy

August 31, 2014 1:06pm

As the days get closer to Apple unveiling its next round of products, a few more details have surfaced regarding its mobile payments initiative.

Previous rumours hinted that Apple would finally include NFC (Near Field Communications) into the upcoming iPhone 6. According to reports from Re/Code and The Information, Apple has inked deals with American Express and Visa to bring forth a mobile payment option to iPhone users. Unfortunately, the specifics of how it operates are missing and there is no indication of how Apple plans to integrate with Passbook, iTunes, or Touch ID into the rumoured payment system.

Traditionally, a digital credit card would be pre-loaded onto the device and users would need to sign up and register before making payments from mobile device. Other competing manufacturers, such as Google, Samsung, and BlackBerry have offers various NFC-enabled mobile payment services for a few years.

Update: Bloomberg has posted a similar report today that echoes the news of Apple partnering with American Express and Visa, but also now adds in MasterCard. The “person familiar with the situation” stated that Apple will unveil its mobile wallet plans on September 9th and “the new iPhone will make mobile payment easier by including a near-field communication chip for the first time.”

  • Jared S

    Visa and American Express are a great start for card support, but what really matters is how Apple’s NFC system works better than what is out there now. Why should people use their NFC system?

    • Ulysses Grant

      Apple is going to make NFC system works right. Although NFC technology has been around for a while, people have no idea what to use it for.

    • Jared S

      Although Apple has a track record of taking an existing concept and making it better and mainstream, is NFC that flawed right now that Apple can make people want to buy an iPhone for their vision of NFC? I am skeptical, but I would not put it past Apple.

    • Rio

      It’s not that it is flawed, it’s that no one as taken a big enough iniative to make it wildly available.

    • Thomas Christensen

      I know what to do, so do a lot of people. There are several NFC payment solutions around – Visa Paywave, Google Wallet to name a few – but somehow it wasn’t good enough for the banks and they wouldn’t/couldn’t come up with anything themselves. Now Apple rolls in on their tricycle and NOW it’s suddenly worth paying attention to? It’s pathetic. Especially if Apple makes sure this payment system only works from an iPhone – one of the main arguments against NFC was that there wasn’t enough phones out there with NFC and they were all Androids – as we all know, iPhone perpetually has the greatest market share (according to the media), no matter how the real life numbers look. But even with a defacto declining market share of the iPhone, the big players in finance choose to gamble their money on one single new phone that noone has yet, instead of rolling out something for the phones already on the market – all top/mainstream Android phones since 2011 has NFC, all Windows Phone (Lumia) too! Why? Because the top bosses in finance all have iPhone, they want the new one and naturally that has to work with NFC payments. Then to hell with the 85% of their users, who has a phone running Android…

    • It’s Me

      Wtf was all of that?
      Do you really, honestly believe that the “top bosses” in finance, that want to make money, are turning away all that android money because of the phones they own?

      Complete nonsense, start to finish.

    • Thomas Christensen

      I know it’s a bit of a conspiracy theory – but what other logical explanation is there, to repeatedly turn down rolling out any of the current NFC payment systems, that have already been tried and tested – then suddenly because it’s Apple (re)inventing NFC, then everyone’s on board? It just doesn’t fly, especially because they’re only bringing one phone with NFC to the table. One of the top financial bosses in my country said that he didn’t believe in NFC payments using phones, that they had more faith in iBeacon being used in a future system. He said that knowing, that no iPhone (at that time) had NFC, but all Android phones that came to market since 2011 has it. It’s too much of a coincidence to not be a deliberate choice of support, of a specific platform – one that has a shrinking market share even – when clearly the right thing to do was to start with the one with the biggest market share. But some people still has this obsession with iPhone and there’s still this strange consensus, that there can only be one, and everything else is inferior. Clearly I like Android better, but not in the fanboy way – I want diversity, I want all platforms to be treated equally or at least according to their share of the market, but most of all I want open standards, not proprietary closed standards that are available exclusively on certain platforms – especially a platform that (still) gets too much attention, compared to their share of market.

    • It’s Me

      Guess it’s perspective. From mine it looks like there are lots of options. As you said, google, visa. In some cases banks have partnered up with some carriers. So one problem is fragmentation. Whether you can even use it depends on your bank, your OEM and then the retailer. Which might be a cause of the second, lack of consumer usage. While some early adopters are on board and excited to use it, I just don’t see or hear of many people using NFC payments from their phones.

    • Richard Wangly

      What’s awful is that the systems they do have in the US (Google Wallet and ISIS) are far from ideal, but even they would be preferable to what we have. Being tied to particular carrier to use NFC through a particular card is bad enough, but this whole NFC SIM card scheme is ridiculous. Android has HCE, use it!

    • It’s Me

      Seems like they are waiting for one consolidated system and no one has brought that yet really. Walmart, in a consortium, is developing their own platform. Other retailers might then be sitting on the sidelines waiting for it to all shake out, because they don’t want to end up stuck with having invested in a system that doesn’t end up as the defacto standard.

