Five things we can learn about the future of contactless payments from the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch

Last updated: 17 September 2014

It was exciting to watch Apple’s much-anticipated entry into the worlds of wearable technology and contactless payments this week – if you missed it, check it here. It’s a really significant milestone as NFC and contactless payments continue to build market credibility, traction and consumer acceptance.

Here are the five key things that Apple’s move will and won’t signify for the future of contactless payments.

  1. NFC is mainstream: Just as video calling was available and increasingly popular before Apple introduced FaceTime, so too will Apple’s weight help push a fast-emerging technology into a mainstream one.
  2. NFC can be totally secure: Apple’s adoption of Secure Element  to store payment credentials reinforces the industry’s acknowledgement that dedicated, hardware-supported security protection to consumers is vital in supporting mass-market uptake. This is one of a number of approaches we use including all types of Secure Element, TEE (Trusted Execution Environment) and other emerging standards, so high-five to the gentlemen and ladies of Cupertino!
  3. We’ll see a rush of adoption of point-of-sale support for NFC: Just as car manufacturers want to offer ‘iPhone compatible’ docks, etc., so too will retailers want to be able to capitalize on the opportunity on cashing in on the more affluent iPhone users
  4. Apple Pay won’t be the only payment scheme: Apple brings some needed general awareness to mobile payments but we mustn’t forget that there are already hundreds of millions of Android handsets with NFC. Many telcos, banks and other service providers have set up contactless payment schemes and they will be happy that the global NFC cake will soon be much bigger. Both Apple and the existing actors will be looking to deploy compelling, easy to adopt services backed up by secure element protection.
  5. The need for standards will only grow: Banks need to get open and fully interoperable standards for managing NFC payments, and with the Apple products likely accelerating uptake the need to limit market fragmentation through intelligent standardization will be greater than ever before.

We’ll be watching this space with interest. What else do you think we can induce from Apple’s news this week?