The iPhone 6's NFC needs some help from the big guys
The iPhone 6 is about 2 weeks away and the rumors say it will feature an NFC chip so you can do all your mobile payments quickly and easily. Apple's first foray into the mobile payments market has been a late one, but they usually do that just because they want to control everything and make sure all the little issues are cleared out before the big release.
A mobile payment method using NFC will not work unless Apple gets a formal approval from the big guys in this area. And they did.
Re/Code reports that Apple has an agreement with American Express so that their technology and systems will work with the iPhone 6. According to the cited source, American Express is just one of the future Apple partners in their mobile payments quest.
The story explains how Apple's new payments system is expected to let iPhone 6 owners use their phones instead of credit cards, debit cards or cash. It remains to be seen if Apple will use the regular touch-less terminals or they will distribute their own to the big retailers. As expected, both Apple and American Express have declined to comment on this story.
A few hours later, another big media source confirmed that Apple would team with Visa and MasterCard for the same reason. Bloomberg explained that all three payment companies would sign agreements with Apple before September 9. The story reminds us that so far, although Google and other big companies have created ways to pay in a retail store, the big supermarkets were not attracted by this idea.
Smaller players on the market like Square, PayPal or Amazon have other interesting ideas. PayPal and Amazon let you include their system in your check-out, while Square has an actual card reader that takes your money for a low commission. There strategies are good, but not enough to cover the whole world.
Apple may use their iTunes/AppStore systems as a way to purchase goods. Let's say you want to go buy a chocolate and you don't want to key in a PIN code or have your credit card swiped. Just touch your iPhone 6 to their terminal and put your fingerprint on your home button. That's it! No signing the receipt, getting an actual paper receipt. Everything is done via iTunes and Touch ID and you'll get the paper into your Inbox.
Good enough? We shall see if that is the way Apple thought about solving the payments problem with a fast, friction-free solution.