    • marorun1982

      agreed.
      As i said in my previous reply to richard.. as long as its available on all carriere , all cellphone OEM and OS. bring it on!

    • marorun1982

      Any exclusivity crap is bad.

      Exclusivity for a carrier for a phone model orm NFC payement is crap!

      ofcourse we want a consolidated system one thats will work with all OEM and all Carriere no matter what phone brand and OS you use.

    • marorun1982

      Been using it since 2011 here but yeah not many ppl.

    • marorun1982

      Got to agree on what you saying here.
      I also like to have choices of devices when i change phone.

      Anything lock to one platform or another is for me a big fail. Just like phone model exclusivity to a carrier.

    • ShaBi

      Imagination is strong with this one. Talk about overreacting to unverified rumors.

    • Thomas Christensen

      Very strong indeed! I’m so very fed up with this Apple obsession that keeps infecting everything – people should be able to choose whatever platform they wish – what platform media/gaming app developers choose to develop for is what it is, but important functions like how we’re going to pay for stuff in the future should be based on open standards that aren’t tied to the tech of one single company.

    • ShaBi

      Why is it that when Apple is implementing a feature, there’s always some other major company/system/service that will back it and support it on day one? But why is it that when everyone else do the same, almost always there’s no real support or structure to go along with it? Has it ever crossed your mind that Apple actually tries and come up with ways together with other major players in the industry before they roll out a product, so people can actually make use of it on day one? Has it ever crossed your mind that other companies did not have the initiative and approach the other major players to do something together, only caring about their sales and market shares, and just include a feature just so they can say they have it? Because clearly this is what’s happening, and has been this way for a long long time.

    • MXH070

      If you are under the impression Apple is solely doing this for the greater good for the mobile industry so NFC mobile payment is adopted you are drunk on the Apple koolaid…… Apple jumped on NFC bandwagon as there original plans have tanked on ibecon as the market shifted to using NFC as a industry standard “finally” for mobile payment at this time. Apple didn’t want to lose market share for not having this feature so they made the move over to NFC after years of saying NFC isn’t the future blah blah blah……. Android and BlackBerry have had mobile payments features since 2011,but the carriers had it locked down and wouldn’t allow it as they were looking for ways to make a profits from the users of this feature, fast forward to 2014 and now the carriers partnered up with the banks to bleed us the consumer some more $ for the convenience for us to spend our money.

    • ShaBi

      For the good of the industry? Please, I’m not that naive to believe ANY of these companies are doing that. They are all businesses, and are all in it for the money. I’m saying Apple at least is trying to push things forward rather than just simply having NFC as a feature. And since when did NFC became a standard? It just started to “finally” get some traction. Apple never said NFC is not the future, but rather it was not ready to be adopted. “carriers partnered up with the banks to bleed us the consumer some more $ for the convenience for us to spend our money.” That’s funny, I choose to spend money on what I want. Making it more convenient doesn’t mean I have to spend more. Man, just cause you say something not against Apple, people automatically thinks you’re drinking Apple kool-aid. If I’m drunk on the kool-aid, then you’re hung over from the haterade. Get a grip.

    • It’s Me

      Nonsense and FUD. You guys keep bringing up iBeacon as though Apple said it would be used for payments instead of NFC. That never happened.

      What did happen was Apple said they would implement NFC if and when they were ready and the infrastructure was ready.

      What market share do you think they were afraid to use? Those millions and millions of people not using NFC?

    • marorun1982

      Yeah? then Apple wont mind to lets every others OS use the same solution right? They wont care to loose some money right?

      Always two side to a medal!

    • marorun1982

      Fully agreed!

    • http://about.me/daniellui Daniel Lui

      You seem to have forgotten that all BlackBerry 10 phones currently on the market also have NFC technology in them that allow for NFC payments.

    • marorun1982

      Strange RBC been doing NFC payement on android and blackberry since at least 1 year…
      Work perfectly!

      Funny..

    • marorun1982

      No offense but NFC work pretty well been using it since a year to pay all my stuff.

      Never had any glitch or bug.

    • It’s Me

      One possible and significant improvement that has been rumoured would be to avoid ever transmitting the actual account information before, during or after the payment. The rumour is that, instead, a disposable token would be transmitted from the phone to the payment system and from there to the credit card system. The card data itself could then not be compromised by an intercept nor lifted from the store systems (as happened with Target). If an token is compromised then a new token can be issued to the phone and the card info itself is still intact and secure.

      That was the gist of the rumoured system apple and visa were working on anyway.

      Another part of it was the the card/token info would be stored within a secured enclave on the processor instead of in memory and there fore only accessible to the OS and not to any apps. Apps would therefore have to access the API instead of the card info/token, much like their finger print system works.

    • Richard Wangly

      The existing systems from Visa/Mastercard/etc. are not inherently insecure, but the implementation is, due to these companies skimping on complexity. For example, when you tap your credit card on a reader, a challenge is sent to it, and to pass the card must return the correct answer. But they have it set up so that the response is only a few digits long, meaning if your card can be read by someone near you, they can generate all possible responses in about 1 minute – which may allow their device to pose as your card.

