Patent applications suggest Apple may be preparing to bring Apple Pay to India

Despite low buying power, India with its population of 1.32 billion people represents a massive marketing opportunity for the increasingly popular smartphone payment services. Small wonder that the Cupertino company now appears to be preparing to bring its own mobile payments service to its customers in India, said a new report.

Apple Pay currently works in sixteen major markets.

According to a BusinessStandard article, the iPhone maker has submitted at least five applications with the Indian Patent office over the past year, all related to its digital payments system. The patent applications range from using biometrics to authenticate payments to securely transferring payment to a device such as a point of sale device.

While Indian law clearly states that software is intrinsically not patentable, exceptions exist for devices with software. If Apple’s patents are granted, Apple Pay could hurt homegrown digital payments firms such as Paytm, Mobikwik, Freecharge and several others.

Samsung Pay launched in India in March 2017, while Google plans to bring Android Pay there later this year by anchoring the service to the government-backed Unified Payments Interface.

Last week, Facebook made a patent application of its own with the Indian Patent office. It outlines a digital wallet service that would presumably be integrated into its popular Messenger and WhatsApp messaging services.

Apple has been doubling down on the Services category as a way to boost sales of iPhones in India and elsewhere. Recently, the firm began assembling iPhone SE in Bangalore, in a facility run by its supplier Wistron, marking the first time the cupertino company has assembled any iPhone model in the country.