Speculation is building that Apple's next iPhone will have built-in contactless payments functionality after the firm hired NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as product manager for mobile commerce.
As first spotted by NFC World, Vigier joins Apple from California-based outfit mFoundry, where he spent two years as product manager, mobile wallet payment and NFC.
During his time there, Vigier oversaw mobile wallet applications for two top five US carriers and an NFC system for a top three US bank. He also managed the PayPal Mobile system and Starbucks Card Mobile, an barcode-based iPhone app.
Before joining mFoundry, he led mobile commerce and NFC activities at French flash memory firm Sandisk.
Apple has filed several NFC-related patent applications in recent months, prompting speculation it intends to turn the iPhone into a contactless payments device.
Earlier this year Visa teamed with Texan start-up DeviceFidelity on an iPhone case that enables owners to make contactless payments with the Apple handset.