FeliCa, a widely used contact-less mobile payment standard in Japan will soon be available on an iphone. Apple is reportedly planning to launch a future iPhone for the Japanese market containing a FeliCa chip to support payments using the Sony-developed standard.
FeliCa is widely used in multiple public transport pass payment systems across Japan including bus and train. The standard dominates in Japan over the NFC standard used in Apple Pay. There are an estimated 1.9 million FeliCa payment terminals in Japan handling around $46 billion worth of transactions per year.
According to a report, Apple is currently planning to store virtual representations of transit passes within the iPhone’s wallet app. it also plans to work with multiple transit card providers on the launch.
If there is any hindrance in the negotiations with Japanese payment networks there are chances that Apple may hold back the introduction of this phone. If all goes smooth, there are possibilities that Apple may introduce the FeliCa functionality into the next iPhone models bound for the market.
A technical hindrance in the way of this launch that could set hurdles for Apple is that FeliCa chips are designed as per the Japanese transit system. Japan’s transit systems being one of the busiest systems, the huge rush is accommodated by processing the transactions in a 10th of a second. Problem here is that Apple Pay currently undergoes servers and requires bank approval to process the transactions.