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What are Apple's plans for mobile payments?

What are Apple's plans for mobile payments?
What are Apple's plans for mobile payments?
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

According to Business Insider, Apple’s newly public patent application describes a “detailed backend architecture for a mobile wallet designed to hold digital credit, debit cards, and coupons issued by a range of merchants and financial institutions.”

The filing describes the system as “capable of powering mobile transactions conducted via QR codes, the cloud, and contactless near field communication (NFC).”

In a review by BI Intelligence and other experts, the patent application describes an “omni-wallet” which “allows other parties to securely send data to Apple device owners, using encryption and secure hardware to prevent fraudsters from intercepting or duplication sensitive information such as digital credit cards.”

To benefit retailers, the system would allow coupon and store-card issuers to track redemption and transactions without launching an individual payment app.

Apple has a significant natural advantage in mobile payments: its huge number of customer accounts, many of them with a credit card on file.

The patent also mentions “virtualized currencies” which may refer to digital currency such as Bitcoins.

Reed Jessen, professional patent analyst and co-founder of a non-profit Bitcoin patent pool, says “one could imagine this method being used by Apple to send their own non-blockchain, non-decentralized digital currency, ‘AppleCoin’ to the omni-wallets of fanboys everywhere.”