A Review of Apple's  Pay

 Pay Review
by Guest columnist August Flassig

Contactless payments have been around for some time, mainly in Europe and Asia. It wasn't until recently that card companies added Near-Field Communication (NFC) to their cards for contactless payments.

Contactless_SymbolHand
Contactless Payment Symbol


Google and other Android phones companies added NFC within the past two years and created “Google Wallet” as their answer to the “mobile wallet” question. However, it didn’t become as popular as anticipated due to lack of infrastructure in the U.S. Now Apple looks to bring a “whole new take” on mobile payments and solve the mobile payment question. So, did it?

In a way, Apple is on the right path to making a truly mobile wallet and making online and in-store payments private, simple, and secure. Setup for  Pay only takes a minute and is easy to have all your supported cards set up in minutes. Using the iPhone’s built-in iSight camera and positioning the card in the onscreen square, the iPhone instantly reads the card data and inputs it. This process is similar to how a Mac and iPhone can redeem iTunes cards using the camera. The only thing you have to add is a security code or any authorization through your bank, if applicable. Also, if you have a credit or debit card on file with iTunes, it will ask if you wish to add it to passbook as well. So, how simple is it to use?

When shopping, if you see a register with a “contactless card payment symbol”  pay is supported. I’ve used  Pay at Panera Bread and its as fast and effortless as one would expect. With a selected card in PassBook, I placed my phone near the card reader, authenticated the transaction with my fingerprint, and the transaction is complete. People have reported even using  Pay at vending machines with the same symbol for contactless payment. However, not all banks and credit card issuers are the same. After buying my breakfast, I never got a digital receipt or other transaction information. The amount is blank and no breakdown of what I bought. However, people who use AMEX report they have the last ten transactions listed in their PassBook. After contacting Bank of America, I was told to talk to Apple because PassBook is not their jurisdiction. So far, not having a digital receipt is a bit scary. Contesting transactions or making returns can be a headache and having to hang onto a paper receipt makes the mobile wallet a little less mobile. If the receipt issue is something that is a store to store issue than it can be a complicated one. However, this issue can be an individual one and my PassBook could have an issue.

Overall, the roll out of  Pay has been successful as they work out the minor kinks and card activations. Using  Pay in apps is a welcomed feature but its only supported apps and not all developers are on board at the moment. Like iOS adoption rates, the adoption rate for  Pay and retailers should be greater by early 2015 when  Watch is released. If you haven't already added your cards in PassBook, try it out. Some locations may not have the supported hardware but by next year EMV “Chip and Pin” card readers will be required and with that support for contactless payment.  Pay is a fun, safe, and secure way to pay that makes owning an iPhone 6 and 6 Plus a great investment. Hopefully you will have a great experience paying with your iPhone for your next purchase. For basic information on  Pay see Apple’s page: https://www.apple.com/iphone-6/apple-pay/