The USPTO published an Apple mobile payments patent that covers a commercial transaction method in which a purchasing device, such as an iPhone, finds and establishes a secure connection to a point of sale system via a first wireless interface. Following link up, the device identifies a second, different wireless interface to connect to a backend server for transaction completion.
While most media will see this as an Apple nod to NFC, AppleInsider correctly points out that Apple has shown little interest in adding this radio to its phone. Why? Simple, cost, weight and other technologies that are already in the phone can do the same thing. Also the security features of NFC are overstated, and easily hacked as was shown when implemented in US Passports.
The patent also states that Apple will have the ability to create and match an alias to the card. This ‘license plate’ type solution could help solve many of the security problems plaguing retailers such as Target and others.
I’m happy to see Bluetooth being used this way as it’s something I predicted back in 2008. (I actually tried to file for a patent for the same use case Apple did.)