iOS 8 will let you scan credit cards via the camera

That's a handy option, but Apple also needs to show more progress in the overarching area of mobile payments.

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Tim Stevens/CNET

Buy an item online via your future iOS 8-enabled iPhone or iPad, and you'll be able to scan in your credit card information to seal the deal.

Unveiled at the Wordwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple's upcoming new version of iOS will add a new feature to Safari for scanning a credit card using the on-board camera, as noted by 9to5Mac. As an alternative to typing in the information, an option will pop up to "Scan Credit Card." The credit card image snapped by the camera is then converted into text using built-in optical character recognition.

Assuming the OCR conversion proves accurate, this process could certainly shave time off the laborious process of manually entering all of your credit card data. But Apple is still a laggard in the overall field of mobile payments.

The company has yet to add support for NFC (near-field communications), a technology that allows for payments via your mobile device and that has long been in use by Android. Apple took its first baby steps with the concept of a digital wallet by introducing its Passbook app in 2012 but hasn't done much since then to advance the technology.

To be sure, the whole area of mobile payments and digital wallets is still a burgeoning field with an array of different products and players and no real standardization as yet. Consumers haven't shown much interest in NFC as a method of paying for items on the go, largely because the industry hasn't done enough yet to simplify the process.

But more effort and advances in this field by a major player like Apple could go a long way in furthering its interest and adoption by consumers. Other than opening its Touch ID fingerprint sensor to third-party developers (which could use the technology to help you tap into digital wallets and financial apps), Apple didn't have a lot to say about mobile payments at WWDC. Perhaps the company will have more up its sleeve when it unveils its next generation of iDevices later this year.

 

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