iOS 16 brings some new features to Apple Pay, such as a payment API for CarPlay apps, order tracking in the Wallet app, and even Apple Pay Later. However, it seems that Apple has been working on some other changes as iOS 16 beta 3 hints at support for virtual cards in Safari for online shopping.
Virtual cards in Safari
As seen by 9to5Mac in the internal code of iOS 16 beta 3, released on Wednesday for developers, Apple has been working on a new system to integrate virtual cards with Safari in order to improve security when shopping online.
For those unfamiliar, virtual cards are offered by some banks and card providers as an option to generate an alternative number for your credit or debit card. This way, if your card data gets leaked, you can simply cancel the virtual card number without having to ask your bank for a new card. Some banks also offer the option to generate a one-time use card number.
Based on code seen in the latest iOS 16 beta, Safari will finally provide support for virtual card numbers. Of course, Apple Pay already provides a secure number for each transaction, but this new feature comes into action on websites where Apple Pay is not accepted.
Here’s what the codes say:
Make this card available in Safari AutoFill and hide your real card number when shopping online.
Continue to use your card as usual. When shopping online, it’s now available in Safari AutoFill with your real card information hidden.
For added security, the website will now use a virtual card number and is available in Safari AutoFill.
At this point, it’s unclear whether the feature will be available to everyone or whether it will require adoption by banks and card providers. The feature seems to work similarly to what was introduced by Google with Android 13.
AutoFill and Apple Pay
Safari currently offers an AutoFill option for credit and debit cards when shopping online on websites that don’t support Apple Pay. With this feature, you can save your credit card number so you don’t have to type it in every time you make a purchase.
Code seen by 9to5Mac also reveals that Safari AutoFill will now look for Apple Pay-compatible credit and debit cards. If an eligible card is detected, Safari will automatically prompt the user to add the card to the Wallet app.
Allow Wallet to check if your saved debit and credit cards from Safari AutoFill can be used with Apple Pay.
iOS 16 is currently available as beta software for developers via the Apple Developer website. A public beta will be released this month, while the official release is expected this fall.