'Apple Said to Negotiate Deep Payments Discounts From Big Banks'

Ian Kar for Bank Innovation, on Apple's oft-rumored NFC-based payment system:

The first thing Apple has done is convince these four FIs to consider transactions from Apple’s upcoming payments venture — said to launch with its forthcoming iPhone 6 introduction — as “card present” transactions, which carry a lower discount rate than “card not present” transactions, because of lower fraud risk. Beyond that, Apple has also managed to bump down the actual “card present” rate by 15 to 25 basis points, according to people with knowledge of the talks. Normal “card present” discount rates, which are shared by issuers and networks but determined by the network, are about 1.5%, which means that Apple appears as though it will get around a 10% discount on the processing rate it will pay. Last quarter, Apple generated $4.5 billion of iTunes revenue — this implies that Apple will save at least $27 million as a result of these deals with the banks. Of course, more revenue volume is expected upon launch of Apple’s payments venture. [...] According to Noyes, while banks control the card-present/not-present rates, the networks negotiate the rates with payments processors. The differences can be dramatic. Apple was apparently adamant about getting the card-present rates and told issuers that it would assume some of the fraud risk inherent in every transaction by providing a secure element via biometric authentication (its TouchID feature) and location data provided through an NFC chip. The Apple payments platform will work with all of their cards. Reading this makes me really regret backing that Coin thing last year --- especially now. (via John Gruber)