If you have an iPhone 5S, Apple can verify your fingerprint in a flash. The company likely has your credit card on file, and it can theoretically even figure out where you are inside a store with its iBeacon service. So far, the company hasn't put the puzzle pieces together to let you buy whatever you can see, but that might be changing soon. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is building its own mobile payments business to take on the likes of PayPal, Google, Square, and Isis.
The publication doesn't have any details about what the program might entail, only that the company's careful executive search process suggests strong interest. Apple has reportedly tapped Jennifer Bailey, the head of the company's online store, to build the new payment business, after speaking to "at least five other well-known executives in the payment industry" about the same position.
An aborted attempt
If you ask The Wall Street Journal, though, this isn't a new push for Apple. In 2012, the publication reported that Apple nearly launched a mobile payment system, only to abort the idea. Though iOS VP Scott Forstall allegedly championed the idea, the company was concerned about the potential battery life drain of near-field communication (NFC) tech, and marketing VP Phil Schiller feared that people would blame Apple if they had a bad experience with a merchant. Scott Forstall left Apple later that year, and Schiller later downplayed the NFC technology.
Mobile payments are a mess, and they need to be foolproof to succeed. We're curious if Apple has figured out a better way to let people pay with their handset.