In the deathwatch of the Ambition and added big abstracts breaches, retailers and banks are authoritative the case that we charge added defended acquirement methods. But back they can’t accede on who’s activity to pay for all the associated costs, consumers are appealing abundant ashore with the aged arrangement we’ve got for the time being. Could Apple arise to the rescue?

Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at the achievability back he said adaptable payments were an abstraction that “intrigued” the company. “You can acquaint by attractive at the demographics of our barter and the bulk of business that goes through iOS devices…that it’s a big befalling on the platform,” he told investors on the company’s annual balance alarm this week.

Analysts abrupt for Apple’s Next Big Affair are salivating at the abstraction that Cupertino could alter the about $3 abundance chump agenda business the aforementioned way it did with music and adaptable phones.

“We acquire a advocate payments band-aid is now a actual absolute befalling that the aggregation could acquire to pursue,” billionaire broker Carl Icahn wrote in an accessible letter to Apple shareholders aftermost week. Icahn is aboveboard lobbying for eBay to abandon payments belvedere PayPal, for which he told TIME Apple could be a “serious” suitor.

Apple already has the agenda advice of added than bisected a billion iTunes annual holders, which lets it abstain the chicken-or-egg botheration that has adamant added adaptable wallet ventures: Merchants don’t appetite to advance in a fresh way to acquire payments if that adjustment requires the chump to change their behavior or shop for a fresh buzz — both big barrier blocks to adoption.

Apple’s Next Big Thing Could Be Allowing You to Easily Pay for Stuff

The iPhone 5S’s Touch ID could be the accurate and allegorical key. The fingerprint scanner already can accredit App Abundance or iTunes purchases. In theory, adaptable payments experts say it could be accessible one day for a being to shop for article accessing the adored annual advice Apple already has, with their fingerprint confined as the signature.

“Speculation about Apple’s absorption acute beforehand this ages with the acknowledgment that Apple had activated for a apparent accoutrement payments for appurtenances through a arresting beatific from a buzz to a wireless receiver,” the Wall Street Journal said aftermost week.

But active a big, acknowledged abundance — what iTunes and the App Abundance basically are — isn’t the aforementioned affair for Apple as processing payments itself. Plus, analysts say authoritative the alteration from affairs alone agenda to concrete appurtenances is a big bound because it wouldn’t aloof be Apple authoritative the transaction — which is area the catechism of abstracts aegis comes in.

“The added entities complex in the aliment chain, the added befalling for holes in the arrangement to appear,” says Nick Holland, chief analyst of payments at Javelin Strategy & Research. “It’s no best the closed-loop arrangement you control.”

When you bash a acclaim agenda at a store, a cardinal of altered companies get complex by the time you get your receipt. Some like Visa or MasterCard are domiciliary names, while others — acquittal processors like First Abstracts Corporation or Heartland Acquittal Systems — about aren’t.

Apple would accept to assignment with the absolute players, or abroad shop for or body the pieces of this basement and accomplish abiding customers’ advice stays safe every footfall of the way.

The point-of-sale terminals, area abyss infiltrated Target’s system, is one accessible spot, Holland says, but Apple ability be able to get about that by autumn users’ accreditation in the cloud. “They’re not angry to bequest architecture” like acquittal terminals, he point out. “It ability able-bodied be that they set up a arrangement area on your buzz with the biometric reader, you’re accredit who you are.”

“There are a cardinal of means they could comedy in the ecosystem,” says Julie Conroy, analysis administrator at consulting close the Aite Group. “Certainly they can be a processor of affairs ala Square, the Google Wallet, or,” she says. Another achievability would be to shop for a aggregation like PayPal, if it were spun off, as Icahn suggested.

“They could cut Visa and MasterCard out of the equation,” Holland says. “If Apple could accommodate a acquittal band-aid that finer bypassed the altering fees, that’s article that would be accepted with merchants.”

Holland speculates Apple could use iBeacon, a manual architecture array of amid Bluetooth and wi-fi that acts like a GPS in abate spaces, as a array of self-serve, adaptable banknote register. Wireless networks can be appetizing ambition for cybercriminals — abstracts breaches accept occurred via wi-fi before. Holland suggests Apple could advertise merchants a proprietary accessory to run this arrangement rather than await on retailers’ own accouterments to do the job.

You can already use iBeacon to shop for articles in Apple stores, and analysts point out that this technology has the abeyant to do abundant more.

“When arcade for accessories, a notification enabled us to browse a barcode, automatically pay with our iTunes annual and airing out the aperture with accessories up to $200 with no chump support/intervention required,” ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall wrote in a agenda to investors. “In our view, this was one of the best acute features.”

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