Apple’s second new attraction at yesterday’s event was a little less ambitious, but characteristically intuitive. Apple Pay, an NFC system designed to allow an iPhone user to carry digital copies of their credit and debit cards with them, was announced following Apple’s statement “our vision is to replace the wallet”.
Apple Pay attempts to allow wireless in-store payments with the iPhone 6, to potentially replace the need to carry debit cards, with the cards you do have being digitally stored and remembered on the Passbook app for iPhone 6 for easy access.
The payment method combines iPhone 6’s NFC radio adapter with the fingerprint scanning Touch ID home button and a secure element chip which is Passbook integrated. Put together, these features allow the user to wirelessly pay at compatible access points and verify their identity at the same time.
The feature can also be used with the new Apple Watch in conjunction with the iPhone 6. The watch can be used to extend the functionality of Apple Pay from the iPhone to the wrist, meaning you can pay without having to take out your phone. As long as the watch is near the NFC receiver, one touch is all it takes to pay.
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Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique number and cashiers don’t see your name, your card number, or your security code when the wireless connection is made. Such high security potentially allows high value purchases, with many websites integrating Apple Pay, such as Groupon. There are also more than 220,000 merchant locations in the US that accept NFC contactless payment, and the feature is hugely common in the UK.
Apple Pay will be available in the U.S. in October 2014, currently work is underway to take it worldwide in the near future as well. Would you be able to go without a wallet?