In almost every market Apple enters, the Cupertino-based company strives to be as major a force as it can be. This is also true of the payments market, and if the rumors that Cult of Mac has reported on are true, Apple Pay may become the first NFC service to offer its own rewards program.
According to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, Apple wants “to be as disruptive to payments as Amazon has been to retail.” Mulpuru goes on to say, “By being early they can shape the customer experience and expectations.” Apple Pay has already partnered with dozens of banks, rolled the service out as one of the Apple Watch’s best features, and is planning to expand to new markets like China, the U.K., and others in the near future.
Even so, there are many customers who own compatible devices but have not yet taken advantage of the service. Apple Pay has resonated so much with customers that it represents nearly 1 percent of the total transactions at some retailers. Still, there are more potential consumers who might just need a bit more of an incentive to start using the contactless payment method. Offering exclusive perks and benefits could be just the ticket to drawing these holdouts in while also driving people to return to participating merchants.
Speaking of participating merchants, Target CEO Brian Cornell recently spoke at Re/code’s Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Cornell indicated that he wants to see his retail stores accepting Apple Pay, as Target’s iOS app already does, but wants to complete the company’s transition to chip-and-PIN credit card readers first.
There is no official word from Apple yet as to when the rewards program might launch or what benefits it might have, but the rumors suggest the announcement may be part of the June 8 keynote at WWDC. Such an announcement would round out the already-packed keynote in which we expect to hear about the official unveiling of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, a native Apple Watch SDK, the relaunch of Beats Music, a new TV streaming service, and the next-generation Apple TV.