Apple Pay has been around for a few months now, and over its short lifespan it has already grown into the most-used contactless payment service available today. Unfortunately, my bank wasn’t amongst the financial institutions that supported Apple Pay when it first launched, so even though I owned an iPhone 6, I had to wait patiently for Apple to add them as a partner. That happened a few weeks back, and at long last I was able to set up my debit card for use within the service. A few days ago I finally had the opportunity to put it to the test, and it was as seamless, easy, and quick as Apple had promised.
For those who don’t know, Apple Pay is a fast and secure method for making credit or debit card transactions using your iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and soon the Apple Watch. It uses Near Field Communications technology built into those devices to quickly and easily complete transactions without the need to ever pull out your credit card at all. The fact that those transactions take place without the exchange of a credit card number – or any personal information for that matter – makes it a far more secure method for making purchases.
Setting up Apple Pay is incredibly easy. You simply launch the Passbook app on your iPhone and select the option to add a credit card to the service. From there, the app provides a step-by-step guide for entering your information either by hand, or alternatively by simply take a photo of the card. If you choose the latter option all of the information is entered automatically for you. Either way, it takes just a minute or two to actually input the data and have it verified from your bank. Once it is entered, you’re all set to begin using the service.
Using Apple Pay in the real world requires visiting a retail location that actually supports the service. You’ll find a list of those outlets on the Apple Pay webpage, with places like McDonalds, Toys R Us, and Whole Foods already onboard. Those outlets must have NFC enabled payment options at their checkout counters in order to interact with your iPhone, and eventually the Apple Watch. Surprisingly enough, many places do have the necessary equipment, although not all of them have activated it.
I was finally able to put Apple Pay to the test at my local Walgreens pharmacy where I had to pick up a prescription for some travel medication a few days ago. After receiving my order, I simply held my phone up to the payment terminal and pressed the Touch ID scanner with my thumb to activate. The screen lit up with an image of my debit card, and a shot of my thumb print being verified. The iPhone then buzzed a confirmation when the transaction was complete, letting me know that the purchase had been successful. The entire process took less than ten seconds to complete, and was every bit as easy as Apple had promised.
It is clear that Apple Pay is here to stay, and is only just starting to pick up momentum. The service is expected to come to Europe later this year, and more businesses are adding it as a payment option here in the States on a regular basis. In fact, JetBlue airline has even started rolling it out for inflight purchases of drinks and snacks, and Starbucks has recently included the service as a payment option for its app as well. Apple Pay – and other contactless payment services – are the future of mobile payments for sure, and with is very secure method of making transactions, customers are likely to embrace it warmly.
Check to see if your bank supports Apple Pay by clicking here.