20 September 2014

Apple circles payments with TouchID

03 June 2014  |  8964 views  |  8 Apple iPhone

Apple has announced a new Touch ID API which will allow app developers to use fingerprint authentication for mobile payments and other applications

Introduced by SVP Craig Federighi at Apple's big developer event in San Francisco, the forthcoming release of iOS 8 will include Touch ID APIs enabling developers to securely authenticate users within apps, protect logins and user data, and unlock keychain items.

Previously limited to unlocking an iPhone 5s and making purchases through iTunes and the App Store, the release of the new feature for third party software developers provides a logical progression for the removal of password protection across a range of applications, including payments.

Almost immediately after Federighi made his announcement, executives, bloggers and other pundits who cover the financial services industry began commenting about the implications for mobile payments. Benedict Evans, partner at Andreessen Horowitz said via Twitter:

Mobile POS firm CardFlight jumped on the news to announce an upgrade to its applications in support of the new technology as iOS 8 is released, scheduled for this fall. With the upgrade to CardFlight's SwipeSimple product, merchants will have the option to login to their mobile payment application via scanning their fingerprint using Touch ID, rather than entering the traditional email address and password.

"The proliferation of tablets and smartphones is rapidly changing the payments industry," says Derek Webster, founder and CEO of CardFlight. "We're proud to be at the forefront of that shift in bringing new and innovative mobile payment technologies to market."

Comments: (8)

David Brear - Previously Infosys, Lloyds Banking Group and Aviva - London | 03 June, 2014, 10:01

Another chess move and all the pieces are in place for September with opening this API and knods to broader capability like the Familiy Share mode which will work well for authentication of payments etc. Glad i wasnt disapointed last night and having had a play with iOS8 and Yosemite this morning im pretty impressed. 


Feels like Apple are on the up again.

Matt Scott - Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH - Bracknell | 03 June, 2014, 10:54

It felt, to me, like a series of "non-announcements".  Hopefully September 2014 will be prime-time but after yesterday’s disappointment I will not be holding my breath.  What was I expecting?  iPhone 6, NFC and some sort of Payments Ecosystem.  What did we get?  A few more pretty UI features, a Health App and just another cloud storage app.  Oh and probably more obsolescence of iOS devices not supported by the latest update...


David Brear - Previously Infosys, Lloyds Banking Group and Aviva - London | 03 June, 2014, 13:58

Matt - You got exactly what you were hoping for but they havent buddled it up into something and put a name on it yet! Its WWDC not the customer facing sales pitch. That will come later in the year.


With exposing the touch API (local authenticatin for apps both 1st and 3rd party), with setting up family sharing (remote authentication process), with creating the integration of devices to macs (iphone auth for payments etc) they have all the pieces in place to launch the iPhone 6 in September with everything you have stated you wanted.


To boot they have fixed a bunch of issues with OSX and iOS which work really really well as well as introduced some great features not to mention a new programming language which seems like its going to make life alot simpler!


All in all this was a pretty dam good WWDC.

Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 03 June, 2014, 21:11

I agree with David - core pieces for payments are there. However, having said that, it might be the case that Apple will not move into payments, after all... There are conflicting signals from major industry players in that respect.

Apple are not interested in 0.5-1% margins; they are not interested in ecosystem which they don't control; etc etc etc.

Hence, they could have changed the business model by allowing others to develop payments solutions (API for TouchID is a big step in that direction). That will allow Apple to sell more h/w and apps - which is their core business.


David Brear - Previously Infosys, Lloyds Banking Group and Aviva - London | 03 June, 2014, 22:30

Hey Alex - I agree i dont think Apple are really that interested in the payments piece of this mix as they dont stand to gain from it that much but what it facilitates is what they stand to gain.

By introducing this system they can totally disintermediate the banks from their customers and in turn gain a huge depth of data on their customers behaviours and habits. This can then by monetised and used to deliver personalised experiences the likes of which have been scifi to date using beacons and other capability.

Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 03 June, 2014, 22:33

I missed the "no banks" bit... That's where the money sits, isn't it?.. :)

It's like disintermediating MNOs from mobile telecom, to a degree... They run the rails.

Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 04 June, 2014, 13:21

To paraphrase the old saying about America's influence on the rest of the world, when Apple sneezes, fanboys would like the whole world to catch cold. After a gap of 3-4 years, we’ll see scifi statements like “mobile payments will disintermediate banks” making a comeback. I hope these tall claims won’t steadily get watered down, as they did the last time around, to "mobile payments will kill plastic", "mobile commerce is mobile payments" and, eventually, “mobile payments are invisible”. Despite funding accounts in iTunes being held in banks and card processing inside iTunes happening on banking rails, a lot of people will find reason to believe that Apple will disintermediate banks. Hope they’re right this time - I’m tired of paying with the same old cash, cheque and plastic and could do with some new mode of payment now.

Robin Setty - ACI Worldwide (EMEA) Limited - Watford | 06 June, 2014, 16:53

@Alexander - Not all of the money is sitting with the banks though, is it?  When the wallet is 'topped up', that money is with the likes of Apple etc...and very nice it is for them too! So, disintermediation of the banks, in the sense that they are performing the 'top-up' transactions, rather than the mutiple payments from those top-ups.

And now with the biometric authentication of those payments.......hmmm


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