Apple's Top Execs Are Still Too Nervous To Pull The Trigger On Mobile Payments

Square mobile payment

Photo: Flickr / cogdogblog

Apple has been noticeably slow to get into mobile payments, and it may still be a while longer before the company enters the fray.Jessica Vascellaro at the Wall Street Journal sheds some light on Apple’s internal deliberations over whether and how to launch a mobile payments system.

According to Vascellaro’s sources, Apple’s engineers and executives really started to brainstorm about mobile payment options around the time Google Wallet was announced last year.

Apple’s hardware engineers started working on NFC options – the technology that lets you tap your phone at a cash register to pay – but the engineers have struggled over how to implement the NFC chip without hurting the iPhone’s battery life.

What’s more, Vascellaro hears that Apple’s top executives are still very nervous about diving into mobile payments:

When the payments plan came to an executive review in early 2012, several Apple senior executives balked, says a person briefed on the meeting.

Apple’s chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, questioned whether there was newer secure technology that employed the Internet rather than use NFC, this person said.

Apple’s Mr. Schiller was worried that if Apple facilitated credit-card payments directly consumers might blame Apple for a bad experience with a merchant.

On top of all this, executives apparently worry that NFC technology won’t really take off with retailers for another few years, which might frustrate customers who expect to be able to use their iPhone to pay for things everywhere.

So for now, the company is still moving in baby steps.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.

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