Apple to Shake-Up Financial Services Sector with BNPL Plan

Apple’s all-in approach to buy now, pay later (BNPL) is viewed as an indicator of the company’s increased emphasis on financial services. Apple Pay has been around since 2014, and three years ago the tech giant issued a credit card with the help of Goldman Sachs. Now, Apple Pay users will be able to avail themselves of the new Apple Pay Later. A subsidiary of the Cupertino-based iPhone firm has received the necessary licenses to launch the new financial offering in most U.S. states. Apple’s initial plans are to underwrite and fund loans capped at $1,000. Continue reading Apple to Shake-Up Financial Services Sector with BNPL Plan

WWDC: Apple Unveils macOS Ventura, iOS 16, MacBook Air

Apple unveiled a slew of new tech at WWDC 2022, previewing macOS Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, the next MacBook Air with new M2 chip, the Apple Pay Later service, password updates, new security features and more. Propelled by the tagline “Personal is powerful,” iOS 16 is crafted around helping customers create individual experiences, with ways to customize the Lock Screen, organize desktops and optimize video calls. The Stage Manager feature of macOS 13 Ventura allows easier multitasking and promises updates to improve Spotlight and Apple Mail. Safari is substituting “passkeys” for passwords, allowing users to login to websites using their iPhones or Macs. Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils macOS Ventura, iOS 16, MacBook Air

EU Hits Apple with Antitrust Objections Over Mobile Payments

European regulators on Monday hit Apple with an antitrust charge, alleging it has created a “closed system” for contactless mobile payments. The so-called statement of objections says the iPhone maker has abused its market power by favoring its Apple Pay for mobile contactless payments to the detriment of third-party services like PayPal, which reportedly helped initiate the charges. The European Commission says it has reason to believe Apple withheld access to its NFC inputs in order to suppress other mobile-wallet app developers from competing with Apple Pay, which the Commission called “a closed ecosystem.” Continue reading EU Hits Apple with Antitrust Objections Over Mobile Payments

Apple Explores Greater Role in Consumer Financial Services

Apple is exploring various financial technologies for future products that would reduce the company’s reliance on third-party products over time, reports say. Payment processing, lender risk assessment, consumer credit reports, dispute mediation and fraud analysis are among the areas Apple is looking into, according to those who claim knowledge of the situation. The move would build Apple’s profile in a category that currently includes Apple Wallet, branded credit cards, peer-to-peer payments and a merchant app involving iPhones. As previously reported, Apple is also working a subscription hardware model and further enhancements to Apple Pay. Continue reading Apple Explores Greater Role in Consumer Financial Services

Arizona Is First State to Accept Identification via Apple Wallet

Working with Arizona and Apple, the Transportation Security Administration has deployed digital verification for state-issued mobile driver’s licenses or identification cards stored in the Apple Wallet app on iPhones and Apple Watches. While 30 states say they are exploring digital IDs, Arizona becomes the first in which the TSA has begun using the system, activated Wednesday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. For now, the feature is available only for TSA PreCheck passengers at select checkpoints at one airport, but as other states’ device manufacturers sign on, TSA says it will expand the program. Continue reading Arizona Is First State to Accept Identification via Apple Wallet

European Parliament Recommends Ban of Facial Recognition

The European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution that calls for banning law enforcement’s use of biometric surveillance, including facial recognition. The vote signals what Parliament is willing to adopt as part of the Artificial Intelligence Act being developed by the European Commission. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) advocate for a permanent ban on automated recognition of individuals in public spaces in addition to the use of private facial recognition databases such as those developed by companies including New York-based Clearview AI.  Continue reading European Parliament Recommends Ban of Facial Recognition

Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

The Australian government is mulling new laws intended to tighten the regulation of digital payment services. Despite rapid growth, digital wallet services from Apple Pay, Google Pay and China’s WeChat Pay are not designated “payment systems” in Australia, which means they are not as yet governed by the country’s regulatory system. The move comes on the heels of a government-commissioned report addressing whether the payments system had kept pace with advances in technology and changes in consumer demand. Continue reading Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

