Apple Pay marks company’s long-expected entry into the mobile payments market, but not in the UK
Apple has moved into the mobile payments market with the introduction of the Apple Pay digital wallet, which aims to replace the traditional method of paying with a credit or debit card.
Speaking at the launch of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus and Apple Watch, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the digital wallet “an entirely new category of service” that could help make the 200 million card transactions made each day a lot easier.
“That’s 200 million times we scramble for our credit cards and go through what is a fairly antiquated process,” he said, criticising the existing system of magnetic strips and PIN codes. Cook added it was no surprise that many had tried to update this method but claimed all attempts had so far failed.
“We love this kind of problem,” he declared. “So we’ve created an entirely new payment process.”
Apple Pay uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which has been built into the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, and uses the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to verify a card user’s identity. The phone is tapped on a compatible reader and a vibration informs the user if the payment has been successful.
The wallet also works with the newly-announced Apple Watch, but the company hasn’t explained how this will work in too much detail.
Users can add a card associated with an iTunes account directly to Passbook, but Apple says it does not store any card data, nor can it see purchase details, location or cost.
“We don’t store the credit card number, we create a device only number,” said Eddie Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services “Each time you pay, we use a dynamic number and a security code.”
Apple also says that if a device is lost or stolen, users can tell Find my iPhone to either stop card activity or remotely wipe the device.
The service is only available in the US to begin with, with 220,000 stores capable of receiving payments, with UK availability unclear at this point. Apple Pay will be included in a future iOS 8 update, and Apple will also be opening up the API to developers so their apps can handle payments.
The introduction of NFC technology and the launch of a digital wallet service had been expected, with similar support included in rival handsets for some time.
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