Re/code reports Apple (AAPL +1.2%) "has been interviewing senior payments industry executives to push ahead on a plan to build an electronic payments business." E-commerce chief Jennifer Bailey is said to be leading the initiative. "Their ambitions are very, very serious," says one source.
The WSJ reported in January Apple is "laying the groundwork" for a mobile payments push, albeit while leaving many questions unanswered regarding the kinds of transactions that will be covered, and which payments technologies will be used. Tim Cook later stated Apple is "intrigued" by the mobile payments space.
Apple has ~600M iTunes accounts (most of which are linked to credit cards) to leverage for a payments initiative, as well as complementary technologies such as fingerprint sensors and the iBeacon positioning platform. Android support (something Apple is reportedly considering for iTunes) would do a lot to extend the service's reach in markets where Google's OS dominates.
Re/code previously reported PayPal (EBAY -0.1%), whose services Apple could end up competing with, is pitching Apple on offering white-label solutions for its payments effort. But sources noted it's unlikely Apple would have any need for them.