iPhone: Is Apple Right in Ditching NFC? Will iWallet be the Next Big Thing in 'Mobile Payment'?

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By Pavithra Rathinavel | March 21, 2014 1:01 AM EST

When Apple's competitors Samsung, HTC, Google and Nokia jump to any given opportunity to introduce interesting features in their mobile devices, Apple has kept the industry guessing for over 2 years now.

REUTERS
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The feature in question is near field communication (NFC) technology.

What is NFC Payment?

NFC is a contact-less transaction methodology where people make their payments with the help of smartphones that support NFC.

Even point-of-sale (POS) payment terminals can be enabled to communicate at short range by tapping the devices together by using NFC tags and transmitters to send and receive payments. It is a quick, easy and convenient payment mode. But this technology did not get its due.

Why is Apple a Big Deal to NFC?

According to reports, Apple has nearly 600 million cards (credit/debit/other forms of payment) linked to iTunes. This establishes Apple as the biggest money wallet in the world.

But Why is Apple Skeptical About NFC?

According to Gigaom, retail bigwigs like Best Buy and 7-Eleven are closing down their NFC-enabled POS terminals in their stores. This is a huge slap on the faces of Google (Google Wallet) and Isis, founded by Verizon, AT&T, & T-Mobile, to further advance in the direction of "smartphone payment services."

To rub salt into the wound, banks are charging higher transaction fees for NFC payments made by customers, which are making the retailers to ditch this service.

There are no mobile payments standards or regulations even though there are two prominent players in the field; Google and Isis.

If rumors were true, the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which includes Best Buy, 7-Eleven, Target, Walmart, CVS and Sears, is formulating its own mobile payment platform that would support bar-code readers or scanners.

Even with all these problems, Apple's disinterest to bring NFC to iPhone is the biggest dent owing to their humungous market share.

iPhone as one of the most popular phones in the U.S. does not make much sense for retailers to put their energy into this payment option when Apple does not support NFC, according to BGR.

Although Android enjoys the biggest market share, iPhone users are perceived to be affluent and more interested to shell out money.

Is Apple Developing its Own iWallet?

Similar to MCX, Apple is rumored to have developed mobile payments system of its own. Apple bundled iBeacon with its iOS 7 update. It is a system to interact with nearby iOS devices, BGR claimed.

iBeacon enjoys good amount of support not just from Apple Stores but also from big retailers. It is only natural that Apple introduces the next big thing, i.e. 'iWallet' with their future software updates.

What do you think of mobile payments? Do you think this technology has a future?

To contact the editor, e-mail:

(Photo: REUTERS / )
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