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Apple gets serious on mobile payments

For years we’ve been waiting to see what cards Apple actually holds in mobile payments. It’s getting more and more likely that they will play their hand on the “iPhone 6” event on September 9th.

Analysts expect Apple to introduce mobile payments services and features using short-range secure communication technology  (NFC) built directly into the new iPhone. A likely security authorising feature would be the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that made its debut in iPhone 5.

Rumors have it that the three big credit card companies (MasterCard, Visa and American Express) already have signed deals with Apple supporting “iPhone 6” contactless payments. If these rumors are true, they can potentially turn the 800 million credit card details already attached to iTunes accounts into mobile payment instruments.

I don’t know if these rumors have any substance. Even if they do, we know that succeeding in mobile payments takes more than a phone and credit card linking. Assuming that Apple manages to solve mobile payment infrastructure without significant investments in the channel (I don’t believe we’ll see Apple branded machines by store counters, instead we’ll more likely see a “iOS-device to iOS-device”-solution), it takes volume adoption throughout sectors in global markets. It also needs to address either competition and/or collaboration with banks.

That said… it would not be the first time Apple enters into a complex market, that others (including Google) already have tried addressing without succeeding, and succeed in the first blow. Looks like there’s more to anticipate than just a new phone and watch…

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