As of October 20th, 2014, Apple Pay was in full swing. The payment service provided by Apple--maker of your favorite iPhone, iPod, iWatch, and other iDevices--allows shoppers to pay via their smartphones in stores that use mobile payment terminals. Instead of needing to swipe a credit card or pay in cash, shoppers can simply store their information in Apple Passbook, and Apple will do the rest!
But is Apple Pay a service worth your time--and money? Is it all that it’s cracked up to be? Here are the pros and cons of Apple Pay:
Not only does Apple Pay support all the big credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discovery, etc.), but it is working with all of the major banks in the country to make the service as attractive and user-friendly as possible. According to one source, it will be compatible with over 220,000 retailers.
The fact that you don’t need to swipe a credit card means that there is a much lower risk of your information being stolen. Apple Pay won’t even use your credit card to process payments, but will generate a "device account number" as another intermediary between your private data and the retailers. It uses one of the most secure payment mechanisms in the industry.
It’s free of charge
While PayPal and most banks charge retailers to use a virtual terminal to receive payments, Apple Pay will not. This means that retailers will be able to sell their goods WITHOUT being charged a fee, which, while nominal, can add up over the course of a year. Apple’s cut comes from the credit card transaction fees charged by the credit card companies.
No more having to fish around in your purse for your wallet, search for your card, then swipe it and input your PIN. It’s as simple as holding your phone near the reader, letting your phone read your fingerprint, and clicking "OK" on the purchase. Thanks to the biometric security used for all new iPhones, it’s safer AND easier.
It’s more private
No more tracking of your purchases or shopping preferences! The retailers will not have access to your private information (address, credit card details, etc.). Only Apple will have that information available, and it will not store transaction or shopping data.
While the system is awesome in theory, it has not yet launched. This means that there are a host of problems just around the corner, but by the time those problems are noticed, many people will have been plagued by identity theft, incompatibility with the devices, etc.
It’s not totally secure
How can you shop if your phone battery is dead? What will you do if someone steals your phone? After the 2014 iCloud hacks, Apple’s security has been found somewhat lacking.
Unless you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, or iPad Mini 3, you won’t be able to use Apple Pay. To top it off, Apple Pay only works in-store when you use your iPhones, but not with the iPads.
It doesn’t allow for online shopping
Apple Pay is designed to be used in-store primarily, but it doesn’t allow you to make purchases online. Considering that a vast majority of the country shops online, the service is highly limited until Apple expands enough to include online shopping.
Apple Pay does look appealing, but, as with all Apple products, it’s not without its drawbacks. Ultimately, it’s up to you--the user--to decide if it’s worth it for you or not.
What are your thoughts on Apple Pay? Excited or hesitant? Leave a comment below and let us know…