Apple’s new mobile payments service, Apple Pay, allows consumers to use certain mobile devices to make payments in an easy, secure and private way. Here are a few benefits.
Apple Pay isn’t exactly a traditional mobile wallet, it’s a mobile payment enabler, and that makes it easier to use for customers. Users can keep their current credit cards without worrying about having to store money in a separate digital account. It’s one advantage that Pay has over mobile wallet systems like MCX–a retailer effort to enter mobile payment markets that requires users to create an entirely new account.
2. Touch-to-Pay is Simple and Speedy
Perhaps most importantly for users, Apple’s touch-to-pay system works, and works fast. You touch your phone to a sensor (this helps remove NFC interference issues) and tap the iPhone’s main button. Sometimes a PIN is required, but the process is fast and dependable. This compares favorably to options like CurrentC, the latest MCX project that works with less dependable and unnecessary QR codes.
Apple is well-positioned to see quick growth in Apple Pay. Mobile payments have been around long enough for most users to become acquainted with them; currently, they have an estimated 42% of American smartphone users and a large Passbook customer base to draw from. Perhaps even more importantly, Apple has released Pay just ahead of the massive upgrades that U.S. merchants will need to make to their credit card systems–upgrades that could go a lot more smoothly if merchants also upgraded to Pay at the same time.
4. Start Big, Go Small
When Apple first announced Pay, it opened with compatibility for around 220,000 stores in the United States. This is a fairly small start, but it shows Apple’s intent: Start with the big guys, then expand outward into smaller retailers and chains as Pay evolves. By first recruiting more of the top 100 retailers in the U.S., Apple has given Pay a momentum boost right out the starting gate. People are already used to it, and retailers are already working on management systems for it.
Apple Pay dodges many security vulnerabilities by utilizing tokenization. This helps reduce the amount of sensitive data transferred and makes that data as useless as possible to hackers. It also introduces new security in the form of Touch ID and similar features. In a world where big seller databases are being hacked increasingly often, this is a welcome benefit for all users.