By Nicole Arce
Rumor has it that Apple is debuting a new mobile payments platform on Sept. 9 along with the iPhone 6, with reports of Apple partnerships with American Express, Visa and MasterCard surfacing over the weekend.
However, teaming up with credit card companies is not enough, as what good is a mobile payment system if no physical stores accept Apple’s new mobile payment standards? Enter Nordstrom, which is said to be the first retail store chain to accept mobile payments from users simply by tapping the screen of their iPhone 6 over the point-of-sale (POS) system.
Employees of the upscale clothing retail store chain spoke to Bank Innovation on condition of anonymity and said that Nordstrom received hardware for its new point-of-sale systems “a few weeks ago.” These new terminals, they said, come with upgraded software that allows them to work with Apple’s “most recent iPhones.” Bank Innovation verified the new systems and confirmed that they are similar to the EasyPay POS systems used in Apple’s retail stores.
The sources also said that Apple was looking for a fashion brand with a huge physical reach and chose Nordstrom because of its focus on technological innovation. In 2012, Nordstrom introduced mobile POS terminals with an EasyPay attachment to connect to a customer’s iPod Touch in all its 271 locations.
In May this year, Apple upgraded its own POS systems with new terminals that are compatible with the Lightning pin found on the iPhone 5S. Bank innovation says the new terminals come with an EasyPay accessory that has “RFID capability, which is similar to NFC, can read chip-and-PIN cards, improve Passbook scanning, includes a keypad for PIN numbers, and is built for iOS 7.” This is the same POS system found in Nordstrom’s stores today.
Analyst Cherian Abraham of Experian believes an Apple-Nordstrom partnership is highly likely, given that Nordstrom uses “almost entirely iOS devices for checkout” and that both companies have a very similar consumer base.
Other industry sources have reportedly reached out to Bank Innovation to say that Nordstrom is not the only fashion brand to partner with Apple’s mobile payment initiative. Ralph Lauren, for one, has allegedly also upgraded its POS systems to accommodate the iPhone 5S and, presumably, the iPhone 6.
On Sept. 9, Apple is expected to debut the long rumored, much awaited iPhone 6, which is said to come with near-field communications (NFC) capabilities that will make it possible to create its own mobile payment system.