Apple has reportedly struck an agreement with UnionPay, the only domestic bank card organisation in all of China, to allow Apple’s new mobile payments system “Apple Pay” to link to its cards, according to China media group Caixin (via Apple Insider’s Neil Hughes).
Apple Pay, which lets iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 customers pay for goods using only their fingerprints, will go live in the U.S. in October, but there’s no timetable for a global rollout just yet. Chinese customers will have to wait for the new iPhones anyway since Apple just delayed the release of its new iPhones in China as it awaits regulatory approval.
UnionPay is the only interbank network in China that covers mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, linking the ATMs of all banks in those areas. Founded in 2002, UnionPay was designed to unify all of China’s various credit card and interbank networks.
All China UnionPay cards come with the same global standard for point-of-sale terminals as Visa, MasterCard and Europay, and they’re used in about 141 countries and regions around the world. It’s the second biggest payment network based on the value of processed transactions, next to Visa.
Several UnionPay banks have already begun accepting contactless payments, but many more banks and merchants will likely adopt the technology once Apple Pay arrives.
Thanks to NFC antennas and Apple’s Secure Element chip, which creates dynamic security codes to process payments, Apple Pay allows you to pay for goods by choosing a credit or debit card from your phone, placing the iPhone near an NFC scanner, and holding your finger to the iPhone’s home button, which includes the secure Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The iPhone will vibrate and beep to let you know the transaction was successful.
Apple Pay will only work with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch. The two new iPhones will launch in the U.S. on Sept. 19, while Apple Watch will arrive sometime in early 2015.