A new report says Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will ink deals with leading payment networks, banks and retailers to help turn its next iPhone iteration, dubbed the iPhone 6, into a digital wallet. The latest update adds further credibility to ongoing rumors that the iPhone will feature a mobile-payment system with the help of Near Field Communications, or NFC.
Apple will partner with Visa Inc (NYSE:V), MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA) and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) to enable payments through its latest phone, and is expected to announce the new mobile-payment service on Sept. 9, alongside the new iPhone, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter.
According to the source, the new mobile-payment system on the iPhone 6 will be powered by an NFC chip, which will be added to the iPhone for the first time. The new chip, along with an improved Touch ID fingerprint sensor, will allow users to pay for items in stores with a mere flick of a finger.
Although companies such as Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) have been trying to create new ways to use phones to make payments at stores, retailers in the U.S. have been slow in adopting the technology. But, Apple's entry into the mobile-payment segment is expected to change that scenario as its iPhones enjoy the largest market share in the U.S., according to Ben Bajarin, an analyst for Creative Strategies LLC in San Jose, California.
The Bloomberg report follows one from Re/code Sunday, which said that American Express is one of several partners that Apple would need to sign up before it launches its new digital wallet plans.
Rumors of Apple introducing NFC functionality in a future iPhone have been around for quite some time now. While there are many NFC-enabled smartphones available in the market, Apple is yet to introduce the technology for its mobile devices. The company has filed for patents that describe mobile-payment systems based on NFC, AppleInsider reported.
Last week, Apple sent out invitations to the media regarding a special event on Sept. 9, when the company is expected to introduce the new iPhone 6 models and its first-ever wearable device, dubbed the “iWatch.”
The event will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, instead of the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, where Apple has held its annual iPhone event for the past few years.