A fresh report from Forbes contradicts the latest rumor that Apple has dropped contactless payments for the iPhone 5. Earlier this week, The Independent reported that Apple had ditched the idea because there isn’t a clear industry standard when it comes to near-field technology.

A contactless payment allows a shopper to pass a phone over a receiver, which then charges the user for the purchase. 

For those of you keeping track, this means the Apple NFC rumor mill is turning in its original direction again.

Forbes’ Elizabeth Woyke says that an unnamed source in the NFC tech community has heard from a reliable friend at Apple that it’s possible the company is going to include the feature in the iPhone 5. That’s a long game of telephone, but the report does fall in line with earlier rumors based on hiring trends at Apple and would better set the company up to take on its competitors.

Sources told Bloomberg yesterday that Google will buy up NFC receivers to roll out contactless payments in New York and San Francisco. Google’s Nexus S already has NFC built in. Plus, RIM has said it’s putting NFC in most of its upcoming devices, though a Wall Street Journal article this morning said the company is quibbling with carriers over who should control payment data .

Sometimes following all the latest rumors can give a person a sort of mental whiplash, but at least this gives fans of the iWallet concept a bit of hope. For what it’s worth, Forbes’ source also said NFC manufacturers expect increased demand after the iPhone 5 launches this summer

Well, you know, “most likely” launches this summer. One can never be too sure about these things.

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