Apple Lands Digital Wallet Deal with Amex, Visa, MasterCard

Apple's plans to turn our iPhones into digital wallets took a big leap forward now that the company has reportedly struck deals with American Express, Visa, and MasterCard. Along with the major credit card companies, Apple has deals in place with major retailers and banks, according to insider sources familiar with the company's plans.

Major credit card companies sign on for Apple's digital wallet plansMajor credit card companies sign on for Apple's digital wallet plans

The source, speaking with Bloomberg, also backed rumors that Apple is finally adding Near Field Communication, or NFC, technology to the iPhone. NFC, the source said, will play a key part in Apple's digital wallet plans.

NFC is a short-range wireless communication system that can be used to managed digital payments in stores and restaurants. Sensors at the cash register detect the NFC chip in your smartphone and initiate the transaction so you don't have to pull out your credit card.

NFC has been tossed around as a new feature ahead of iPhone updates for years, although so far Apple hasn't chosen to support the technology. Instead, the company has been using a combination of WiFi and apps in its own retail stores to handle digital credit card payments.

NFC has been popular outside the United States, but hasn't been able to gain much ground in the country despite its appearance in many Android-based smartphones. If Apple does include NFC support in the iPhone 6, that could be the catalyst needed to kick start wide spread support in the states.

Assuming this finally is the year of NFC for the iPhone, Apple will most likely use its Touch ID technology, introduced with the iPhone 5S, to help keep transactions secure and to block unauthorized charges.

Apple will host a special media event on Tuesday, September 9, where it is expected to show off the iPhone 6 along with the company's rumored iWatch. If the company plans to make a big push to use the iPhone as a digital wallet, it'll most likely make an announcement at the event.

The Mac Observer will be on location for Apple's media event, so be sure to check in with us next Tuesday for our live coverage.