South Korea to Let Consumers Select App Payment Provider

South Korea is on the verge of becoming the first country to initiate legislation that would provide consumers with the choice of which app payment provider to use. The Telecommunications Business Act, which is “almost certain” to pass a vote in the assembly, could end the “effective duopoly” of Apple and Google. It would also enable companies like Epic Games to transact directly with users and avoid hefty commissions charged by those two companies. In the U.S., Apple and Google face legislative actions and an Epic Games lawsuit. Continue reading South Korea to Let Consumers Select App Payment Provider

Pandemic Fosters Wider Adoption of QR Codes and Tracking

During the COVID-19 pandemic, QR codes that allow customers to order and pay for food and drinks caught on in restaurants and appear to be here for good. Retail chains including CVS and Foot Locker have also added them as have marketers. Because QR codes can store digital information and open an app or website that tracks peoples’ personal information, they’re ideal for vendors looking to create their own customer databases. Consumers will soon be served customized offers marketed within QR code payment systems. Continue reading Pandemic Fosters Wider Adoption of QR Codes and Tracking

Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

Google is relaunching its Google Pay digital wallet and online payment system for Android and iOS with a raft of new features including the ability to connect to the user’s bank account for a searchable overview of finances. The company also plans to partner with banks in 2021 to offer its Plex, an online checking and savings account within the app. This more fully-featured Google Pay can now serve as a direct competitor to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Venmo and other apps and services, as well as an online bank such as Ally. Continue reading Google Launches New Google Pay, Readies Banking Service

Justice Department Probes Requirements of Apple App Store

The Justice Department is scrutinizing Apple’s App Store rules, specifically the requirement that app developers use Apple Pay, which takes up to a 30 percent cut. Since mid-2019, lawyers have been interviewing app developers about their experiences with Apple. Developers have pushed back by blocking subscriptions and payments on their apps or charging higher rates on iPhone apps. The DOJ’s antitrust resources are focused on Google’s dominance in digital advertising, which may result in a case as early as this summer. Continue reading Justice Department Probes Requirements of Apple App Store

Apple is Next Target of European Commission Investigations

European Commission executive vice president in charge of competition Margrethe Vestager is ramping up her scrutiny of U.S. tech giants, including Apple and Amazon. She’s currently targeting Apple’s “gatekeeper” position with third-party apps and Apple Pay. She is also looking more closely at Amazon’s position in online retail. Bloomberg Intelligence antitrust analyst Aitor Ortiz, however, noted that the $9 billion fine she levied against Google didn’t stop the tech giant from continuing to dominate search. The fines “don’t really have a deterrent effect,” he concluded. Continue reading Apple is Next Target of European Commission Investigations

Big Tech Firms Pursue Financial Services Despite Setbacks

When Walmart started a bank in the early 2000s, states passed laws to ban branches and Congress drafted a law to ban retailers from opening banks. Almost ten years later, Walmart threw in the towel, with its president for financial services Jane Thompson vowing the company would never try it again. That hasn’t stopped Google from announcing it will begin to offer checking accounts next year. Uber wants to open Uber Money, a bank for its drivers (and perhaps riders) and Facebook debuted Facebook Pay. Continue reading Big Tech Firms Pursue Financial Services Despite Setbacks

Apple Card Debuts with 70 Percent of U.S. Retail On Board

This month, Apple will officially launch Apple Card, a credit card for iPhone users, according to chief executive Tim Cook. The credit card, which will be situated in Apple’s Wallet app, allows contactless payments and includes no fees, lower interest and cash rewards. According to the Silicon Valley company, Apple Pay has 70 percent “retail acceptance” in the U.S. and 90 percent in Australia. It can be used wherever Apple Pay is available and is expected to be in 40 countries by the end of the year. Continue reading Apple Card Debuts with 70 Percent of U.S. Retail On Board

At $30 Million/Month, Apple Is Major User of Amazon Cloud

In January 2018, Apple earmarked $10 billion to build its own U.S.-based data centers in the next five years. In a December update, the company added that $4.5 billion of that would be spent in 2019. For now, however, Apple is on track to spend $30+ million per month on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The companies may be rivals, but Apple has come to depend on AWS as a way to deliver competitive online services. That’s become crucial, as sales of iPhones have slowed and the company has turned to online services to pick up the slack. Continue reading At $30 Million/Month, Apple Is Major User of Amazon Cloud