Is Apple Pondering A Move Into Mobile Payments? Tue, Jul 31 2012 00:00:00 E A01_A1 By DOUG TSURUOKADOUG TSURUOKA12655 Beatrice Street Los Angeles CA 90066 USA , INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILYInvestor's Business DailyInvestors.com delivers unique stock investment research, education and stock tips for new or seasoned investors, combined with daily business and financial firstname.lastname@example.orgWilliamO'Neil12655 Beatrice StreetLos AngelesCA90066USA12655 Beatrice StreetLos AngelesCA90066USA
Posted 07/30/2012 06:08 PM ET
Email Print License Comment
inShare.Could Apple (AAPL) enter the mobile payments arena occupied by PayPal and Google Wallet?
That's the buzz since word of an acquisition by the iPhone maker surfaced on Friday and since the company last month unveiled Passbook, an app that organizes store cards, gift cards, coupons, boarding passes and event tickets on smartphones. Passport works on Apple's next-generation iOS 6 operating system expected out this fall.
Analysts say rivals like Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), eBay's (EBAY) PayPal, as well as MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V), would feel the heat if Apple pushes into mobile payments. This increasingly crowded field also includes financial software maker Intuit (INTU) as well as aggressive new players such as Square.
A cashier counts hundred-dollar bills inside the Apple store at The Grove in Los Angeles. Apple is rumored to be entering the mobile payments arena View Enlarged Image "At some point, Apple will link its new Passport product to its 400 million-plus active iTunes accounts that are linked to credit cards," said Philip Philliou, managing partner of Philliou Partners, a New York City-based payments consulting firm. "When that occurs, Apple will instantly become a major force in global consumer financial services."
This would be the case, though, only assuming Apple takes the big leap to get into the payments field, which is fairly far afield from anything it's done yet.
Gets Fingerprint Technology
But Apple has inked a pact to acquire fingerprint security and sensor maker AuthenTec, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday by AuthenTec. That company said in the filing that Apple wants AuthenTec to develop a fingerprint sensor suitable for use in an Apple product.
Apple has said nothing about the deal, but RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani, ISI analyst Brian Marshall and others were quick to note that AuthenTec's fingerprint security could allow for a secure mobile e-payment service offering from Apple.
Passbook already had analysts thinking that way. It was among its products announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple touts Passbook as a way to make shopping, traveling and attending entertainment events more efficient.
Passbook users load electronic versions of store cards, coupons and plane tickets onto their smartphones. The cards then appear in one app, organized as if they were tucked into the flaps of a wallet. Users can then call up each item as needed.
Passbook is location-sensitive. For example, the application automatically brings up a Starbucks (SBUX) prepaid card as you approach a Starbucks outlet, for Starbucks customers that have loaded the card onto their smartphone.
Users also could, for example, get updates on airline boarding pass information, such as when a gate changes.
<Analysts say rivals like Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), eBay's (EBAY) PayPal, as well as MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V), would feel the heat if Apple pushes into mobile payments. . . .>
<"At some point, Apple will link its new Passport product to its 400 million-plus active iTunes accounts that are linked to credit cards," said Philip Philliou, managing partner of Philliou Partners, a New York City-based payments consulting firm. "When that occurs, Apple will instantly become a major force in global consumer financial services.">
If that is being planned, I wonder if Akamai is already in on it with Apple. Akamai does Apple's cloud, so why not take part in Apple's security?