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Monday, June 15, 2015

Apple Pay road map unveiled at developer conference

Apple Pay was an integral part of Apple Inc.'s annual World Wide Developers Conference held June 9 to 12, 2015, in San Francisco, where the company revealed its product road map and near-term plans. Developers obtained tickets by random selection or as part of 350 scholarships awarded to students and members of participating STEM organizations. Select sessions were streamed live on the WWDC website and mobile app, and real-time information and video conferences were posted throughout the four day event.

Apple Vice President of Internet Services Jennifer Bailey presented a lengthy roster of new Apple Pay merchants, including Trader Joe's, JCPenney, Baskin Robbins, Johnny Rocket's and Office Depot. She pointed out that even small to midsize merchants will have an opportunity to participate in Apple Pay's rollout using new Apple Pay-enabled card readers powered by Square.

Bailey disclosed that Apple Pay will be a native app in iOS 9. She noted that developers who have integrated Apple Pay into their apps have seen a measurable lift in conversion rates. This trend has been driving increased adoption of Apple Pay in e-commerce and m-commerce, such as Pinterest's recent adaptation of Apple Pay into its Buyable Pins checkout system.

Have private label will travel

Private label payment card brands will be the newest additions to Apple Pay's expanding array of payment card offerings. Stamford, Conn.-based Synchrony Financial, formerly known as GE Capital Retail Finance, is collaborating with Apple, MasterCard Worldwide and assorted retailers to add store-branded cards to the Apple Pay wallet using MasterCard's unique tokenization method. Margaret Keane, Synchrony Financial President and Chief Executive Officer, called the use of near field communication to process private-label credit cards a value proposition for Apple Pay users. "Through this approach, Synchrony Financial is helping shape the future of how private label credit cards work when customers choose to make contactless payments," she said.

Apple Pay's retail payment card integration is expected to be completed in the fall, when the iOS Passbook app, which currently stores airline boarding passes, is transformed into a full-blown wallet that supports additional types of digital tickets, discount coupons, gift cards, and private label credit and debit cards. Even the icon for the app has been redesigned, resembling a traditional credit card wallet instead of a passport.

Retail partner JCPenney will be one of the first store brands to launch on Synchrony's mobile platform, which is compatible with Apple Pay and other mobile wallet schemes. Consumers who use the app will be able to access Synchrony's loyalty and rewards program as well as promotional financing and special offers by select retail brands. More than a million retail stores are expected to accept Apple Pay in the United States during the summer retail season.

Payment card tokens to mass transit tokens

MasterCard stated it has been continually enhancing contactless payment technology for more than a decade. MasterCard Digital Enablement Service, introduced in 2013, is designed to deliver simple and secure tokenized mobile payment services to consumers.

Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer at MasterCard, said he expects mobile payments in general to provide a transformative shopping experience for both merchants and consumers. "With Synchrony Financial's retail heritage and commitment to innovation, combined with our unique tokenization support for private label cards, we are thrilled to assist merchants in offering their customers the choice to use Apple Pay for easy, secure and private payments with any card they choose," he said.

The British version of Apple Pay is expected to debut in July 2015 and will include approximately 70 percent of the United Kingdom's credit and debit payment card brands. Leading retailers, hospitality merchants and London's public transit system have already signed up to participate in the launch. The ability to use Apple Pay on mass transit is not yet available in the United States.

Apple ecosystem celebrated

Additional highlights from Apple's 26th annual conference included:

  • More than 100 technical sessions by Apple engineers for developing, deploying and integrating iOS and OS X technologies

  • More than 100 hands-on labs and events to provide developers with code-level assistance on optimizing iOS and OS X technologies

  • Access to the latest innovations, features and capabilities of iOS and OS X

  • Networking opportunities to connect with fellow iOS and OS X developers from more than 60 countries

  • Guest speaker presentations on topics of interest

  • Lunchtime sessions with thought leaders from technology, science and entertainment

  • Apple Design Awards in recognition of excellence and innovation in iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac app design
end of article

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