​Apple teams with top credit cards for iPhone 6 payments, reports say

Apple is partnering with American Express, Visa, and MasterCard on a mobile wallet system expected to be introduced with the iPhone 6 on September 9, according to two different reports.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
2 min read

Even the Samsung Galaxy S3 allowed for mobile payments -- this one done at a McDonald's in the UK. Rich Trenholm/CNET

It's Labor Day weekend in the US, a time for barbecues, back-to-school shopping -- and iPhone rumors of course.

Recode on Sunday reported that American Express has agreed to "work together" with Apple on its new iPhone payment system, which is widely expected to be introduced with an iPhone 6 at Apple's September 9 event.

Citing unnamed sources familiar with the talks, Recode added that American Express is just one of several partners the iPhone maker needs to sign up before it launches the new mobile payments system. Sources told Recode that Apple has held discussion "with multiple credit card networks" about the new payment system. The Information previously reported that Visa had agreed to work with Apple, Recode noted.

Bloomberg followed with a report, also citing unnamed sources, that Apple is also partnering with Visa and MasterCard on the payment system, which would be enabled on the iPhone 6 by a short-distance wireless technology called near-field communication, or NFC. NFC, along with the Touch ID fingerprint recognition reader found on the most recent iPhone, will enable you to pay for items in a store with the touch of a finger.

Mobile payments, or the notion that you can pay for goods and services at the checkout with your smartphone, are poised to break into the mainstream if Apple and the iPhone 6 get it right.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment on the reports. We also contacted the credit card companies for confirmation. MasterCard declined to comment. We'll update this report if we hear back from the other two.

Wired was just the latest to report recently that the next iPhone would include mobile-payment capabilities powered by NFC. The technology and capability to pay with a tap of your mobile device has been around for years -- you can tap an NFC-enabled Samsung Galaxy S5 or NFC-enabled credit card at point-of-sale terminals found at many Walgreen drugstores in the US, for example -- but awareness and usage remain low.

Apple's visibility and massive user base - it already holds credit card data for about 800 million iTunes account holders -- could change that.

CNET's Roger Cheng contributed to this report.

Updated at 2:08 p.m. PTwith Bloomberg's report about Visa and MasterCard also partnering with Apple. Also updated at 2:43 p.m. PT with Apple declining comment.