Every September, Apple announces exciting new products that promise to change how we interact with not only our devices, but with the world around us. 2014 has been no exception; in San Francisco this morning, Apple announced the iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Pay. Even though I’m excited about the capabilities and features of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, I’ll leave those blog posts to the consumer phone experts.
Apple Pay combines the iPhone 6’s Near Field Communications (NFC) capabilities with “Secure Element” chip technology, thereby creating a device-enable mobile wallet. Apple Pay will be supported by 6 U.S. banks at launch, and users will be able to add their AmEx, MasterCard and Visa payment cards. 220,000 merchant locations will accept Apple Pay, including Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Walgreen’s, Duane Reade, Subway, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Whole Foods, Staples, The Disney Store, Uber, and Groupon and of course, the Apple Store.
This is going to change the Payments Industry as we know it, right?
Maybe. There will certainly be consumers making in-store payments with their new iPhone’s. There will also be plenty of consumers who want to use their iTunes accounts for online transactions. However, it’s going to be a long time before such payments fully replace the card swipe or current online checkout processes. It will also be difficult for some industries and merchants to adopt this new form of payment. And, since Apple Pay is only offered on Apple’s newest devices (iPhone 6 and newer), users of older iPhones and Android devices will be unable to take advantage of this new payment method.
The announcement is exciting and holds significant promise. But, we don’t expect it to fully replace current forms of payment anytime soon. As an industry, we are still going to need the PCI DSS, robust security programs and scope-reducing technologies like point-to-point encryption to protect traditional cards.