PayPal ready to play with Touch ID support for its iPhone app

iPhone 5S Touch ID
PayPal cozies up to Touch ID

Apple delighted iOS developers this week with the announcement of more than 4,000 new APIs, one of which enables apps to take advantage of the fingerprint sensor built into the iPhone 5S.

Business Insider reported that PayPal engineers were indeed in the audience for Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco this week, and one upcoming iOS 8 feature in particular has piqued the interest of the online payment service.

PayPal Senior Director of Global Initiatives Anuj Nayar confirmed company developers were on hand for a WWDC session detailing forthcoming changes to Touch ID, which could, for example, be used to log into PayPal's mobile app to send payments.

"It seems to be a fairly easy API to use, but we're still kicking the tires," an unnamed PayPal insider elaborated.

Thumbs (and fingers) up

When Cupertino's latest mobile operating system lands this fall, the fingerprint sensor built into the iPhone 5S will no longer be limited to just unlocking the device or authorizing iTunes Store purchases.

Thanks to a new API, Touch ID can now be integrated into third-party apps, such as the official PayPal solution that currently allows customers to send and receive payments using a password or PIN code.

While many pundits believe Touch ID is only the opening salvo in an all-out assault by Apple on a mobile payment system, existing services such as PayPal have been dabbling with similar efforts on finger-friendly smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Presumably, owners of Touch ID-enabled iOS devices would be able to log into their PayPal account to transfer funds or manage settings without the need for a password or even cell phone login credentials, which currently are secured by a four-digit PIN code.

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