Earlier this week it was reported that Apple has plans to launch a pilot program to help develop partnerships with merchants, possibly setting up plans for a loyalty program that will work in conjunction with Apple Pay.
According to a report from Bank Innovation, Apple has been poaching a number of high profile tech executives to help expand its mobile payments team.
The report notes that the talent acquired, from companies like Google and PayPal, will not only help Apple expand its newly announced Apple Pay service but they will help in developing a loyalty program.
The loyalty program could offer customers a reward for shopping at a retail location that has a partnership with Apple. For example, if a customer uses Apple Pay at a qualified retail location, Apple may offer a free music, movie, TV show, or app download as a reward. By doing this, the merchant does not need to give up anything and Apple can continue to increase the volume of Apple Pay transactions.
Over the past several months Apple has been acquiring talent at an aggressive rate. In the spring Apple hired Rick Krakowski, former product manager at American Express, to be an iCloud Product manager.
During the same time period, Apple hired Steve Mansour who served as PayPal’s senior director of engineering. Mansour is now reportedly the head of engineering for Apple’s payments team.
A recent job posting on Apple’s website leads us to believe that the company is still looking for talent to help develop a world-class loyalty program. Here is a snippet from the job posting:
“You will play a key role in identifying new opportunities, shaping the future of loyalty programs and informing media strategy, creative direction, and messaging. With your Retail partners, you will help Apple reach its broader goals of deepening customer loyalty and fostering community… Innovate around Apple’s loyalty program strategy. Recommend and develop initiatives to sustain and evolve our loyalty programs, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.”
Apple Pay will be available in the U.S. starting in October and will be compatible with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and a few other partners. The company will also launch a new Apple Pay API which will allow developers to integrate the new mobile payments system into their own applications.
At launch, Apple claims that their new payment system will work at over 220,000 retails stores within the United States, including Nike, Macy’s, and Walgreens. The company says it is working “very hard” to expand the payments system to other countries.
Apple has yet to mention anything about the loyalty program or how it will work with the company’s mobile payment system. What are your thoughts on a loyalty program that rewards customers for using Apple Pay? Let us know in the comments below.