Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), which has more than 400 million credit cards on file with its iTunes Store, is exploring an expansion of the mobile-payments system, said a person with knowledge of the matter.
The initiative is being led by Eddy Cue, chief of the iTunes and App Store and online services, and he has tapped executive Jennifer Bailey for the effort, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The timing of the payments effort isn’t clear, said the person.
Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman for Apple, didn’t immediately return a call for comment. The plans were reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
The move would expand Apple’s reach into a competitive online payments field and potentially give it a new revenue source as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook looks to reignite growth. Apple hasn’t entered a new product category since the 2010 debut of its iPad tablet and profit and sales growth have slowed.
Apple released an upgraded smartphone, the iPhone 5s, last year with a fingerprint sensor that opens more opportunities for the device to be a tool for making purchases at stores, technology analysts have said. The fingerprint technology is initially being used to confirm the purchase of a song or movie through iTunes, or an application from Apple’s App Store. The credit-card numbers on file through iTunes could also be leveraged for a system in which an iPhone could be used as a new digital credit card, analysts have said.
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