We have been hearing on and off about Apple preparing itself to enter the mobile payments domain. The news only got stronger with Wall Street Journal reporting that Apple is indeed looking at ways of expanding its mobile payment space where users will be able to make purchases of physical goods via their existing iTunes accounts.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Eddy Cue who is a senior vice-president of Internet software and services at Apple has met with “industry executives” to discuss and prepare itself for handling a wide-reaching payments system for physical goods and services. In a bid to push the efforts, Apple has reportedly made some internal movements with Jennifer Bailey who was a VP of online stores moving into a role that focuses on building a payments business.
Online purchases is not new for Apple, the company already allows users who frequent their retail stores to purchase Apple accessories and goods through the Apple store app where the users can scan the barcodes of products which is then authenticated using their iTunes store account. So far Apple has limited the purchases within the Apple ecosystem. The company is already on the road towards mobile payments with features such as Passbook where users can store event tickets, coupons and loyalty cards on their handsets.
The recently introduced Touch ID for iPhone 5s that acts as a secondary authentication system has moved Apple closer to building a payment system around the iOS framework. TouchID along with iBeacons could help Apple to build a device-based mobile transaction solution. Recently Apple filed a patent that allows its devices to securely store and authorise payment purchases without giving out sensitive user information.
Apple’s plans are not very clear at this point of time. The company has however proved time and again that it is willing to wait for the right opportunity to enter the market. If Apple does decide to position itself into the mobile payments domain which is estimated to become a $90 billion market by 2017, it could change the dynamics of the top players which include Square and PayPal.
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