The iPhone 6’s new NFC chip is locked for use with Apple Pay only, but a new report suggests that the company will slowly be spreading the uses for the new phone’s NFC capabilities in the future.
According to The Information, Apple is currently in talks with various companies about expanding NFC functionality, but potential uses have yet to be determined, although it’s said that Apple has already talked with HID Global and Cubic, who make electronic keycards for secure building access, as well as transit fare systems.
This could really only mean that the iPhone 6 could soon come with the ability to unlock hotel room doors and even pay public transit fares.
This isn’t too surprising, considering that Apple publicly announced a partnership with Starwood hotels last month that would allow Apple Watch owners to unlock their hotel room doors using Bluetooth. Of course, that specifically isn’t NFC technology, but the concept is the same.
For now, the NFC chip inside of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is meant for use with Apple Pay only for now. 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 and Target hacks.
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.
However, the new payment system has already seen its fair share of problems thus far. Some users have been getting double-charged when using Apple Pay at stores, with one user claiming he was charged twice while shopping at Whole Foods using his Bank of America debit card through Apple Pay. Bank of America notes that this particular problem is on their end and have been working on a fix.
Furthermore, some stores aren’t even training their employees properly on how to accept Apple Pay. One Reddit user said he went to Subway and the cashier had no idea how to get an Apple Pay transaction going, saying that the cashier couldn’t figure out how to use it, and “then a QR code appeared on the terminal, but there was no option on my phone to scan it.”
Another thing that has users scratching their heads is how returns are handled if you paid for the product using Apple Pay. One user says that returning an item at CVS required swiping the credit card that the item was purchased with, but since you can’t exactly do that with Apple Pay, this forced the cashier to essentially override the system in order to return the money.
Currently, only a handful of major banks support Apple Pay, and they include 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, as well as around 500 other smaller banks.
Furthermore, Apple says that 220,000 store locations accept Apple Pay as a payment method, and that number will no doubt continue to grow into 2015 and beyond.
The company lists a handful of national chains that support Apple Pay, including McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Staples, Walgreens, Subway, Whole Foods, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and the Disney Store.
As for apps that 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.