The White House announced on Friday that federal payment cards, including Social Security and veterans benefits cards, will offer Apple Pay support. The announcement came just ahead of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s speech today at Obama’s cybersecurity summit being held in Palo Alto, California.
The deal, which was revealed to Bloomberg, covers the government’s Direct Express payment network, and cards issued via GSA SmartPay.
The support from federal payment cards is a bit of a government endorsement of Apple Pay, as the cards are used for $26.4 billion worth of transactions every year. The security of Apple Pay is likely attractive to the U.S government, as credit or debit card numbers are never transmitted when authorizing transactions, instead using a one-use tokenized number to completed the transaction.
Cook declared last month that 2015 will be “the year of Apple Pay.”
Apple Pay hit the ground running last fall, quickly becoming a popular method of making credit and debit card transactions among owners of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets. (The two devices are currently the only Apple Pay capable devices, although the Apple Watch, which will debut in April, will also work for Apple Pay transactions at participating merchants.)
Apple Pay has proven popular in the U.S. following its October 2014 debut, quickly grabbing 1% of all digital payment dollars in the month of November. While Apple Pay is currently only available in the United States, the company has plans to expand to other countries, reportedly readying a Canadian launch of the service for early 2015.