Apple has been rumored to be developing its own mobile wallet payment platform, and while details have been limited, the company recently took the time to display the possible power such a system might have.
Many companies are now rolling out or testing their own versions of mobile wallet programs that allow consumers to use their smartphones as they would their credit cards, making use of near-field communications technology to complete purchases without swiping. But one of the world's best-known tech giants has largely stayed out of the game to this point, and some experts now believe that won't last much longer, according to a report from the New York Times. Apple could soon launch its own mobile wallet program to be used with its extremely popular iPhone and iPad mobile devices, and revealed how much potential its entry might have.
In all, there are about 400 million people worldwide who have active accounts in iTunes, where Apple sells both music and mobile device apps, the report said. All of those are linked with a credit card account, meaning however many people use iTunes to sync their purchases onto their iPhone or iPad have that account data stored on the mobile device as well.
This, therefore, shows the latent potential that any mobile payment system developed by the computer giant might have, the report said. For instance, while companies like Google, which pushed out its Wallet platform late last year, and Isis, the joint venture between the nation's three largest cellular phone service providers, will have to work to build user bases, Apple has millions at least ready to go. All they would have to do, theoretically, is download the app that Apple develops for its mobile wallet system.
And unfortunately for Apple's potential competitors in the field, that app might soon be available, the report said. The company recently unveiled its plans for a new iOS program known as Passbook, and showed off how users might be able to use it to store everything from the airline or movie tickets they purchased online to account data for gift cards they may have to popular retailers. It's not so far a leap for experts to see the potential for simply working traditional credit card payment information into such a system, essentially turning all iOS-based mobile devices - as this could include iPod Touches as well - into mobile wallets, without the necessity for having one that uses NFC technology.
Mobile wallet programs have been a large point of discussion for experts in a number of industries, as many see these platforms as the next big thing in payments. However, consumers have expressed concerns about possible security issues that may arise, and many analysts note that the only way for developers to overcome these problems is to demonstrate the safety of such a system over time.