As a payments geek I was really excited about the launch of Apple Pay. So much so that I transferred my current account to a provider that would support it at launch rather than having to wait until “Autumn”. On launch day I loaded my card as soon as I got
to the office and it worked perfectly. The security steps put in by my provider worked well and I was up and running, a good sign!
Lunch time arrived and I popped out of the office to our local Boots store and I picked up some lunch. I approached the self-service till, selected “contactless payment” and held my phone to the terminal as I’d seen on a YouTube video when Apple Pay was
first released in the US. My fingerprint was accepted and the payment was made. It worked! My first observation is that it was pretty much the same as using a contactless card but a little slower and a little more awkward. I have the iPhone 6 plus and I don’t
have the biggest hands so it was a little awkward but hardly worth mentioning.
Have I used it again since? No, here’s why:
- It doesn’t give me anything more than using my debit card, if anything it’s a little more inconvenient.
- I still have my wallet on me so why should I bother?
The second point is probably the biggie for me at the minute. Until significant changes are made, I can’t see a scenario where I’d be able to leave my wallet at home. To understand why this is I’ll need to list the things that I carry in my wallet:
This is where Apple Pay will help though can’t yet be a true replacement for physical cards. Apple Pay is great if I’m popping out to get some lunch or a few bits from the shop however if I’m doing my weekly shop it’s not yet of use. The first reason for
this is the £20 (rising to £30 soon) limit on transactions. I understand that this is a restriction placed by merchants rather than Apple however until Touch ID is accepted as a valid security measure and the restriction is lifted, I’ll need to carry a physical
card. The second is that not everywhere accepts contactless payments. Again, this is something that will change over time however now, especially where I live in the North of England, contactless isn’t the norm. The final reason is that there are some scenarios
where whether I like it or not, I need cash. This can be when trying to catch a cab from the train station or places that do not accept cards for low value transactions (my local paper shop is the prime example of this). If I’m out an about and need cash for
any reason I can’t get to it using my iPhone, I need an ATM and a physical card.
I can only assume that this will be coming in the future but at the minute it’s a definite drawback to using Apple Pay. I use three loyalty cards, one for fuel and two for store purchases (Boots & Morrisons). While I may be able to pay for purchases in all
of these stores using Apple Pay I still need to carry my loyalty cards with me in able to gain the associated benefits. I hope in time there will be the ability to link my loyalty points to my Apple ID and no longer need the cards however this isn’t a reality
I’m lucky enough to be in the situation where even though I turn 30 in a couple of weeks, wear a suit most of the week and have a beard that wouldn’t make me out of place in the 80’s rock bank ZZ Top, I still get asked to show ID when buying age restricted
items (don’t get me started on the whole “challenge 25” thing). For this reason I usually carry my driving licence with me to prove my age when needed.
So what am I trying to say here? I guess what I’m saying is well done Apple, Apple Pay works well and I think this will be a major step forward for mobile contactless payments but more work needs to be done before Apple Pay can really replace my wallet.