passbook ios 8

Apple’s long-rumored mobile payment service may be ready in time for iPhone 6, according to a new report from The Information. Talks between the iPad maker and payments companies are said to be heating up, and the service is nearing completion.

Citing ‘people briefed on the talks,’ the outlet says that Apple executives have discussed launching a mobile wallet as soon as this fall, which will allow people to use their iPhones to buy things. Such a service has been rumored for the company for years…

Here’s more from The Information’s Amir Efrati:

Conversations between Apple and payments-industry companies have heated up in recent months, with several people briefed on the talks saying that Apple executives have discussed launching a mobile “wallet” as soon as this fall for people to use their iPhones to pay for goods in physical stores. […]

Apple has told some partners its system would involve a so-called secured element in the phones—a piece of hardware where sensitive information such as a phone owner’s financial credentials can be stored. The company also aims to run the system without giving up any control to wireless carriers.

The report echoes similar chatter from earlier this year, which claimed that Apple was in talks with several retailers about a payment service. Pundits have long believed that the company would leverage its 800+ million iTunes accounts into such a service.

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Up until now, however, Apple has stayed relatively quiet in the space, choosing only to launch the digital wallet Passbook in 2012. The mobile payment industry continues to fragment, with players like Square, Paypal, Google, Isis and others vying for the throne.

It sounds like this could be the year Apple actually makes it move though, but just how it plans to do it is still unknown. Some believe that it will finally build NFC tech into its next-gen iPhone, while others believe it will take advantage of its new iBeacon tech.

If you don’t think of the mobile payment industry as significant, think again. Facebook, Snapchat, and even Starbucks are all said to be eyeing the space, in addition to Apple, Google and all of the veterans. Expect to hear more about this in the coming months.