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Are mobile payments at Apple's core?

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On Thursday, Kyle Spencer, a research analyst writing for Seeking Alpha, published a new report probing the likely prospect that Apple will soon enter the mobile payments arena.

“There is considerable anecdotal evidence that Apple is preparing to invade the mobile payments space,” Spencer writes. “A quick perusal of the company’s recent patent filings leads me to conclude that Apple’s engineers are indeed converging on a large scale mobile payments solution to rival PayPal.”

One of the patents cited is that which is titles “Effecting payments using optical coupling.” The patent describes an infrastructure of network-based clearinghouses “for maintaining the anonymity of a plurality of customers and protecting their private and financial data.”

Apple, which already has an in-store mobile payments platform for its retail employees, has long possessed a strong interest in digital and mobile tech-based payments.

“Over the last few decades, cash has gradually fallen out of favor amongst consumers at large. Currently, two-thirds of the public prefer to make payments via credit and debit cards,” says the team at PayAnywhere, a top payment solutions provider in the U.S. “In the near future, another form of payment is set to further squeeze cash right out of the loop.”

The WSJ reports that Eddy Cue, Apple’s iTunes and App Store chief, has already begun taking meets with key industry executives to discuss Apple’s interest in developing a comprehensive mobile payments solution.

“Apple is absolutely the sleeping giant in the payments world,” Denee Carrington, an analyst at Forrester Research, tells the WSJ. “They have the capability; they just haven’t tied it all together.”

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