Exclusive: Apple Pay will challenge PayPal by expanding to online purchases

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Watch out, PayPal: You have competition. Apple Pay will expand to the web on Monday, bringing its brand of mobile payments to select retail partners’ websites at WWDC 2016, Digital Trends has learned.

In other words, you’ll soon be able to pay for anything online with the touch of a finger.

It’s the dream that Apple Pay started with the introduction of tap-to-pay and in-app purchases via the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on iPhones back in 2014. Six countries and 2 million locations later, Apple Pay is preparing to conquer the next frontier of payments: the web.

Apple Pay’s launch on the web would mean tough competition for PayPal, which has its own mobile payment service for websites and apps called One Touch. More than 250 of the top 500 online retailers use PayPal’s service, but Apple Pay will be much quicker and easier to use on iOS devices, our source tells us.

Based on our source’s information, it’s unclear whether you will be able to use Apple Pay on the web from a device that does not have a fingerprint sensor, such as a MacBook or a PC. It’s also unknown whether a specific browser will be required to make purchases with Apple Pay online.

As it currently stands, Apple Pay works only on select iPhones and iPads, including the iPhone 6/6S, iPhone 6/6S Plus, iPhone SE, both iPad Pro models, and the most recent iPad Mini, as well as the Apple Watch, because the mobile payment system verifies your purchases with your fingerprint (or in the case of the Apple Watch, your heartbeat). It’s unclear whether Apple Pay for the web will require a fingerprint sensor for verification, or if a password may be used instead.

Recent rumors also hint that Apple will release a new MacBook at WWDC with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. If the new MacBook does indeed offer Touch ID, it stands to reason that it would support Apple Pay on the web.

Related: Apple may already have its next-gen hinges for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro

An earlier report from Recode stated that the web version of Apple Pay would work only in the Safari web browser on iPhones and iPads with Touch ID. The report did claim that Apple was considering extending Apple Pay on the web to MacBooks and Apple desktop computers, so it’s possible that mobile payments could reach all Apple devices in the near future, whether they have Touch ID or not.

In an interesting twist, PayPal owns the payment processing company Braintree, which currently handles the back end of some Apple Pay purchases in apps.

We’ve reached out to Apple and PayPal for comment on this story and will update the post when we hear back.

In the meantime, you can read our extensive guide on Apple Pay and all the places that support it, as well as our roundup of what to expect at WWDC 2016.

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