Apple promised users the future of shopping with the advent of their hugely-touted Apple Pay, telling fans to ditch their wallets and use their phones instead. Unfortunately for Apple, that future looks to be a long way off, if it even gets here at all.
Apple Pay looks to replace a wallet full of credit and bank cards with an all-inclusive app, protected by Apple’s Touch ID, using a near-field communication (or NFC) chip built into the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Users simply tap their phones to the card reader at the store, holding a finger to the Touch ID sensor, and the purchase is sent to the bank to process.
The problem Apple is facing is any substantial implementation. At the keynote, Apple stated that over 200,000 retailers nationwide are “Apple Pay ready,” but it’s only a fraction of all U.S. retailers. Additionally, “Apple Pay ready” may only amount to retailers having the technology to accept payments made using Apple’s new service, but not the willingness. According to SF Gate, both Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies are blocking Apple Pay, presumably because they intend to launch their own mobile payment systems. The Wall Street Journal also reported a huge blow to Apple Pay, in that technology giant Best Buy isn’t planning on accepting the pay service for a similar reason.
Moreover, it may be the retailers are going to be slow to adopt the technology, which has already existed for years in both Android and Windows Phone devices, simply because it solves a problem that didn’t seem to exist until Apple insisted it did. The introduction to Apple Pay at the keynote showed a woman fumbling with a credit card before awkwardly swiping it through the credit card reader, whereas in an alternative scenario, she simply taps her iPhone to the reader with a smile. The premise would merit some credibility if it weren’t for the fact that swiping a credit card has never been difficult. Apple’s labored attempt to make it look so only proves their desperation to push a solution to a problem that never existed.
The service also relies heavily on trust in the company’s security that has taken a beating after the now infamous iCloud leak. Apple insists that the service does not keep any financial records, but that has done little to quell the trepidation many users have had in adopting it. It most certainly has not helped that some Bank of America customers who used the service were charged twice for each purchase made using Apple Pay, although it’s been confirmed that the issue is with Bank of America’s systems and not Apple.
Maybe Apple will eventually revolutionize the way we pay for things, similar to how they revolutionized how we listen to music and how we use our phones, but Apple Pay is a long way off from being the service to bring us there.
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[Image via Apple]