The iPhone maker is reportedly in negotiations with a number of companies in the payments industry and could launch a new mobile payment or smart wallet system before the end of the year.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made no secret of his desire to do something innovative or creative with the 500 million+ iTunes accounts with connected credit cards at his company's disposal, and the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor on the latest iPhone handset, the 5S, is seen by many as the first step towards Apple moving into mobile payments, allowing consumers to use their handsets in lieu of a physical wallet, cash or credit card.
According to The Information, Apple has been negotiating for some time with a host of firms, including Visa, about such a possibility and these negotiations are said to have intensified over recent months.
In fact, the publication's unnamed sources claim that Apple is working on a mobile wallet that it hopes to include as a feature on the iPhone 6, itself widely rumored to be unveiled in mid-September.
The mobile payments marketplace, in the US at least is already rather crowded thanks to everyone from Google to Square attempting to convince consumers to ditch cash -- which can be easily carried in a pocket -- for a smartphone, which often doesn't fit in a pocket and which needs to be charged in order to work.
Unsurprisingly, most of these efforts are failing to capture the public's imagination and so the stage is perfectly set for Apple to swoop in with a simpler, smarter and more desirable take on the technology that will chime with consumers and that will have been informed by the mistakes already made by competitors.
Apple already offers the Passbook service on the iPhone which enables users to store virtual tickets for things like concerts and sporting events on their handsets and, although a very basic app, it has proved incredibly popular in the US in particular and some experts believe that the mobile payment system will be offered as an extension to Passbook's existing functionality.