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applepay1Apple has just picked up a major new partner for its mobile payment service: the U.S government. Company CEO Tim Cook announced at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection today that Apple Pay will support debit cards used for federal benefits including veterans’ benefits and Social Security.

Users of regular credit cards also have something to look forward to: as part of the partnership, people will be able to use Apple Pay to pay for some transactions with the federal government starting in September. In particular, Cook said that users will be able to pay for admission to national parks using the payment system.

The deal is important to the continued growth of Apple Pay. GSA SmartPay, which administers the government benefit debit cards, handles more than 87 million transactions every year, worth a total of more than $26 billion. Getting access to a chunk of those payments would be a major boon to Apple.

The system has been growing by leaps and bounds since Apple first launched it in October. As of now, it has support from more than 60 banks and more than 45 physical retailers, with more coming in the future.

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