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Three Advantages of Apple Pay

BY Dan Berthiaume

As the initial burst of hype over the Apple Pay mobile payment platform (and the glitchy live feed of its announcement, U2’s surprise new digital album release and chic style of the “Scarf Guy)” fades, it’s time to take a more in-depth look at the merits of the platform. While Apple Pay will probably not obliterate the market for traditional wallets or competing digital wallet solutions, it does possess some unique competitive advantages that should make Apple Pay a major factor in the world of mobile commerce.

Here are three of the biggest advantages Apple Pay offers to both its maker and its users.

1. It’s Really Easy and Safe

Apple Pay might be the easiest, most secure form of payment ever devised, including reaching for cash out of your old-fashioned leather wallet. Consumers pay by simply swiping their finger, using the secure TouchID fingerprint scanner feature of iPhone 6. Any credit card associated with a user’s existing iTunes account is automatically included in their Apple Pay wallet (more on that momentarily), and adding a new card is as easy as snapping a photo with the phone’s built-in InSight camera.

Apple Pay also generates a dynamic security code that replaces the static code on the back of the card and authorizes each individual transaction with a one-time unique number. Further safeguarding privacy (and convenience), if a customer loses an iPhone with Apple Pay installed, they can simply deactivate the feature on that phone rather than having to cancel their cards.

2. It’s got a Huge Built-in User Base

As mentioned above, Apple Pay automatically links to existing iTunes accounts, of which there are more than 200 million. And iPhones are by far the most popular smartphone, and droves of iPhone aficionados will upgrade to the iPhone 6 due to superior graphics, load times, etc.

With Apple Pay just happening to come as a standard feature on the iPhone 6, you don’t have to be a Steve Jobs-level genius to see it has a pretty impressive built-in base of potential users. This will help ensure Apple Pay gets off to a quick start. Another factor that will help iPhone 6 move quickly out of the gate is.

3. It’s Already Accepted All over the Place

Leading retailers that are partnering with Apple to accept Apple Pay include Bloomingdale’s, Disney Store, Duane Reade, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Sephora, Staples, Subway, Walgreens and Whole Foods Market. In addition, Apple Pay will work at the more than 220,000 merchant locations across the nation that already accept contactless payments.

This immediate, widespread acceptance guarantees Apple will maintain a leading presence in the mobile payment device market against competitors such as Amazon Fire, which has impressive information-gathering and virtual shopping capabilities but only makes purchases from Amazon.com, and Square, which requires retailers to use a special card reader.

Furthermore, Apple Pay provides the immediate purchase convenience of virtual currency platforms such as PayPal and Bitcoin, without requiring the retailer or consumers to make any currency conversions or go through any other extra steps. Maybe I should use it to buy a cool new scarf.


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Wal-Mart will not accept Apple Pay

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Wal-Mart Stores has no plans to join Apple’s newly-announced mobile payments system, Apple Pay, which is due to launch in October.

Wal-Mart is supporting a retailer-owned mobile technology group, the Merchant Customer Exchange, which is launching its own mobile wallet application. The application, called CurrentC, is now in pilot and is expected to be rolled out nationwide in 2015, according to The Washington Post. Best Buy is also among the retailers supporting CurrentC.

Similar to Apple Pay, CurrentC will require shoppers to pay for goods using an app on their smartphone. However, CurrentC is not linked to a credit card which would allow the retailers who take it to avoid paying controversial "swipe" fees.

In another difference, CurrentC works on any smartphone.

“While these two platforms are big enablers, that does not automatically guarantee success. We still need to see whether consumers will find the value proposition enough to start using the system," said Rajesh Kandaswamy, a research director at Gartner, in the Post report. "This pits powerful players against each other, but they are not the only ones."

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Fitch downgrades RadioShack’s credit rating

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded RadioShack’s credit rating. On Thursday, the struggling retailer warned it may need to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Fitch cut RadioShack’s issuer default rating from "C” from "CC," which puts the chain’s credit rating one level above default.

Fitch said that RadioShack may experience a funding shortfall during the holiday season.

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