Rumor Mill: Apple Pay mobile payments program to launch Oct. 18

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is set to launch its mobile payments service, Apple Pay, on Oct. 18, according to an internal Walgreens memo. The memo, first reported by MacRumors, indicates that launch date, but it's unclear if the service will go live then or a little before.

Apple Pay is reportedly launching Oct. 18.

Apple has said Apple Pay will launch in October but has not said when.

The memo was apparently sent to Walgreens store managers to get them ready for the launch of the service; Walgreens is one of the early participating merchants in the program, which Apple hopes will help it carve out a position in the mobile payments market in the U.S. Apple is also holding a media event Oct. 16, where it is expected to announce new iPad tablets, and executives could discuss the Apple Pay launch there. The service might go live at Walgreens after it does so at other retailers, according to MacRumors.

Meanwhile, according to 9to5Mac, which cited an unnamed source familiar with Apple's plans, Apple has started Apple Pay training programs for its own retail store employees and is working with other retailers on training ahead of the launch. According to the report, when the service launches users will be able to set up Apple Pay via Apple's Passbook application in both the initial iOS 8 setup process or in a new settings tab called Passbook & Apple Pay.

Further, users will be able to add debit or credit cards to Passbook via an iTunes account or by using an iPhone's camera to scan in details. The report added that Passbook will be able to store up to eight debit or credit cards.

Apple has signed deals with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for its mobile payments program, which will launch in October and use Near Field Communications technology, embedded in the top of Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple is also working with major banks in the U.S., including Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo, to enable the service. Apple Pay will work across more than 220,000 merchants nationwide, Apple has said, including Duane Reade, Macy's, McDonald's, Sephora, Staples, Subway, Walgreens and Whole Foods.

Apple has gone out of its way to reassure consumers about the security of Apple Pay: The company said users' credit-card numbers are not given to the merchant and that instead the service uses a one-time payment number and a "dynamic security code" to protect users' financial data. In addition to NFC, Apple Pay uses the phones' Secure Element chip and Touch ID to confirm transactions.

For more:
- see this MacRumors article
- see this 9to5Mac article
- see this VentureBeat article

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