Apple: The Biggest Disruptor in Payments?

iphoneRumour has it that Apple is finally ready to incorporate NFC technology into the iPhone 6 despite their initial refusal to do so.

You’ve got to admit it, Apple really does deserve all the credit it can get for having the most hardcore and die-hard fan base. While initially apprehensive on the uptake of NFC technology, the hi-tech giant has finally filed a patent covering NFC with the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier in January this year according to BrightWire.

Although the caveat remains that NFC isn’t exactly the most spectacularly useful feature as of now, one must surely wonder why is Apple finally embracing and integrating one of the most widespread up-and coming technology into its latest iPhone 6.

Though it’s easy to see how Apple aims to support the widest array of technology in the competitive market, the potential for disruption in the payment space is huge and the recent interest from Apple is somewhat unsettling and confusing especially with the ongoing debate over which future technology proves to be more superior; “BLE Or NFC.”

With the adoption of NFC, Apple is already on its way to becoming the biggest disruptor in payments. Or is it?

According to Karen Webster, she stated that the big bad disruptor in the payments industry isn’t just Apple itself but rather, the ecosystem that Apple has created over the last seven years with its tools, technologies and incentives that provide value to participating and willing merchants.

However, Apple can’t be the biggest disruptor since Android captures a larger consumer market over Apple and it just doesn’t make sense for commercial payments usage to cater specifically to the demands of Apple especially when there are more POS ecosystems that are running on the Android platform with the simple logic of supply and demand.

But wait, Android and Google’s fragmentation problem over the Android system (not everyone has the most current upĀ  to date android version) leaves them vulnerable to Apple’s entry into the window of opportunity in the manner of making the most bang out buck for investors and developers because of its simplified and one-size fit all solution apparently.

In a bid to reign supreme in the realm of payments, Apple formed a strategic alliance with China UnionPay that would enable the upcoming iPhone 6 to make transactions at millions of supported Chinese POS devices and terminals with the enabling of NFC technology. Through an agreement with China UnionPay, users are able to download the bank card organization’s app to Passbook in their iPhones and make mobile payments on over three million China UnionPay ‘QuickPass’ POS machines in China.

Additionally, Apple’s renowned ability to control and monetize its ecosystem by gaining the interest of both merchants and consumers alike with its strategic assets that comes in the form of its apps, iBeacon promotions, iTunes digital payments, Passook eWallets and etc. makes it all the more easier for the high-tech giant to cast a larger than ever-net into the sea of payments.

Despite Apple’s magnetic appeal to app developers, retailers aren’t just about to give in the Apple’s influential presence as they would like to make their wares readily available to all of their loyal customers and not just exclusively to the Apple iPhone enabled consumer.

At the end of the day, it’s still about the delivery of value-added solutions to merchants. Bold and powerful ecosystem aside, Apple has much to focus on the acquisition of the much needed software that would strike a right chord with merchants by starting to implement NFC into their product offering, especially in the context of seamless integration with NFC supported POS terminals.

[Image: CultofMac]

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