On March 6, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent for a new technology called “iWallet,” which is a digital platform that gives the user complete control over their subsidiary financial accounts directly on their iPhone, and also leverages Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to complete credit card transactions on the phone as well. On Tuesday, more patents were granted to Apple in relation to the iWallet technology, including security measures that aim to keep financial information safe, and the app in iTunes that will house these features. In all likelihood, this is Apple’s mobile payments solution intended for its next-generation iPhone, presumably called “iPhone 5.”
People will say, “But I have a wallet. I don’t need my phone to be my wallet.” I’d also bet that 10 years ago, they didn’t think they needed their phone to also be a music player, or a gaming device, or a Web surfing device. But now that it is, people can’t live without any of it. Apple and Android have successfully killed the simple cell phone; now, it’s a race to see who can pack the most features into a device that can fit in your pocket.
Apple breaks down the iWallet like this: Credit card transactions happen all the time, whether or not the cardholder is present. There’s a lesser chance of fraud when the cardholder is present, but unfortunately, the cardholder can’t be present all the time. Apple’s solution, the iWallet, aims to provide real-time authorization for transactions where the cardholder is not present, or remote. However, unlike transactions over the Internet, Apple promises its service to be highly secure and reliable.
Since there are so many components to the iWallet, we’re going to break them down and explain each of them.
When a user visits their profile in iWallet, they will see their available credit cards attached and be able to open up each individual card’s “profile.” Within the profile, users can view their monthly statements, read messages and alerts from the bank, and even adjust preferences or add additional cards. Within preferences, the owners can set payment alerts for days in advance, or let the user know when their balance is approaching the limit.