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Apple rumored to launch loyalty rewards program alongside mobile payments system

Apple is reportedly looking to roll out a so-called "iWallet" loyalty program in cooperation with merchants and retailers that could be announced at Tuesday's special media event.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bank Innovation reports Apple is moving to build partnership programs for a rumored mobile payments system, and has held talks with merchants and retailers like global hotel chain IHG International.

The publication points to Apple corporate job postings as further evidence of a growing internal merchant relations division, including a marketing manager position tasked with developing "digital and physical assets, programs and training materials to deploy across external partners in the U.S. and other regions." Most notable about this particular job is that it falls under Apple's iTunes department, suggesting the rumored loyalty program will be built on the company's digital storefront.

Over the past two weeks, a number of rumors have surfaced relating to Apple's supposed mobile payments ambitions. Along with next-generation iPhone and "iWatch" hardware support by way of near-field communication (NFC) components, the company is said to have inked deals for lower transaction rates from major credit card issuing banks. Further, critical tie-ups with retail chains like CVS and Walgreens would bring a wide preinstalled user base to the nascent mobile-based solution.

Recent "leaks" from China showed what is claimed to be working "iPhone 6" handsets running a late or final version of iOS 8. Alongside the usual first-party apps, an icon for Apple's Passbook was was tweaked to include a graphical representation of a credit card, hinting that the software may integrate payments support at launch.

Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPhone lineup at a special event on Tuesday, which also serves as a fitting venue for an announcement regarding mobile payments. AppleInsider will be on site with the latest news and readers can follow along with up to the minute alerts via the official AppleInsider app.