A couple of weeks after Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 for phones would support NFC payments similar to Apple Pay, there's more evidence that the company may try to compete directly with Apple's payment system.

According to banking consultant Faisal Khan, Microsoft has filed in all 50 states in the US to get permission for a money transmitter license. Idaho has already approved the license for the company, which will operate under the name Microsoft Payments, Inc.

What does this mean, exactly? It's possible Microsoft is laying the groundwork for eventually supporting its own mobile payments system. The fact that Windows 10 for smartphones will be able to support such payments natively, without the need for a special secure third-party app, has already been confirmed.

Information about Microsoft's payment plans for Windows 10 were recently detailed in China during the 2015 WinHEC conference. From our earlier coverage:

"During WinHEC 2015 Microsoft revealed that Windows 10 for phones will support Host Card Emulation (HCE). HCE will allow any smartphone with Windows 10 and NFC hardware to transmit payments from the device to an NFC terminal designed to receive that money but without needing a special secure app like Softcard. HCE un Windows 10 also won't require any secure SIMs from wireless carriers. The slide shows that VISA, MasterCard and American Express are supporting this feature."

The big question is when will Microsoft formally announce such a system. Our best bet is late this month during the Build 2015 developer conference. Windows Central will be on hand for all of Microsoft's big Windows 10 announcements.

Source: Faisal Khan; via WinBeta, Business Insider; Thanks, Mike D., and Tilak S., for the tips!