There has been some recent speculation that Apple may be looking to broaden the reach of their iTunes payment portal to compete with PayPal and others in the online payment space.
While a full blown competitor to PayPal is unlikely, expanding the areas in which customers can use Apple’s iTunes payment system makes sense. As someone who has had a PayPal account since before they were owned by eBay and a frequent iTunes purchaser, the iTunes process is much easier and faster.
The amount of hurdles steps required to complete a PayPal transaction is a real pain. I’ve always viewed them as a middle man for eBay transactions with individuals that I didn’t know. If I was dealing with a legitimate company, the whole process seamed clunky.
Purchasing apps, movies, music and computers from the Apple Store using iTunes has always been easy. I can use the same account to purchase content on my computer, iPhone and AppleTV and all I need is my password.
The real advantage Apple will have over other payment portals like Amazon (which is also pretty easy) is that anyone that purchases an app for their phone or music from iTunes already has an account.
Will Apple want to deal with 3rd party companies accepting iTunes payments? Probably not. The percentage they could charge is probably not worth the hassle.
What they could do (and are beginning to) is start accepting payments for purchases from inside approved apps. Zappos could have an iPhone app that takes iTunes as payment for example.
Trust and ease of use combined with lots of merchants and customers are what consumers will be looking for when they choose a payment portal. Apple has most of these bases already covered.