iPhone, iPad, and Watch owners who use Apple Pay love Apple Pay. As it did with Touch ID, Apple made a common, convoluted, and cumbersome system easier and safer to use.
Think about Touch ID. Passwords are painful to remember and use which forced most of us to create simple but easy to guess passwords. Touch ID enabled easier access with greater security. Application vendors use Touch ID to allow us into applications, and Apple added Apple Pay to Touch ID for a fast, easy, convenient purchase experience.
Touch ID and Apple Pay is a perfect example of how Apple tackles a complex and cumbersome problem with a simple, effective, and more secure process.
Think of the typical credit card purchase. Stand in line, fumble around for purse or wallet, pull out a credit card, slide the credit card (or, worse, hand it to a sales clerk who disappears for awhile), enter a PIN number, put the credit card back in the aforementioned purse or wallet.
Too many steps. Too many options for trouble.
Enter Touch ID and Apple Pay.
All that is required to complete a purchase is to tap the iPhone near the terminal scanner. No fumbling around for a credit card. Easier, faster, more secure. Except for fumbling around to get to the iPhone.
Enter Watch and Apple Pay.
Now, all that is required to complete a transaction is to get Watch to the terminal scanner. No fumbling around for the iPhone. Watch and Apple Pay is even easier, faster, and just as secure.
What’s not to like?
Merchants that do not use Apple Pay. There are many and some of them are very large companies with tens of thousands of retail outlets. Walmart, Target, Kroger, CVS, and about 60-percent of U.S.-based retailers do not, which means 40-percent do, and the number is growing. So is the number of Apple devices which use Apple Pay– Mac, iPad, iPhone, Watch. Yet, with a smaller slice of the entire gadget industry’s marketshare, Apple’s customers utilize Apple Pay enough to make it the most used mobile purchase method.
As is often the case, Apple’s influence upon the industry is outsized; beyond the company’s marketshare and number of devices in use. Apple’s customers buy more apps, buy more accessories, and use mobile payments more than competitors.
Unfortunately, Apple Pay is unlikely to hit the same levels of use as Visa or MasterCard. Part of that is Apple’s relatively small marketshare among gadgets sold, and part of it has to do with retailers who roll their own systems for purchase and reward, and gather customer data that Apple is unwilling or cannot share via the Apple Pay mechanism.
Still, I’m talking about the Apple Pay experience, and, typical Apple, it’s just better than other systems so it gets used more frequently, and to the point where some merchants feel the pain of not using Apple Pay. Many countries elsewhere in the world have a higher use of contactless payment terminal and both Visa and MasterCard are promoting such systems in the U.S.
Over time, Apple Pay will continue to grow as retailers move to contactless payment terminals, but it just won’t be as ubiquitous as Apple, critics, or customers want.