22 August 2014

Apple expected to announce support for NFC and mobile payments

11 April 2014  |  15475 views  |  12 Apple iPhone

Anticipation is mounting that Apple is finally about to join Google in adopting NFC for payments on its mobile devices and up-coming smartwatch.

Ming Chi-Kuo, a KGI securities analyst with a prescient track record in forecasting Apple's plans is the latest to set the hares running. In a note to investors sent out Thursday morning, Chi-Kuo confidently predicts that Apple will include NFC chips in this year's iPhone models, and offer support for the technology on its forthcoming iWatch.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was preparing to take on the likes of Google and PayPal by launching a mobile wallet service for iPhone, iPad and iTunes users.

Citing three unidentified sources, the Journal said that Apple had charged online stores executive Jennifer Bailey with the job of pushing Apple's business into the payment industry.

The report was given further credence by Apple CEO Tim Cook in a January earnings call when he admitted that mobile payments was a business that "intrigued" the company and that it influenced Apple's thinking when developing the TouchID fingerprint scanner.

Comments: (12)

Andrew Smith - CloudZync - London | 11 April, 2014, 11:00

This is the same rumour every 12 months. Is apple expected to follow Google with NFC? You mean pull it from their wallet and look to HCE potentially?

The experience is not where Apple want to be, the fact Tim Cook mentioned TouchID in terms of payments I would suggest proves Apples take on payments is not through NFC...

Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 11 April, 2014, 12:03

There have been some other indirect confirmations of likely NFC presence in iPhone 6 and new iPads (think of POS re the latter). 

As for HCE, Apple are too smart NOT to include Secure Element. 

The real question is: does it matter (now)?.. Yes, Apple are known for their ability to ignite new and reshape old industries, but is NFC on iPhone enough to solve all the business issues that surround mobile payments? Not to mention iPhones intangible market share outside the US, from the perspective of such mass markets as payments and transit.

Mark Carter - Skrill - London | 11 April, 2014, 15:26

They may do this, however, I believe the only reason for doing so is to enable transit-based payments where NFC does have a good use case and traction. I can see tube, bus and train payments carried out this way, but I still believe Apple will address the lucrative mPOS space and in store payments with the smarter iBeacon solution.

Matt Scott - Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH - Bracknell | 11 April, 2014, 19:05

My take on this is Apple have done their homework and come to the conclusion that to avoid substantial deployment costs for merchant to accept an alternate they are prepared to use NFC rails already in place at Merchants (re-use of the same acceptance technology as contact-less cards: many people don't understand this).  I think iBeacons will be used as an additional strand to augment the retail experience with Loyalty and Steered Couponing.  Maybe Passbook will mature into an app that's actually useful - at the moment it is a bit of a white elephant...

Paul Love - Compass Plus - Nottingham | 11 April, 2014, 19:38

I tend to agree Matt.

Apple have waited for the dust to settle on NFC and now that HCE might finally allow mass roll-out, it is ready to make its move.

If it can bring the usual iPhone usabiility to mobile payments then this might actually be the catalyst we are all waiting for.

David Brear - Previously Infosys, Lloyds Banking Group and Aviva - London | 11 April, 2014, 19:51

This is huge and not because of the payments side of this as hoenstly thats not where the benefit is to Apple mainly its the data.

For banks this could spell the begining of the end of the model we know. For the last few years the prospect of big data and data being banks competitive edge could be totally disrupted through Apple being a full intermediary between the customer data and the bank. This disintemediation of banks and their customers will have significant impact on the ways that banks talk to customers, reduce their frequency of logins into internet banks and in turn marketing oppotunity and very much close the door on any data monetisation oppotunities.

I cant wait personally for this. It would be the catalyst to shake up the Digital Banking industry and reduce the banks ability to protect their revenues through size and force.

A Finextra member | 11 April, 2014, 22:11

Aren't there two distinct use case here?

- iOS as an NFC client - contactless payments to a merchant

- iOS as an NFC terminal - allowing a merchant to accept payments on their iPad or iPhone

Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 11 April, 2014, 22:17 You don't need NFC to make/accept payments within Apple's ecosystem (or Android, for that matter). Even EMV specs are now "last inch"-agnostic.
Matt Scott - Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH - Bracknell | 11 April, 2014, 22:18 @Sid - Yes but Apple would probably use the existing iTunes Payment Infrastructure to enable P2P or SME payments. @David - assuming Apple adopts standard NFC the existing rails do not enable rich Line Item Detail in the Authorisation Request-Response exchange. Perhaps EPAS/SEPA Cards Framework will include field support for exchanging XML based Line Item Detail to enable capture and process of this data (outside the realm of closed loop issuer-acquirers),
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 11 April, 2014, 22:24 @Matt - there is no margin in "card on file" payments for Apple, even with tokenization, compared to what they get with apps. And Apple cannot monetise flow like Google. I am not sure what their business model could be, apart from increasing their market share...
James Piggot - Misys - London | 14 April, 2014, 09:28

When my wife turns to me and asks "why can't we pay with our mobile phones" then I know the time has come to take payment by mobile phone seriously! The demand is there all we need is the solution, but NFC enabled phones are already out there and we are still having to tote around an overstuffed wallet full of plastic cards so Apple enabling NFC may not be the solution?

A Finextra member | 14 April, 2014, 09:28

This story makes perfect sense because Apple often integrates 10 year old technology into their phones. If a technology does not take of in the first few years you have to ask yourself why is it so difficult? Remember WAP? Maybe the money to be made just isn't there or the problem changes and there is an easier solution.

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