According to a new report from the New York Times, Apple held top-secret meetings with JPMorgan Chase and other banks for Apple Pay. That was in January 2013. Apple met with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and other big credit card companies for a new project, code-named "Frenzy," one of the sources said. Other banks used different code names.
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Visa, for example, used the name of a rival consumer electronics company to avert attention. In JPMorgan's case, the company set up a "war room in a windowless conference room in San Francisco" to talk about the project. Of the 300 JPMorgan employees, only 100 of them knew about the partnership with Apple.
Earlier this week, when Apple took to the stage to unveil Apple Pay, JPMorgan held a separate financial conference in New York where CFO Marianne Lake took out a green apple from her bag to confirm the partnership with Apple. “So we are very excited about Apple Pay, and Chase customers will be able to participate in that,” she said.
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The report resurrects the secrecy that Apple has been known for. Banks, now threatened by alternate payment mediums like Bitcoin, are hopeful about Apple Pay. “There are schemes that don’t respect and honor the payment networks. We want to invest in programs that respect our role in the ecosystem," said James Anderson, the senior vice president for mobile product development at MasterCard.