Apple Pay will launch in the US on Monday, enabling Americans to use their iPhones to make payments at the likes of Target, Uber, Groupon, and Starbucks.
Speaking at an event to launch the latest iteration of the iPad, Cook revealed that the first tranche of merchants signed up to Apple Pay will go live with the service on 20 October, which will be rolled out through an iOS 8 software update.
Cook also says that a host of new retailers and 500 more banks have signed up to the service since it was first announced in September, adding that it is "going to change the way we pay for things”.
Noting that the service can also be used to make purchases online, Apple also outlined how user of the just-announced iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will be able to use Touch ID on their devices for payments within apps.
Gavin Michael, head of digital at Chase, which is ready for the Monday launch, says: “The ubiquity of Apple combined with the reach of Chase and other major issuers points to the potential to dramatically accelerate the adoption of mobile payments.”
Chase merchant customers can integrate Apple Pay into their apps using a Chase software development kit (SDK) that can be used to deploy payment transactions for goods and services in apps.
NCR and MasterCard have also prefigured their support for Apple Pay. NCR's Silver mobile point-of-sale (POS) system for small businesses is now offering remote payment and order ahead capabilities, via a new app dubbed Silver Sidewalk.
MasterCard similarly has developed the MasterCard Nearby app, available in the App Store, which helps consumers find merchants near their current location that accept contactless payments.
To use Apple Pay, users simply hold their finger over the Touch ID biometric fingerprint application and tap the device against the retailer's terminal. Credit and debit cards can be easily added to the app using accounts already stored on iTunes or by taking a snap using the phone's onboard camera.
Cook emphasises the Apple Pay's strong security. The system uses an NFC antenna and a dedicated chip - the Secure Element - for storing encrypted and unique 'Device Account Numbers' so that card numbers are never shared with merchants.