      Anyway. The ability to keep the process secure is already there, it’s absolute laziness and the guarantee that “you’re covered in the case of any fraudulent activity” that keeps this from being true.

    • marorun1982

      Interesting.

      As long as the Geek squad from Governement agency dont get hacked.
      Because dont forget there is an official backdoor in all ios product for them to access..

      So lets say the nsa guy get is computer hacked… they use it to access the backdoor… Bang you have problems.

      Nothing is foolproof in this world.

    • marorun1982

      Because its Apple :)

  • DTangaSmall

    Not that I think it will be like this at launch, but my hope one day is to be able to leave my wallet at home and make my payments all through my mobile device.

    At this time, the risk of having my battery die, or the chance that the retailer won’t have support for these payments is what is currently holding me back. I hope that Apple’s ability to influence companies to adopt this system changes that. I also hope the iPhone 6 has stellar battery life.

    • ShaBi

      When that day comes, i hope you have a chain tied to your phone so you don’t lose it. And I hope you also have a car and is driving that day.

  • FlamesFan89

    Apple or Android, it doesn’t matter who has NFC and who doesn’t in North America, the reality is, on this side of the globe, we are woefully behind the times.

    I remember seeing shows on the Discovery Channel many years ago about how the Japanese were paying for things in vending machines, for their public transit, and in retail stores with their phones. This was before anyone had a “smartphone”.

    It’s sad how behind we are.

    • ShaBi

      The Japanese also had 3G since 1998 and commercialized it in 2001, along with video calling, waaaaay before FaceTime. In Hong Kong, there’s a card called Octopus, which people keep in their wallet/bag. It’s initially for public transits such as buses, trains, and subways, and then it was widely adopted to support convenient stores like 7-11. It’s a NFC-like smart card payment system that started in Hong Kong since 1997 to date. Everyone (and I mean everyone) has one there, and people would rather forget to bring their wallets than the Octopus card. Just so you know how behind we really are.

    • Abdi Mohamed

      Wow…….

    • Pigs Can Fly

      Japan is the technology capital of the world, always has been for such a long time, people walked around the streets with cell phones in Japan almost a decade before we did.

      Oh and I LOVE their transit system.

    • marorun1982

      Asian are using NFC on Android phone since its came out.
      Its mainstream over there..

  • Martin Chan

    Done. NFC payments are now a thing.
    I’m not going to lie. They do things properly. NFC payments tried to be a thing on Android and BB10 but once this comes, t’ll work.

    • marorun1982

      Allready work perfectly well.
      you need to make more research.
      Asian ppl been using nfc actively on android since its came out.

  • Mayoo

    Confirms my theory. Android innovates but world knows it exists only when Apple does it. Because ignorance.

    • Jared S

      Or just a poor job of marketing. Not everybody is technically in-tune.

    • It’s Me

      Marketing, implementing, infrastructure building, partner making. You know, basic things for innovating a new payment system that people might actually use.

    • It’s Me

      Your theory is flawed. Android didn’t innovate anything with NFC. Including NFC was hardly rocket science. If they had been innovative when implementing it, maybe more people would actually be using it. Just sticking it in the phone isn’t exactly an innovation…otherwise monkeys innovate with sh•t against a wall everyday.

    • realitycheck

      yea, NFC was just another tacked on feature

    • marorun1982

      Android NFC payement is mainstream in Asian country since its came out lol.

      It is also still only here in north america thats Iphone is so popular ( with exception of china as they where finally put in the country who receive it first but even so over 80% are android over there too )

      NFC is just a tool.

      In Asia and even europe they are using it a lots its just us in north america we need to be told when to evolve.

    • marorun1982

      The world been using nfc since a long time lol.
      Asian since its came out on android and even before on others supports.

  • Buzz88

    So now that the jesus phone is getting NFC It’ll all of a sudden be the best thing ever, just like bigger screens. I’ve been using my phone to make NFC Payments for a year now, not to mention sharing pictures and documents. Once again crApple is trailing the competition but the rats will continue to scurry into stores and scoop them up.

    • realitycheck

      lol you sound like the guy that kept claiming the atrix had a finger print sensor before the iphone 5s. give it up… Current NFC solutions are being adopted way too SLOW, not to mention the lack of innovation surrounding the technology.

    • marorun1982

      If they make it exclusive to ios device its will not grow much ( beside in north america )

      We need a solution available to all carrier , bank and OS.

  • davesousa

    I don’t know if I trust Apple with my credit card data. They cant even keep my dick pics safe from hacking.

    • marorun1982

      Well its okay its really safe you know.
      No one can access your data beside : all governement agency who have a nice backdoor to your information in your ios device or can retry to access your account 20000 time in a row with bad password and still be able to continue trying password lol.

  • Pigs Can Fly

    No thanks, I’m perfectly fine with just pulling out my physical card. Internet security is still fairly far behind.