Apple Gets Ready to Take a Bite Out of mCommerce

One of the biggest opportunities that the proliferation of strong mobile authentication has made attainable – and has indeed already set in motion – is the possibility for consumers to authorize real life payment transactions with the submission of a personal biometric. It stands to be easy, secure and exciting: pay-with-your-phone solutions and biometrics protected digital wallets replacing the old ways of leather coin purses and gold plated money clips (both so inconvenient and outdated that they are the topic of an episode of Seinfeld that aired in 1998).

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple appears to be preparing to enter the mobile commerce fray, swinging hard with the relatively strong authentication offered by Touch ID fingerprint sensor technology. Douglas MacMillan and Daisuke Wakabayashi wrote on Friday that Apple iTunes and App Store chief Eddy Cue has already met with industry executives, discussing the company’s interest in enabling physical payment through its devices.

In addition to these meetings, more unnamed sources have been cited as corroborating the new job role of Jennifer Bailey, a long time company exec who until recently was running the online stores but is now tasked with building an Apple payment business.

No details have yet surfaced as to what exactly this Apple payment solution will look like or when we can expect it, other than the stated aim of allowing iPhone users to pay for physical goods, in real life, through the authentication provided by Touch ID or whatever the next iteration of it might be called.

In 2013, at the Money 2020 conference in Las Vegas, the experts in attendance were polled as to when we can expect over 50 percent of Americans to be using their smartphones or other mobile technology as their primary physical payment method. The overwhelming answer was that 2020 would be the time this mCommerce paradigm tipped over into the mainstream majority. With biometric and proximity-based digital wallets on their way before the end of this year, and a number of SDK solutions enabling online transaction approval with face, voice and eye recognition, Apple’s involvement might be just the sort of brand name jolt that relying parties need to jump on the physical mCommerce bandwagon.