Apple could be teaming up with Visa, MasterCard and American Express to turn the next iPhone into a mobile wallet, according to multiple rumours.
It is thought that the iPhone 6, as it is currently being dubbed, will simplify secure mobile payments with a touch of a finger. Apple is expected to achieve this via a near-field communication (NFC) chip used in conjunction with Apple's Touch ID fingerprint reader, currently featured on its flagship iPhone 5S.
Apple previously shunned NFC chips due to concerns over security, despite rival handsets from other manufacturers actively embracing the contactless technology.
Bloomberg speculated that while other companies, such as Google, have been pushing NFC to be used for in-store payments, the lack of adoption by US retailers could be overturned by Apple, as its iPhones dominate the US smartphone market.
Wired suggested that Apple may have already gone some way to cementing its position in the US by making a significant push to get its Bluetooth LE-transmitting iBeacons into stores across the nation.
The company already has a veritable trove of credit cards linked to its iTunes and App Store platforms, numbering over 800 million. This gives Apple a wealth of potential users who are already making payments for digital products via its services.
V3 asked Apple to clarify on the speculation, but the company declined to comment on such rumours.
With multiple websites reporting on the alleged agreements between Apple and major credit card companies, it is likely that these rumours are more than mere speculation from anonymous sources. Given Apple's commitment to secrecy, such rumours are not likely to dissipate as the days count down to the reveal of its next smartphone.
There have also been rumours that Apple is planning to release an iWatch wearable device.
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