Apple Pay Wants to Kill Your Wallet for Good

By Gerald Lynch on at

In some senses, Apple's had one hand inside its customer's wallets for some time now, given how expensive its stuff always proves to be. But with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, it's entering the world of mobile payments proper with Apple Pay.

A two-factor authentication system, it uses the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in conjunction with NFC in the new smartphones to authorise payments. Payment information is encrypted securely, and ties in with Apple's Passbook app to store your details. So long as you have a card tied to your iTunes account, you'll quickly be able to get up and running using the new service. Should you have one of Apple's new Watch smartwatches, it too will also support the new payment system.

American Express, Mastercard and Visa cards will all be supported, with Citi, Bank of America and Capital One onboard too. Using the SecureElement industry standard, a one-time transaction number and dynamic security code will accompany all payments. And while Apple can't see what you've bought or how much you've paid, merchants will not be given access to your sensitive banking data either.

Your privacy, and security, Apple are keen to stress, will remain safe. Should your iPhone or Watch be lost, Find my iPhone will be able to cancel any Apple Pay account you have open. It'll also work online too (though Apple is yet to detail how that will work).

"As it turns out, most people that have worked on this have started by focusing on a business model that was centered on their own self-interest instead of focusing on the user experience," said CEO Tim Cook, having a dig at Google's Wallet (despite both services actually being rather similar at their core).

Opening for business in the US first, naturally, Apple Stores, McDonald's and Disney World will all be supporting Apple Pay payments from the off. So you can buy your Disney Dollars with your Apple Pay. eCommerce merchants such as Groupon will also be supporting the system, as will app services such as the Uber taxi booking app. US mobile payment pioneers Square have also announced that Apple Pay will work with its systems too.

Launching next month as an iOS update, 220,000 merchants will support Apple Pay to begin with in the US. No word on UK-specific support or retailers yet, but rest assured-- you'll almost certainly be able to use it in brick-and-mortar UK Apple Stores.

Read all Apple announced at the iPhone and Watch event, plus Giz readers' reactions