Will Apple make credit cards obsolete?

“Apple is working on technology which would enable customers to make purchases with their iPhone or iPad devices, according to Bloomberg,” Scott Rubin writes for Seeking Alpha.

“Users would be able to access saved bank account information or credit card numbers,” Rubin writes. “Apple engineers are harnessing ‘Near-Field Communication’ (NFC), a technology which can transmit and receive information up to 4 inches, according to the article. The products are expected to be introduced to the market sometime this year.”

Rubin writes, “Once the technology hits the market, it may threaten the credit card companies. If users can access their bank accounts directly to make purchases and avoid using a credit card, companies like Visa (V), Mastercard (MA), and Discover (DFS) may see a hit to their revenues.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The following was written over 8 years ago: This device, able to be made today with current technology, would easily be “The Device.” Running Mac OS X or a mobile variant, it would allow the user to communicate via text, audio, and video. It would snap digital photos and organize them, do email, and browse the web. It would sync automatically with your desktop or portable Mac… It would absorb the iPod by playing AAC / MP3 audio and interface with iTunes, but it would also play feature-length MPEG-4 movies, too, in full color… and any number of websites in your pocket. McDonald’s Drive Thru’s would accept payments via Bluetooth from “The Device.”SteveJack, MacDailyNews, December 10, 2002

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “GetMeOnTop” for the heads up.]


  1. No, it won’t make credit card servicers obsolete. There still will be a need to securely access your bank account, and Visa and MasterCard will just move into this arena. Merchants will still need the back-room services. Just a different format.

  2. I want to walk through the grocery store, scanning and bagging my food items as I shop. Every item added to my cart is weighed and added to the overall weight of my cart. Bar codes tally prices, coupons and discounts, and update my idevice’s database.

    When I reach the register, my idevice will sync with the store’s and off I go.

  3. The part this misses is charge back and fraud detection. When credit cards were first created there were laws put in place to protect consumers. Giving people direct access to your bank account bypasses these protections and laws. Unless there is a change in banking regulations or banks develop some new independant products credit card companies are still going to be raking in the cash. Ever try to get your money back from PayPal when the victim of fraud…I HATE them but there is nothing that protects your purchases like a standard plain old credit card transaction.

  4. I don’t see how this could affect credit card companies in the least. Instead of swiping your credit card, you wave your phone. Both will likely be connected to the same account through Visa, MasterCard or whatever. How does this impact their revenue? Also, on a personal level, I’m not terribly worried about the credit card companies potentially losing revenue, heh.

  5. @SteveJack Nice prognostication.

    I’ll never forget in 1990, the owner of one of my favorite local record stores predicted the iTunes store. He described it exactly as Apple implemented it.

    I didn’t record it for posterity but his clear and certain exposition left a deep impression with me that it couldn’t be any other way.

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