The next generation Apple iPad and iPhones are expected to include a ‘mobile payments feature’ that the firm hopes will replace cash and cards for millions of users. Spending on debit and credit cards in the UK overtook cash for the first time last year, and already the technology industry is gearing up for the next battle.
According to analysts, Apple is considering heavily subsidising payment terminals for shops as it prepares to take on rival “Near Field Communications” (NFC) systems from Visa and Mastercard, which allow shoppers to simply wave their credit card at the checkout. The second iPad is due in April, swiftly followed by the fifth iPhone in June.
NFC is most familiar to most Britons as the technology behind Transport for London’s Oyster card. More recently it has been promoted by Barclaycard: For small purchases, users just have to wave their card rather than enter a PIN.
Apple is not the only Silicon Valley giant to see the potential in uniting such technology with internet-enabled smartphones. Google’s new Nexus S device also incorporates an NFC chip.