Report: Apple snags mobile payments agreements with Visa, MasterCard and American Express

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has struck deals with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for its mobile payments program it will unveil alongside the next iPhone, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report, citing an unnamed source, said Apple is working with major payment networks, banks and retailers to ensure the mobile payment initiative's success. Last week, reports emerged the next iPhone, expected to be dubbed the iPhone 6, will contain support for Near Field Communications technology for mobile payments for the first time. According to a Financial Times report, Apple is working with Dutch chipset specialist NXP Semiconductors on the NFC solution. Apple is expected to debut the new phone on Sept. 9 at a media event.

Re/code also reported that Apple struck a deal with American Express and The Information reported in July on talks between Apple and Visa. Apple, MasterCard and America Express declined to comment, Bloomberg said. Visa has declined to comment on the rumors.

According to Bloomberg, the inclusion of NFC, along with Touch ID, the fingerprint recognition reader that debuted last fall on the iPhone 5s, will let consumers securely pay for items in a physical store "with the touch of a finger." Most NFC-based payment mechanisms on phones let customers pay for goods by waving their phones in front of an NFC reader, and sometimes entering a PIN number, before the authentication for payment goes through. It's unclear if iPhone users will also be required to put their finger on the phone's Touch ID sensor for payments to be authorized.

Although NFC payments have been around for years, analysts think that Apple's inclusion of it in the iPhone could spur consumer and retailer adoption of the technology, especially in the United States.

Meanwhile, in other Apple rumors, Re/code reported that, according to unnamed sources, Apple executives have discussed charging around $400 for the company's forthcoming wearable device, expected to be called the iWatch. The report said pricing for the device has not yet been finalized but that there may be a range of prices for different models, including lower-priced variants. It's unclear if Apple will announce pricing for the device at its event next week. Last week Re/code also reported that Apple won't be shipping the gadget until early 2015, even if it announces the device at the event.

For comparison, LG's current Android Wear smart watch, the G Watch, retails for $229. Timex's IronMan One GPS+ smart watch costs $400 but has an HSPA radio and comes with one year of service for free for U.S. or Canadian subscribers; Timex is partnering with AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) for the cellular connection for the watch.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Re/code article
- see this separate Re/code article

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