Apple won a major patent on March 6 for a piece of technology called the “iWallet,” which is a digital system that gives the user complete control over their various financial accounts on their iPhone 5, and also leverages Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology to complete credit card transactions as well. Apple patented this technology at an excellent time, as the mobile payments space is taking off and is projected to be a future multi-billion dollar industry.
The iWallet will be simple and easy to use just as you would expect. On the iWallet home screen on the iPhone 5, users can see their entire credit card profiles, view statements and messages from their banks, and even adjust preferences or add additional cards. Within the preferences, users can schedule regular credit card payments and even set parental controls for their children, should they also want to use their iPhone 5 as digital wallets. Under the parental controls, if a child exceeds a certain monetary limit — set by the parent, of course — the transaction could request an authorization from the parent (via their iPhone), or decline the request. It’s easy, and it makes sense for those who want to manage family funds.
With an NFC chip installed into the iPhone 5, iWallet can also complete financial transactions. Merchants would set their own rules, restricting users from completing transactions based on item limits, spending limits, time period or geographic limits. When it came time to pay for an item, the user would swipe their iPhone near a designated receiver, and the transaction is completed securely and automatically.
Outside of the iPhone 5, users can keep track of their payments and statements within the iTunes billing system, which will keep credit card information and records safe and secure. There’s a possibility that iWallet could also work with other Apple utilities, which could allow users to buy things like concert tickets directly within the apps. All of this is very exciting and we really hope that the iWallet makes it on to the iPhone 5.