Reports previously claimed that Apple will be expanding Apple Pay into websites before the end of this year, right in time for the holiday shopping season. If the information were true, it was expected that Apple would be revealing the expansion in this year's edition of the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple did just that, revealing at the ongoing WWDC that it is now working with companies to add an Apple Pay option for paying for purchases made online.

Apple Pay was only used through payment terminals in physical retail stores, as well as with certain apps for the iOS. The expansion will now allow websites to charge customers through Apple's payment system through a dedicated "Pay With Apple Pay" button.

Authentication for the purchase, however, will still require customers to have their iPhone or Apple Watch in hand. Upon checking out a purchase in a website, the user will receive a notification on their iPhone or Apple Watch to request for authentication. Users can then either use the Touch ID system or tap on their pre-authenticated Apple Watch to make the confirmation, which will automatically process the payment on the website.

The expansion will require e-commerce companies to integrate Apple Pay into their checkout systems. Fortunately, Apple has already received the backing of many merchants to support its payment system, with big names such as United Airlines, Expedia and Target among those already in the list of partners.

Accessing Apple Pay for the web, however, will require users to be on a Mac desktop or laptop, as the capability will be part of the Mac OS Sierra upgrade that will be released in the fall.

Nevertheless, the expansion to online shopping will greatly increase the market for Apple Pay users, as it looks to tap the potential of the e-commerce crowd.

The move will also place Apple in direct competition with online payment service PayPal, which is said to have over 179 million active users around the world. The industry will become even more crowded with the pending entry of rival Google's Android Pay, which the company said is also being developed to be added to websites.

The difference maker for Apple Pay for web, according to Apple, is that customers will not be sharing credit card or debit card information with online merchants. In addition, the system utilizes strong encryption, which protects communication between devices and Apple Pay's servers, not to mention purchases made by users are not tracked by the service.

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