Apple Pay, Apple’s fun new incentive to upgrade your iPhone, launched last week. Though at antedote we are a pro-Apple office, I am the last (and proud!) Android holdout, so I decided to do a little personal research to better understand the beauty of this new NFC payment feature.
The resounding answer: It’s just easier. Simply tapping your phone (which is probably in your hand anyway) to the NFC reader while placing your finger on TouchID is far more intuitive than the hassle of carrying, digging out and swiping cards — a level of ease that Google Wallet’s PIN system doesn’t achieve. At the end of the day, providing an easier experience than a card swipe is a requirement of entry when it comes to new payment methods.
Apple’s partnerships with common retailers like Walgreens and Whole Foods certainly help its cause. It also helps that NFC infrastructures built from the likes of MasterCard PayPass and Google Wallet have been around long enough for chains to be prepared. As a McDonald’s spokesperson said, “We have been accepting mobile payments in-store and at the drive-thru since 2011, so our 14,000+ U.S. restaurants and drive-thrus are ready for Apple Pay.”
However, there is some retail opposition for Apple Pay (and all competitive NFC payments, including Google Wallet) in the form of CurrentC, the new mobile payment app that chains like CVS and RiteAid have bought into, shutting down support for other mobile payments. There’s also the problem of small retailers — as a city girl and dining enthusiast, I know that few of my family-owned favorite restaurants and dive bars will be offering Apple Pay compatibility soon. This is a challenge of the category, though, and not solely Apple Pay’s problem to deal with.
In the end, though I wanted to think Apple Pay was just a PR-pumped iKnockoff of Google Wallet, it seems that the easy functionality of TouchID and the NFC-readiness of retailers does push it over the edge to a relevant — if fairly close-in — evolution when it comes to convenient payments.
Galaxy, where you at?