Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 and iWatch are expected to pack a functionality many people may have been waiting for, including regular customers and retail stores, and that’s NFC-based wireless payments. After revealing that the iPhone maker has already obtained lower rates from card issuers and that Apple plans to use tokenization technology in future mobile payments, Bank Innovation says Apple may also be developing a loyalty/rewards program for its future iWallet program, in partnership with other retailers.
Sources familiar with Apple plans have revealed that the company wanted to unveil the program during the upcoming iPhone 6 event, or at least that was the plan before last week’s iCloud scandal, but it’s not clear whether the company will introduce such an initiative just yet.
Furthermore, it appears that Apple is currently hiring marketing personnel that would handle this side of the business, which means the loyalty/rewards program may only be ready at some point in the future even if it’s announced during the event.
It’s not clear how the program would work, but essentially Apple would encourage future iPhone 6 and iWatch to pay for goods at partner stores using their iOS devices rather than a physical credit or debit card, thus earning certain rewards. The move would also benefit merchants, which would move more volume, and banks, which will handle more transactions.
Finally, a loyalty program would also help Apple by making its iWallet stand out when compared to other NFC-based payment solutions.
In time, such a program could further help the NFC payments business become more popular than it currently is – after all, Apple is expected to be a major force when it comes to marketing wireless payments.