Apple’s iPhone 6 will feature Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, reports BrightWire, citing people familiar with the matter (via MacRumors). This may sound familiar to many of those who follow Apple, since the rumour surfaces before every iPhone launch, but in the end it never materializes. But this year may be different, because Apple has allegedly struck a deal with China UnionPay that will allow the company to integrate mobile payment services into Passbook and/or elsewhere.
UnionPay is China’s leading payment scheme and the world’s largest network of payment cards, with more than 3.5 billion issued to date, and it is a key advocate in China’s mobile payment eco-system.
Apple is likely to incorporate a Near Field Communication(NFC) payment function in the next generation iPhone and has reached an agreement with China UnionPay on a mobile payment service, according to a source close to the matter.
Under the deal with China UnionPay, users would be able to download the bank card organization’s app to Passbook in their iPhones and make mobile payments on over 3 million China UnionPay’s “QuickPass” POS machines in China, the source said.
In addition to NFC payment, the two companies will also work together on another mobile payment solution that can be used for purchases in Apple Stores, added the source.
Apple’s alleged financial partner, UnionPay, is collaborating with Gemalto, a company renowned in the industry for digital security. Canada’s No. 1 wireless player, Rogers, has partnered up with Gemalto to launch an NFC-enabled mobile wallet called suretap.
Apple has a handful of mobile payment patents, and NFC is mentioned in one them, but this is an example of a direction in which the company isn’t interested in heading, since it prefers to focus on Bluetooth instead, especially now that iBeacon technology is out in the wild and has great potential because of its ability to combine the benefits of NFC’s limited proximity operation with increased range, if needed.