Shopping Apple: Mobile Payments for Physical Goods


Apple is pushing toward an expanded mobile payment system with which consumers can buy physical goods through their iTunes accounts.  In its retail stores, the company has allowed shoppers to pay for fairly inexpensive merchandise in this way.  On an iOS device, you simply go to the Apple Store app, scan the barcode of the product you wish to buy and use your iTunes Store account to finalize your purchase.  Basically, customers can pay for items in “the same way they can pay for digital goods including movies and music.”  What Apple wants to do is take this method and extend it past Apple’s own stores into “third-party retailers and service providers including black car hiring service Uber.”

It makes sense that Apple would start moving in this direction; “it had 600 million users with credit cards on file as of late last year, according to analyst estimates.”  That’s a little over four times as many users with filed credit cards as Paypal, which has “around 137 million active accounts, according to the company’s own current figures.”  If Apple’s mobile payment system garners a lot of success, Paypal and some of the other top companies in this corner of the industry will be affected.

Until now, Apple has only given its customers “the ability to store existing credit cards and login information in an iCloud-synced keychain.”  With iOS 6, Passbook was introduced, and iOS users were given the ability to store loyalty cards, coupons, and the like.  Later, a barcode-scanner was included with the release of iOS 7, giving rise to various barcode-based applications.  Combined with these features, Apple’s mobile payment system will very likely dominate the market.  It offers convenience and efficiency with a swipe, and what more could a shopper want?


About the Author

News content on is produced by our editorial team and complements more in-depth editorials which you’ll find as part of our weekly publication. provides a comprehensive daily reading experience, offering a wide view of the consumer technology landscape to ensure you're always in the know. Check back every weekday for more.