Apple Pay to become more useful than ever as efforts focus on wider NFC adoption

Apple looking to vastly expand Apple Pay capabilities by letting you tap and pay for a wide range of
An iPhone might soon be the only thing you need in your pockets

Apple has been trying to replace your wallet with your iPhone for years now. Despite the relatively wide adoption of Apple Pay (at least in the States), however, it’s still not abundant enough to make you think twice about leaving your wallet at home. One of the main reasons for that is that Apple, in its typical fashion, has restrained the things developers can use the available hardware and software for. But it seems that might be changing very soon.

Apple to unlock new possibilities for NFC

Apple recently announced changes coming to the way NFC can be used on its iPhones in combination with Apple Pay during a conference for electronic transactions. Called Transact, the conference was held in Las Vegas in late April and was host to a rare Apple presentation that’s not during one of the company’s own events.

Apple is looking to make it easier for businesses to integrate NFC payments into the Apple Pay ecosystem. To do that, it is going to allow its Core NFC framework to work with multiple NFC formats. Currently, Apple only supports one format called NFC Data Exchange Format. Three new formats are expected to be added with the release of iOS 13, MacWorld reports. These changes, among many others, will likely become official during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2019 that starts on June 3.

But NFC formats don’t matter to users, they care about what that means for the way they use their devices. There will be some noticeable improvements in that area if Apple’s plans come to fruition. The company’s goal is to make paying for almost everything as easy and convenient as possible. Let’s take a look at what’s its vision.

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Apple Pay is your one-stop shop for everything from snacks to scooters 

One example given at the presentation was the so-called micro-mobility, which is a fancy term for all the scooter-renting services like Bird and Lime. Right now, each of those comes with its own app that you can use not only to locate a scooter but mostly to pay for your time using it. Needing an app and an account adds friction, as experts call it, which reduces the number of people that use the service. Apple is working in cooperation with some of these companies to remove that extra step. In the future, tapping on the NFC chip of the scooter will allow you to rent it straight from Apple Pay. This will not only make it easier for non-frequent users to rent scooters but will also improve security, as you’re not sharing payment information with yet another entity.

  Photo from @SteveMoser

And then there are parking meters. The ones that allow mobile payments come with their own app as well. Similar to the scooter approach, Apple aims to cut out the unnecessary step of installing and logging into various apps (companies still get their money, after all) by handling everything within Apple Pay. The same technology can be applied to almost anything, from vending machines to public transport and all sorts of venues that you need to pay to get into.

But NFC is not only useful for payments, it can carry all sorts of information. A few companies are already partnering with Apple to streamline the sign-up process for their loyalty programs by using NFC instead of paper forms people need to fill out.

Once the ball starts rolling, we’ll likely see more and more businesses joining Apple’s initiative. This move will strengthen its ecosystem and tie down iPhone users to the brand even more than they already are. Hopefully, it will also nudge Google to put more effort into its own Google Pay.

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