According to Recode, Apple recently held discussions with payments industry partners about introducing a peer-to-peer service for transferring cash digitally between friends, plus virtual prepaid cards that would run on Visa’s debit network and work with Apple Pay.
Apple Pay expansion in international markets has accelerated lately, with the mobile payment system launching in France yesterday and now, just 24 hours later, in Hong Kong. According to Apple Pay’s Hong Kong website, the service is supported at launch by all three major credit card companies: Visa, American Express and MasterCard, with cards issued by Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China (Hong Kong), DBS Bank (Hong Kong), HSBC, Standard Chartered and AmEx.
Apple today announced that its mobile payments service, called Apple Pay, is now accepted in France through launch partnerships established with card issuers Visa and MasterCard. Customers in France can now add their MasterCard and Visa cards to the Wallet app on their iPhone and start paying for goods and service in stores and apps with Apple Pay.
As rumored, Apple’s mobile payment system on Thursday went live in Switzerland, its seventh country, expanding the European footprint for Apple Pay beyond the United Kingdom. The firm announced the service is available with initial support for MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards issued by Bonus Card, Corner Bank and Swiss Bankers, with additional banks and credit card issuers to be added at a later stage. Apple Pay boss, Jennifer Bailey, said the company plans to bring Apple Pay to every major market in which its products are sold.
After debuting in Singapore last month with initial support from American Express, Apple Pay today launched fully in the country with five major banks on board. According to Apple’s support document highlighting participating banks and store cards, the following financial institutions in the country support adding credit cards to Apple Pay: DBS, OCBS, POSB, Standard Chartered Bank, United Overseas Bank and American Express.
Through launch partnership with American Express, customers in Singapore can now take advantage of Apple’s mobile payment system to pay for goods and services in stores with a touch of their finger. Adding Singapore to the list of countries that support Apple Pay was advertised earlier today on the local Apple Pay website in Singapore.
Local retailers like FairPrice, Starbucks, TopShop, TopMan, StarHub, Shaw Theaters and several others will now take Apple Pay as a form of payment. In the coming months, outlets like 7 Eleven, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Food Republic and Toast Box will roll out support for Apple Pay in the 5.4 million people country.
Tuesday, financial services corporation and credit card issuer Visa announced that it will be rolling out tokenization technology in Europe by mid-April, a move that could speed up the arrival of Apple Pay and other new contactless payment services to the 743 million people continent.
The payment tokenization technology will be “be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions.” Needless to say, Apple Pay has mainstreamed tokenization, which basically replaces sensitive credit card and payment information with a one-time digital token exchanged between your iPhone and an NFC-enabled payment terminal.
America First Credit Union said in a media release Thursday that cardholders can now use its America First Visa credit and debit cards with Apple Pay. In addition, as explained in a FAQ outlining the service, customers can also use their Visa Business credit and debit cards with Apple’s mobile payment service.
Apple Pay is accepted at more than 220,000 retailers and does not require any special merchant equipment aside from a standard NFC-enabled terminal.
Born out of the Apple-Barclaycard partnership, the new Barclaycard Apple Rewards Visa card is now available with EMV Chip and PIN security, revised financing options, updated rewards with three times points on Apple Store purchase and more.
As first discovered by AppleInsider on Monday, the card earns you three reward points for every dollar spent at the Apple Store (iTunes purchases don’t qualify).
Once you earn 2,500 points, Apple will give you a $25 Apple Store Gift Card (previously, you’d get a $25 iTunes Gift Card with the Barclaycard iTunes Rewards Visa Card).
Moreover, there’s no interest on purchases made at Apple within the first 30 days of account opening, plus some other perks as well.
Apple has hired Mary Carol Harris, former Director of Mobile at Visa Europe to help bring the NFC-based Apple Pay mobile payments system to Europe, PaymentEye reported Monday.
She’s been with Visa since 2008 and previously headed up NFC at Telefónica, Spain’s leading multinational by market cap and one of the largest private telecommunications company in the world.
Introduced alongside new iPhones earlier this month, Apple’s mobile payments solution is scheduled to debut in the United States on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in October, and on the Apple Watch early next year, extending the service to over 200 million owners of the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s devices worldwide.
Harris has fourteen year experience in digital and mobile payments, including NFC technology utilized by the Apple Pay. Harris’s LinkedIn profile lists her an employee of Apple Europe.
In another sign that the industry has high expectations for mobile payments, four major carriers in the United States along with Google and a bunch of other players have struck a mobile payments alliance called Mobile Payments Committee.
The initial members include carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile USA, but also Google, Isis, VeriFone and PayPal, in addition to financial institutions Wells Fargo and Capital One plus credit card giants American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa.
Apple is conspicuously absent from the list, as is mobile payment startup Square, which last week announced an interesting partnership with Starbucks. The iPhone maker, of course, is believed to be putting NFC circuitry inside the next iPhone and just recently acquired NFC and smart sensors maker AuthenTec for $356 million…