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Apple Pay rewards program coming in June as Android Pay looms, report says

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Apple is reportedly set to announce a rewards program next month that will give perks to customers using Apple Pay, a long-rumored feature that could escalate the stakes in what appears to be a coming battle with Google's competing Android Pay service.

According to sources speaking with The New York Times, Apple is to announce its Apple Pay rewards program in June, potentially at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference.

Information is scarce, but people familiar with Apple's plans said the company will offer Apple Pay customers perks in exchange for using the service, which is currently hardware-limited to iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

As for Google's plans, sources claim the Internet search giant is fostering partnerships with a wide range of credit and debit cards providers, as well as merchants keen on harvesting customer shopping data. To this end, Android Pay may link with existing retailer loyalty programs, though details regarding potential partnerships went unreported.

Interestingly, part of Google's revamped mobile payments initiative involves the resurrection of Google Wallet, which will reportedly serve as a peer-to-peer solution tied to users' debit accounts.

Rumors of an Apple Pay rewards system first surfaced soon after the service launched last October, but an actual program failed to materialize. At the time, reports claimed iBeacon technology would be integrated, allowing merchants to push out coupons and other perks to iPhone owners.