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Apple reportedly readying iPhone for Japan with tap-to-pay

The iPhone maker is developing a handset that will tap FeliCa, the mobile tap-to-pay standard in Japan.

Travelers in Japan may soon be able to get a special iPhone that allows them to pay for mass transit journeys without payment cards.
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Apple may have a plan to make inroads in Japan's mobile-payments market, but it doesn't include Apple Pay, at least for now.

The tech titan is working on a new iPhone for Japan that consumers can use to make payments for trips on mass transit, Bloomberg reports. But instead of the near field communication (NFC) technology that powers Apple Pay, the iPhone would use FeliCa, a mobile tap-to-pay standard in Japan developed by Sony, unidentified sources told the news outlet.

Since its launch in 2014, Apple Pay has expanded to more than half a dozen countries around the world, but Japan isn't one of them. Besides its already wide acceptance, FeliCa's advantage over Apple Pay is said to be in speedy transaction time -- just 0.1 second, according to Sony -- because its transaction process isn't hobbled by required bank approval.

The FeliCa chip can also store e-money, an electric form of currency that's accepted at vending machines and cafes across the country.

Apple declined to comment on the report.