Apple is reportedly developing its own wireless payment service for mobile devices, The Wall Street Journal has learned, eying a piece of a growing business – Americans are expected to spend $90 billion through mobile payments by 2017 according to Forrester Research, up significantly from $12.8 billion in 2012. Sources familiar with the matter have said that Apple’s iTunes and App Store chief Eddy Cue has met with industry execs to talk about how Apple would handle payments for goods and services from its mobile devices. Moreover, Apple’s Jennifer Bailey who was running the company’s online stores has been moved into a new, unconfirmed, role to build a payment business for the company.
Apple is in a position to make mobile payments easier for its iOS device users, as it has more than 575 million registered iTunes users that pay for music, apps, movies and TV shows, books and magazines from their mobile devices. However, the company is yet to allow its customers to use their iTunes accounts to handle physical goods and services purchased from other stores.
The company had been rumored before to create its own wireless payment service, referred to as iWallet, although Apple did not confirm such plans. The Journal says that Apple decided against launching such a service in previous years “over concerns that customers might blame Apple for a bad experience with a merchant.” Last April, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook told investors during a conference all that the technology was “in its infancy.” Comparatively, Google and Android device makers already have mobile devices that can be used to pay for products in stores that accept near field communication (NFC) mobile payments.
While the company has not launched a wireless payment service, Apple has laid some of the groundwork. The company already launched its iBeacon service that could be used in the future for mobile payments in its retail stores, and in other locations. Additionally, Apple also has patents that describe methods of securely paying for goods using a mobile device.
“Apple is absolutely the sleeping giant in the payments world,” Forrester Research analyst Denee Carrington said. “They have the capability; they just haven’t tied it all together. If Apple is in the game, it certainly changes the space and would make merchants think differently about who to partner with.”