The next generation of Apple devices will let you buy things in stores without taking out your credit cards or cash. The new iPhones and Apple Watch use NFC, or Near Field Communication, to enable simple mobile payments.
Apple created a new payment process called “Apple Pay.” It’s integrated into the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple relies on the security of Touch ID, and a new hardware component it calls the “secure element” that stores your private data.
When you add a new credit card, it’s never shared with the merchant—Apple creates a unique number for that specific card on the specific device. If your phone gets lost or stolen, Find my iPhone can suspend all the payments from a particular device, and you don’t have to cancel your credit card.
To add a credit card, you can use your camera to take a picture of the card, and after the bank verifies it’s in fact your card, you can add it right to Passbook.
Each device comes with a wireless NFC chip, and will let users tap their iPhones to various in-store terminals to pay for things. Initial partners include American Express, Mastercard and Visa, along with the six biggest issuing banks in the U.S.
Macy’s and Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Staples, Subway, McDonalds, Whole Foods, Disney and of course Apple retail stores will accept Apple Pay as soon as its available. Target enabled Apple Pay in their shopping app, and other companies that accept Apple Pay via mobile app include Uber, MLB, and OpenTable.
See Also: What You Can Do With The Apple Watch
Apple Pay will be available in October as a free update to iOS8. Developers will be able to integrate Apple Pay into apps as soon as its available.
This isn’t groundbreaking by any means—other devices including LG, Samsung and Google Nexus phones support NFC. But Apple is finally providing the pay-by-mobile option, opening the floodgates for retail business to offer the one-tap tech.
But Apple can do more than control payments with NFC-enabled devices. The technology can also be used to bolster interconnectivity with HomeKit, Apple’s new unifying smarthome technology that lets people control their homes with iDevices—though it didn’t mention that at the event today.
Screenshot by Stephanie Chan for ReadWrite