Bruce Dragt, global leader of ecommerce at payments processor First Data, says: "Everybody understood the drill of what they could and couldn't say, who they could and could not talk to."
If the world's biggest banks see Apple as a threat, why did they get into bed with the technology company and agree to give up a slice of revenues?
One of the reasons it was able to corral so many partners was the absence of anything in Apple's plan that would be truly disruptive to their businesses – at least for now. Apple's model "still puts us at the center of payments", says one bank executive.
The "near-field communication" technology that allows a customer to pay in-store by tapping a phone at a terminal is already in place, even though products that use it, such as Google Wallet, have failed to gain mass acceptance. Banks were already planning to adopt the secure "token" that generates and transmits a one-off code to pay for transactions rather than a signature or PIN, and see others following now that Apple has adopted it.
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Absent from Apple Pay is the ability for users to send money to each other or Bluetooth technology, which would allow users to pay several meters from a terminal rather than a couple of centimeters.
"There's nothing really technologically new in what they're doing," says Hans Morris, former president of Visa and now managing partner at venture capital firm Nyca Partners. But he says that the way Apple has assembled a group of companies more used to competing than collaborating is "analogous to iTunes."
"Everyone knew that technology could deliver a better consumer experience, but you had record companies, artists and competing delivery systems in disagreement," Mr Morris says. "Once Apple pulled it together in a compelling package with key participants on board, everyone else came around."
Banks are willing to lose a slice of revenues in the hope that Apple Pay will become ubiquitous. That would drive up transaction volumes – and therefore overall revenue – and could reduce losses to fraud through its tighter security.
MasterCard and Visa now cover the cost of card fraud, but from next year will hold retailers responsible if they do not use the "chip and PIN" technology that is widespread in Europe but nearly unheard of in the US. The new retail terminals often allow both PIN and NFC transactions. That could speed uptake of Apple Pay.
Even though the in-store payments were the centre of Apple's presentation, banks are more excited by streamlining online shopping. Giving customers an Apple Pay button to press online, rather than typing in card information – particularly on a small screen – will be a real catalyst to more spending, banks believe.
"This is about ecommerce," says Jud Linville, head of cards at Citigroup. "If there is an app where somebody is shopping, being able to close out that shopping experience by tapping Apple Pay delivers convenience and security."
That would make PayPal a more obvious target for disruption by Apple. By bundling its rival with every new iPhone and Watch, Apple is already stealing some potential growth from PayPal's own attempt to create a wallet app.
Despite the lessons from iTunes, for now the banking and payments industry is confident that Apple is a benign partner. "What Apple really announced was the end of the plastic credit card, but not the end of paying by credit," says Jason Oxman, chief executive of industry group Electronic Transactions Association.