Is Apple taking a bite out of you?

by. Jeff Falk

Apple is making internal and external moves to expand its ability to handle mobile payments. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the company is seeking to build upon the hundreds of millions of credit cards stored on iTunes and the App Store, and upon the vast user base of iPhones and iPads.

Apple already allows consumers to pay for some products in Apple retail stores by scanning the item and paying with a credit card on file with iTunes, the Wall Street Journal reported. Apple’s fingerprint sensor, called TouchID, currently includes a basic mobile payments feature: the ability to pay for products on the iTunes and App Store without entering an account password. While that’s a limited use for now, there’s significant potential (and apparently interest) to expand where TouchID is used for payment.

“You can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition that it’s a big opportunity on the platform,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent earnings conference call.

As Brian Day, product manager for The Members Group (TMG), put it in a recent Credit Union Times article, Apple’s entrance into the mobile payments arena could mean both good and bad news for community financial institutions (FIs). While Apple’s participation in this evolving payment option may serve to substantiate mobile payments among some skeptical consumers, it could potentially result in diminished relationships for some FIs.

continue reading »