A new patent filing by Apple could signal a new initiative by the company’s mobile wallet unit to challenge the commercial card industry, according to Thursday (Oct. 22) reports in Patently Apple.
According to the news, Apple has filed for a new patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in the name of “Use of a Biometric Image for Authorization.” Analysts say the patent can have a major impact on the corporate world, as the technology appears to allow third parties to set up guest profiles for Apple Pay with customizable restrictions.
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Reports said that the patent would allow one person to set up guest users of Apple Pay with multiple fingerprints for authentication during the enrollment process. Users can then access Apple Pay with their own set of purchasing rules.
Patently Apple notes that the technology can be used for corporate mobile phones in a broader sense. For example, one employee may be allowed to send texts while another may be permitted to shop online through the device.
But some reports say that the new technology could be directly applicable to the corporate card market, as a potential use case of the tool would be for managers to set up Apple Pay employee profiles that set spending controls and limits for company procurement and corporate travel, negating the need for employees to carry around physical cards.
Corporate travel spending is expected to hit $310 billion this year, according to statistics from the Global Business Travel Association.
Late last year Apple gave its first signal that it would be interested in entering the corporate payments space. But other major players in the mobile payments space have been eying business cards. Most notably, while reports emerged last October that Apple Pay is not compatible with commercial cards like those issued by American Express, the credit card company announced only weeks ago that its commercial card products now support Apple Pay technology.
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