Apple Joins Forces With Visa and MasterCard For NFC-Powered Mobile Transactions

The unveiling of Apple's next iPhone is expected to take place next Tuesday, but despite that, the rumor train surrounding the device refuses to slow down. Late last week, we reported that the iPhone 6 could include an NFC chip under its hood, and as far as many Apple fans are concerned, that's long overdue. Now, we learn that Apple's possible payments system could involve something called "iPhone Wallet".

In preparation for iPhone Wallet, it's being said that Apple has teamed up with American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, with some rumors also tossing PayPal into the mix. With iPhone Wallet, you'd be able to make a payment via the NFC chip and have the total cost automatically deduct off of whichever payment service you use. Knowing Apple, the verification for NFC use would likely come in the form of a fingerprint swipe rather than a pin code (or it could be that both would be required for enhanced security).

As it is today, it's actually kind of difficult to purchase an Android phone that doesn't have an NFC chip in it - even many tablets have them installed, such as Google's Nexus 7. Despite all that, NFC payments haven't caught on in a truly big way, but if Apple does in fact bundle the chip in each of its iPhone 6 models, that could just be the boon the technology has needed.

According to TechCrunch, 275 million phones that shipped during 2013 had NFC capabilities, while IHS reports that this could skyrocket to 1.8 billion per year by 2018, representing a market penetration of 64%. Many still consider NFC to be unimportant, but the fact of the matter is, it can heighten the level of convenience when needing to make a payment at the register. Personally, I quite like the idea of NFC, but regret having never had the ability to actually use it for its intended purpose. If Apple gets on board, that should change, since it'd be common enough to get more retailers wanting to implement it.

It must be said, though, that all of this NFC business is still nothing but a rumor. It could be that Apple does have NFC in the works, but negotiations with payment processors may still be ongoing, resulting in it being a delayed rollout. If that does happen to be the case, we're sure that the folks at iFixit will perform their usual quick teardown to let us know whether or not the iPhone 6 does in fact have NFC.

One thing's for sure, the hype surrounding Apple's September 9th event is simply astounding.