iPhone-based Apple Pay system apparently ready to use, launching later this week

The iPhone-based Apple Pay system will reportedly debut this coming weekend, with Apple employees already using it ahead of the official release.

Apple Pay is expected to become officially available on Oct. 18, according to a recently-leaked internal memo from retail chain Walgreens.

A new report from Apple-centric publication 9to5Mac now claims to have more details on the matter, complete with some leaked documents illustrating how Apple Pay works. The report notes that Apple employees are already using the system to pay for their lunch, which suggests that the service is fully functional and ready for public release.

"The launch of Apple Pay, Apple's NFC and Touch ID-based mobile payment solution, is upon us. Apple has begun preparing for the launch by kicking off Apple Pay training programs for its own group of retail store employees and by working with retailers to prepare for the debut later this month," 9to5Mac reports. "The training materials, shared by a reliable source, for the Apple Pay launch at Apple retail stores have also detailed some new specifics regarding the Apple Pay setup and transaction processes both on customer iPhones and in Apple retail stores."

Apple is holding a special event on Thursday, Oct. 16, to unveil its next-generation iPads, and recent reports have suggested that the company may also announce more details regarding Apple Pay at the event, ahead of an actual release.

As a reminder, Apple unveiled its new Pay feature last month, when it took the wraps off its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Pay will come built into all new Phone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, using NFC for secure wireless communication and relying on Touch ID to authorize purchases.

Using the new iPhone's iSight camera, users can take a photo of their bank card and Apple Pay will automatically get the necessary details under an application called Passbook.

Users will be able to set up Apple Pay via this Passbook app, either through the initial setup process for iOS 8, or in a new Settings app tab called Passbook & Apple Pay. In addition to using the iPhone's camera, users will also be able to add credit cards to Passbook via their iTunes account. The leaked training materials further reveal that Apple Pay will be able to store up to eight bank cards.

"Interestingly, the Passbook/ Apple Pay settings will have deep ties to the credit card companies and banks involved in the service. For each connected credit card/bank, users will have a simple list of recent transactions, quick access to download an accompanying App Store app, the ability to contact their bank, the option to receive push notifications, and a display of both their credit card's number and the unique device account number," adds the report.

Furthermore, Passbook will reportedly update a credit card automatically if it expires, getting the new expiration date straight from the credit card company. This means that users will not have to delete and re-add the card in question, Passbook will do it for them.

Once everything is set up, users will be able to make purchases in any compatible shop by tapping their iPhone and pressing a finger on Touch ID to authorize payment. Apple will reportedly not have access to information about what you bought or how much you spent, as the information would pass directly to the bank. The shop will not get your payment details either, in order to make everything more secure.

Apple has already teamed up with Visa, American Express and MasterCard to launch its Pay service in the U.S., and more details should become available this week.

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