Upping the ante on streamlined payments
, Apple is poised to convert iPhones and iPads into literal money machines. According to BusinessWeek
the company is planning on adding Near Field
Communication tech to AT&T's iPhone5 and the next generation of
iPads. At first glance, the change boils down to iFans being able to pay
for goods by swiping handhelds in front of a scanner, instead of
fumbling for credit cards or cash. Although this sounds simple, analysts
say the impact could go far beyond customers swapping silicon for
- This Is a Seismic Shift According to TechCrunch's MG Siegler,
adding NFC to the i-line change "could transform Apple from the biggest
technology company in the world, to the biggest company in the world,
period," by adding PayPal's domain to its extensive reach. BusinessWeek's Olga Kharif adds that this would give Apple "a piece of the $6.2 trillion Americans spend each year on goods and services."
- NFC Tech Could Tip the Android Wars
Although Google's attempted to play in the PayPal space with tech like
Google Checkout, it's been a muddled effort says TechCrunch's Siegler.
Consumers and retailers have been kind of iffy on Google's tech,
Siegler says, whereas Apple's back-end support for NFC has a built-in
fanbase: the "millions and millions of people around the world" who use
the iTunes infrastructure, which would support Apple's NFC system.
- Advertisers Would Benefit Adding swipe technology to handhelds is as good as giving advertisers a peek into customer's closets. Olga Kharif
quotes Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering
Group as saying "NFC would let Apple's iAd advertising network
personalize ads to the places where a customer is spending money. That
could double or triple the ad rates that Apple charges."
- Mom and Pops Would Get Behind This
Retailers have been howling over the staggering fees they pay for the
privilege of letting customers pay by credit card. Businessweek Kharif also points out
that although the Durbin Amendment will ease some of the pain starting
this summer, it also allows retailers to trash-talk or talk-up one form
of payment over another. If Apple steps in with a retailer-friendly rate
(or none at all), indies and corporate businesses could sign on in
droves, upping Apple's muscle. An added bonus: Kharif
says Apple isn't playing around, and may have plans to give merchants
free terminals "to encourage fast, nationwide adoption of NFC technology
and rev up sales of NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads."
- Death Knell for Credit Card Companies?
As long as there are wallets, something has to fill those credit card
slots, but, because Apple's system would let customers dip directly into
their checking accounts instead of bothering with a middleman like Visa
or MasterCard, the credit card companies could lose out on money from
vendors as well as customer payments. Business Insider's Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
says rewards programs may not be enough to keep customers, because
Apple could offer "merchants to take over their loyalty programs."
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