Apple unveiled its new digital wallet payment system (called Apple Pay) last month during its iPhone 6 event, but the platform has yet to release to the public. The company noted that we would see it at some point this month, and new details suggest that we’ll see it arrive with iOS 8.1.
Developer Hamza Sood has spotted the Apple Pay setup screen in the Passbook app within the second beta of iOS 8.1, hinting to the likely possibility that Apple Pay will launch with iOS 8.1 later this month.
Apple Pay is essentially the company’s own digital wallet platform to take on the growing market of digital payment systems that have already been released by companies like Google in the past. However, Apple aims to do it a bit differently.
Apple Pay allows you to store your credit card information on your iPhone and use it to buy stuff at any store that supports Apple Pay. The iPhone 6 has an NFC chip that allows you to tap the pay terminal at a store to instantly buy goods. Furthermore, doing this doesn’t give the store your credit card information, so you’re less susceptible to store hacks that steal credit card information, similar to the recent Home Depot hack and the Target hack from a while back.
Furthermore, your iPhone can be disabled to make payments if your device ever gets lost or stolen, that way your credit card information itself can’t be stolen — much more effective than having to call the credit card companies to cancel a card if it ever gets lost or stolen.
Apple Pay also works with mobile shopping apps, allowing you to pay with a single touch of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in shopping apps that support the feature.
Currently, six major banks will support Apple Pay when it eventually launches, and they include American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. Apple says that more banks will be coming soon, though, including Barclay, Navy Federal, PNC, USAA and US Bank.
If you’re currently a member of any of these banks, you’ll be able to add your credit or debit card from these banks quickly and easily to Apple Pay.
Furthermore, Apple says that 220,000 store locations will accept Apple Pay as a payment method, and that number will no doubt continue to grow into 2015 and beyond.
The company already lists a handful of national chains that will support Apple Pay once it launches this month, including McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Staples, Walgreens, Subway, Whole Foods, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and the Disney Store.
As for apps that will accept one-touch payment with Apple Pay, there are plenty that are already on board with it. Some notable shopping apps include Groupon, Panera Bread, OpenTable, Starbucks, Sephora, Target, and even Uber.
MLB.com is another app that will support Apple Pay, which isn’t too surprising considering that the MLB has had a close relationship with Apple recently, as the league worked closely with the Cupertino-based company to launch iBeacon in MLB stadiums across the country earlier this year.
Of course, it’s important to note that while the list of stores and apps is still rather short at this point, Apple Pay hasn’t even launched yet, so we’d take a big guess and say that more and more stores and shopping apps will add support for Apple Pay once the service launches to the public later this month.
Also, while Apple Pay will work on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, the iPhone 6′s NFC chip will allow consumers to tap their devices on the pay terminal in stores in order to instantly pay for goods. However, the NFC chip will be limited to Apple Pay only for now.