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Apple reportedly inks deal with American Express for 'iPhone 6' payment system

Credit card giant American Express is apparently onboard with Apple's forthcoming mobile payment system, expected to be a part of the company's next-generation iPhone set to be unveiled at a Sept. 9 media event.

Word of the Buffalo, New York, financial giant's apparent partnership with Apple was first reported on Sunday by Re/code, which reaffirmed that the payment system is expected to be tied to the forthcoming "iPhone 6." The so-called e-wallet system would allow users to use their handset to make payments at retail outfits, negating the need for a physical credit card.

Sunday's report said that AmEx is "one of several partners" that the company will need to sign up, but didn't indicate who else might be onboard. Also unknown is which retailers might support Apple's system, which is expected to rely on a secure enclave inside the "iPhone 6."

Another expected key component is a near-field communications chip, rumored to appear for the first time ever in Apple's 2014 iPhone models. The new handset is rumored to come in screen sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, and recent hardware leaks have supported expectations that an NXP-made NFC chip will be a part of the phone.

Apple has also filed for patents that describe mobile payment systems utilizing NFC RFID technology. But to date, the company has relied on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for short-range wireless functions, most notably with the company's proprietary combination of the two, dubbed iBeacon.

Rumors of NFC functionality in a future iPhone have persisted for years, and seem to appear leading up to just about every new handset launch. And though there have been a multitude of NFC-capable smartphones on the market for years, has never been an Apple product with NFC functionality.

One rumor that surfaced this summer claimed that Apple was accelerating work on a mobile payments system that could be ready by this fall, launching as part of the "iPhone 6." That report claimed that Apple was in talks with partner companies, including Visa, in an effort to debut its own e-wallet platform.