Apple announced new features for the iPhone Wallet at its 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference (WDC) on June 6, presumably in a move to directly compete with fintech giants such as Affirm and Block. Now, several industry experts are saying that this might pave the way for Apple to push further by making a potential future play in the crypto space.
One of the most notable new features coming to the Wallet app is the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) function, deemed “Apple Pay Later.” This enables users to split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments spread over six weeks with zero interest (and no fees) of any kind, according to a press release.
“Apple Pay Later makes it easy to view, track, and repay Apple Pay Later payments within Wallet. Users can apply for Apple Pay Later when they are checking out with Apple Pay, or in Wallet,” according to the statement. In addition, users can receive detailed receipts and order tracking information in Wallet for Apple Pay purchases with participating merchants.
CNBC reports that the announcement sent shares of BNPL giant Affirm down more than 5% on June 6.
In addition, Apple will also launch a new payments system later this month — one that lets you pay someone by tapping your iPhone against theirs. This function makes the Apple Wallet a direct competitor to Block’s Square, according to CNBC.
Ivan Ravlich, CEO of Web3 infrastructure company Hypernet Labs, told GOBankingRates that most of Apple’s moves are to keep up with the other payment options, such as replicating Block’s tap-to-pay feature that works peer-to-peer.
“I have to imagine that they are looking at other payments companies like PayPal, Block and Venmo, which all have crypto features. And Apple is likely thinking of adding a crypto feature as well. Ultimately, any company that wants to be a leader in payments is going to need crypto integration, and if Apple doesn’t add that then they risk falling behind competitors,” Ravlich said.
Such sentiment is echoed by other experts, including Kayla Kroot, creative director at decentralized publishing protocol and Web3 library Koii Network.
“Apple’s deeper dive into fintech suggests that they are feeling the heat from crypto competitors and will eventually devise and launch a crypto-friendly wallet of their own,” Kroot said.
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