There are some speculating that Apple might buy Square. I don’t see what that acquisition would buy Apple — they already know how to process credit cards and have loads on file. Square’s hardware is nice, but swiping credit cards is either on its way out, as in the US, or gone completely in most parts of the world. Sure, Square has a prominent retail deal with Starbucks, but that’s the first deal Apple would sign, too.
This report from Recode, though, seems much more Apple’s speed: rolling an in-house payments system. It’s the obvious missing part of Passbook. The question now — aside from the credibility and actuality of this report, obviously — is whether there will be NFC support in the next iPhone. Ming Chi-Kuo thinks it’s coming, for what it’s worth. (To quash one oft-cited reason for a lack of NFC — the metal back — that’s what the top and bottom cutout windows are for and, potentially, the Apple logo.)