Apple’s iPhone 6 near field communication (NFC) payment system will have to prove easier-to-use and more useful than debit cards if the smartphone is to replace wallets, claimed a mobile applications expert on Wednesday.
John Haro, chief technology officer at mobile marketing company Vibes, told The Drum that Apple could render wallets inert if it correctly implements NFC technology into the new iPhone 6.
The much anticipated smartphone, which will be officially unveiled at an event in California on 9 September, was on Wednesday leaked in a YouTube video uploaded by a Russian blog.
Boosting rumours of iPhone 6’s emphasis on NFC transactions, which it will call the iWallet, was the news that the Californian tech-giant on Monday signed a deal with American Express to authorise the payment system – with Visa and Mastercard also rumoured to be on board.
Although NFC payments can be made on new Android and Windows devices, the iPhone 6’s inclusion will mark the first time the feature has been integrated with iOS – meaning that most UK smartphone users will be capable of making the payments.
Haro said: “With the new iPhone 6 launch and its addition of NFC technology, Apple has a great opportunity to create a mobile experience that is entirely focused on the consumer.
“It’s not about developing technology for technology sake. NFC is one of many technologies Apple has at its disposal, and I expect it will take a combination of these – iBeacon and Bluetooth included – to create a solution that will ultimately make consumers replace their wallet with an iPhone 6.“
Haro warned that consumers will not uptake the payment system if it turned out to be more cumbersome than current methods.
He said: “In order to be successful where others have failed, Apple’s payment solution has to be either easier than swiping a plastic card, or at least as good, with additional benefits the consumer will care about.”
On these NFC consumer benefits, Haro claimed that Apple will use its Passbook app to reward consumers and provide incentives for those who use the feature.
Haro concluded: “Ultimately, Apple may be able to bring the digital shopping experience into the physical world, meld the technologies together, and ultimately drive adoption among retailers and consumers.”
With NFC payments entering the mainstream, a memo leaked from McDonalds on Wednesday also expressed the increasingly digital-centric fast food chain’s intent to roll out the payment systems worldwide.