So amidst the now-customary fanfare, yesterday Apple launched the two latest versions of the iPhone 5 – the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.
It was eagerly awaited by technophiles around the world to see what would come next, and features such as fingerprint recognition will cause a fair amount of excitement I’m sure. But for those of us in the payment space, we were waiting to see if Apple would,
finally, put NFC in the iPhone. And once again, we have a new phone but not a sign of NFC.
So why not?
Contactless cards have seen great levels of success and almost every day sees more statistics coming out about their uptake around the world. So why hadn’t Apple gone for NFC, especially when so many other manufacturers have gone down that route.
There is no doubt that mobiles are going to be the future of payments, and if Apple doesn’t believe in NFC then what are the other options? It comes down to apps, linked to cloud based wallets, which have the potential to bring together multiple cards with
loyalty schemes and even transit and other options, into one solution. But there are still a number of hurdles before cloud wallets have the acceptance levels that we are seeing with contactless cards.
But better user authentication
The fingerprint technology that Apple introduced delivers the ability to securely identify the consumer giving a level of verification for payments transactions that has eluded the traditional card world for a long time. By using the fingerprint technology
along with a cloud wallet gives the control of access to the phone, so payment transactions cannot be made if the phone is taken, with a strong authentication of the user, which is required by the banks executing the payment transaction.
Will it ever happen?
If Apple hasn’t included NFC in its latest products, then I think I’d be prepared to bet that it won’t ever happen – they are looking beyond NFC. What does this mean for other mobile-based NFC solutions? Well that’s one we’ll have to wait and see…