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Apple poaches NFC and mobile payments expert away from Visa to expand Apple Pay in Europe

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.

Major US carriers, Google form mobile payments alliance, Apple not on board

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...