What's Up With Apple: Corellium Launches Initiative; Apple Pay Is a Winner

Last week, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) settled a lawsuit against security software maker Corellium just ahead of a trial that would have begun Monday. The terms of the settlement were confidential, but we may have gotten a hint at what was included from Corellium.

On its corporate blog, the company has announced a Corellium Open Security Initiative to “support independent public research into the security and privacy of mobile applications and devices through a series of awards.” The initiative will award up to three $5,000 grants for “research projects designed to validate any security and privacy claims for any mobile software vendor, whether in the operating system or third-party applications.”

Apple appears to support the effort without saying as much. In an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal, senior vice president for Apple software engineering, Craig Federighi, said, “Security researchers are constantly able to introspect what’s happening in Apple’s [phone] software, so if any changes were made that were to expand the scope of this in some way—in a way that we had committed to not doing—there’s verifiability, they can spot that that’s happening.”

Researchers interested in submitting a proposal have until October 15 to email it to Corellium. The company promises a decision by October 30.

A new study from electronic funds transfer firm Pulse (a subsidiary of Discover) reported that mobile wallet payments using debit cards rose by 51% year over year in 2020 to 2 billion transactions. Apple Pay accounted for 92% of all mobile wallet transactions last year, and its year-over-year growth rate was also higher than competing services from Google and Samsung.

According to the study, the average ticket size for mobile wallet transactions rose by 55% in 2020, from $15 to $23. That is five times the growth in overall debit ticket size. More than half (57%) of mobile wallet transactions are related to in-app purchases, while the rest are made in a brick-and-mortar store.

In its report, Pulse noted:

Looking ahead, issuers generally have a positive outlook on mobile wallets. Merchant acceptance of contactless is increasing, with 74 of the top 100 U.S. merchants now accepting Apple Pay and 65% of all retail locations across the U.S. now supporting it. In addition to in-store avenues, in-app purchases using mobile wallets are growing rapidly, with 57% of mobile wallet transactions now being made in-app. Similarly, cardholder enrollment for wallets is increasing, as is their familiarity with contactless payments.

Overall, debit card use declined by 2.5% last year, largely due to the pandemic. However, the decline in transactions was more than offset by a 10% rise in ticket size to $44.80. Total debit card spending rose 8% year over year to $3.4 trillion.

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