PayPal 'Kicking the Tires' on Integrating Touch ID Into its Mobile Apps
PayPal is already working to incorporate the fingerprint scanning capabilities of the iPhone 5s into its mobile apps, likely planning to use the technology to authenticate users and confirm payments through the use of a fingerprint rather than a password.
Apple first announced a Touch ID API for developers on Monday, which will allow the feature to be integrated into third-party apps for the first time. According to a PayPal source that spoke to Business Insider, PayPal developers attended a developer session on Touch ID at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday to learn about the new API.
"It seems to be a fairly easy API to use, but we're still kicking the tires," the PayPal source tells us.
Anuj Nyar, PayPal's senior director of global initiatives, confirmed in an email that company developers had attended the session.
At the current point in time, Apple's Touch ID feature is limited to unlocking the iPhone and making purchases for apps and music within the iTunes Store. Apple has previously faced significant scrutiny over privacy concerns with Touch ID, which is likely why it has taken nearly a year for the company to allow developers access to the feature.
Since the release of the iPhone 5s, Apple has worked to overcome security concerns by releasing extensive documentation on Touch ID, which works through a "Secure Enclave" within the iPhone's A7 chip, using a secure boot process and other security measures to prevent both Apple and any other third parties from accessing Touch ID data.
Touch ID for developers works in conjunction with Keychain, unlocking Keychain items through a simple yes/no verification process that identifies successful fingerprint matches. During Monday's keynote, Apple software chief Craig Federighi assured iPhone users that fingerprint data remains protected and inaccessible to developers.
PayPal's main app currently allows users to send and request money and to make payments via the service in retail stores, restaurants, and more. Several features require a password to login or confirm payments, steps that may be simplified with Touch ID.
Apple may have plans to build Touch ID into a complete payment service in the future, as the company is said to be working on a mobile payments solution. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, mobile payments were "one of the thoughts behind Touch ID." Apple has also reportedly been in talks with PayPal about a possible payments partnership, so it is no surprise that PayPal is eager to be at the forefront of Touch ID app integration.