Apple’s conversations with payment companies have “heated up in recent months,” The Information has learned from people briefed on the matter, with the company interested in launching a mobile wallet solution of its own this fall that would let iPhone owners pay for physical goods with their handsets.
Apple isn’t the first company that’s thinking about mobile payments, as Google and U.S. mobile operators already have such products for customers. Various “iWallet” rumors have already mentioned an iPhone-related payment solution in the past, but the company has never shared any details on the matter.
It’s not known what technology Apple will use for mobile payments, whether it’s NFC, or a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi combination, but the company already has various patents that describe means through which it would handle secure payments made using iPhones.
The company wants to run the iPhone payment system without giving up any control to carriers, which have their own e-wallet plans. Apple is reportedly talking to Visa looking for a partnership that would make iWallet payments easier for both merchants and customers.
The Information further says that the payment system will have a “so-called secured element in the phones,” which will store sensitive information related to the user’s financial credentials, although it’s not clear how Apple would handle payments.
Assuming Apple’s iWallet is indeed launching this fall, it’s not yet clear what iOS devices would be supported other than this year’s iPhone 6 models. Touch ID will likely play a role in helping secure payment information on iPhones, although details on the matter aren’t available either.
Apple has recently introduced iTunes Pass, a quick way of recharging an iTunes account via Passbook in an Apple retail store, and a move that could be related to the company’s future mobile payments plans.