Apple has introduced a new way for music fans to pay for music through its iTunes Music Store.

The new payment option uses Firstgate’s Click & Buy system. This system allows users to register for the service, and then pay for their online transactions securely using Firstgate's service - meaning they don't need to use their credit card.

User's online shopping costs can then be combined and paid for monthly. The introduction of support for the service also means iTunes Music Store users can eventually pay for purchases using direct debit, invoice or prepaid accounts, as well as a credit card.

Apple’s vice president of applications Eddy Cue said: "We think giving our iTunes customers the option to use the Click & Buy payment option is going to be a hit".

Apple lure for Euro iTunes partners

Apple today also launched its iTunes Affiliates Program in Europe - the first pan-European music download service to offer such a scheme, Apple claimed.

This scheme lets Web sites register for the Program, after which they get a small commission on every iTunes sale they generate. Most sites generate their income here by mentioning songs or albums on their site, and linking these mentions to the relevant tracks on iTunes.

Cue explained: "With over 15,000 iTunes affiliates in the US, the introduction of our affiliate program to Europe will drive even more customers to the world’s best online music store, while providing affiliate websites a quick and easy way to generate commissions.”

Affiliates that sign up for the iTunes Affiliate scheme from now until June 30 will be entered into a competition to win an iPod, Apple said, though terms and conditions apply.
Many labels and artists alike have already signed up for the program, and Clear Channel’s ticket site as well as Hit40UK and XFM, will have integrated links from their sites directly into the iTunes Music Store, Apple revealed.