Apple Pay: The Pros and Cons of Using This Mobile Payment System

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-10-29
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Apple Pay: The Pros and Cons of Using This Mobile Payment System
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    Apple Pay: The Pros and Cons of Using This Mobile Payment System

    By Don Reisinger
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    Pro: Many Major Retailers Are On-Board
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    Pro: Many Major Retailers Are On-Board

    One of the nice things about Apple Pay is that many major retailers are already on-board with the platform, including McDonald's, Macy's and Bloomingdale's. Other companies, including Starbucks and Sephora, will be joining those retailers in the future. So far, Apple has amassed an impressive slate of household-name retailers.
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    Con: Some Major Retailers Are Turning Their Backs on Apple Pay
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    Con: Some Major Retailers Are Turning Their Backs on Apple Pay

    There's another side to the story with retailers. CVS, RiteAid and some others have said that they will not support Apple Pay. The main issue is that they are part of a rival mobile payment solution known as CurrentC. Interestingly, both CVS and RiteAid initially supported Apple Pay and then blocked it. It's unclear whether other companies will do the same in favor of their own proprietary systems.
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    Pro: The Security Is Actually Quite Good
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    Pro: The Security Is Actually Quite Good

    Apple has done a good job at building Apple Pay on a security platform. With each transaction, the person's actual card number is never sent to the merchant. Instead, Apple creates a unique account number that is encrypted and stored in a dedicated chip in the device. From there, secure payments are made and no personal information is ever shared. Not bad.
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    Con: Your Hardware Choices Are Limited
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    Con: Your Hardware Choices Are Limited

    While it might be nice to be able to make payments from an Apple mobile device, not all of Apple's products actually support the technology. As of this writing, Apple Pay only works with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2. In the latter two cases, Apple Pay won't actually work in-store. So, for all intents and purposes, the full Apple Pay functionality will only work everywhere on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
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    Pro: It Works In-Store and In-App
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    Pro: It Works In-Store and In-App

    Apple rightly made sure that Apple Pay would work in a wide range of places. In addition to working in-store, the service works in-app. There are currently several prominent apps that work with Apple Pay, including Panera, Target, Uber and others. Apple has promised that more app support will be coming later this year and next year.
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    Con: What Happens When Your Phone Is Lost or the Battery Dies?
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    Con: What Happens When Your Phone Is Lost or the Battery Dies?

    Although mobile payment solutions are billed as a way to ditch your wallet entirely, that might not be the best case. Mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay are all but useless when a phone is lost or the battery dies, leaving those who decide to leave the wallet at home without any digital plastic to make purchases. This isn't an issue that only affects Apple Pay, but it is something to consider.
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    Pro: Retailers and Consumers Win on Simplicity
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    Pro: Retailers and Consumers Win on Simplicity

    Let's face it: Using Apple Pay is extremely simple to use. Consumers simply place their finger on the Touch ID, hold it up to the near-field communication (NFC) device, and they're all set. For merchants, the transaction is completed like credit cards and they collect the cash. The simplicity of Apple Pay is extremely important.
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    Con: It's Yet to Be Fully Tested
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    Con: It's Yet to Be Fully Tested

    There might be millions of people around the globe who are running iPhone 6 units, but that doesn't mean that Apple Pay has truly been put to the test. Until those millions of people have a chance to get their hands on Apple Pay and put it through the paces at a wide range of retailers, we won't be sure how well it fares. Taking a wait-and-see approach isn't such a bad idea.
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    Pro: Some Can Argue the Risks Are Lower
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    Pro: Some Can Argue the Risks Are Lower

    Some might be able to argue, however, that the risks of using Apple Pay are lower than those of other mobile wallets. After all, no personal information is shared and, compared to credit cards, where all kinds of information is shared between people, retailers and banks, it seems quite secure. Overall, the risks might seem rather small compared with regular credit cards.
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    Con: Apple Pay's Success Will Ultimately Be Governed by Popularity
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    Con: Apple Pay's Success Will Ultimately Be Governed by Popularity

    Over time, the number of people who adopt the technology will ultimately drive the merchant support of Apple Pay. So, if Apple Pay loses out to competing mobile payment services, it will fade away and current users will be forced to go with something else. The book is still out on Apple Pay and until its value is proven to consumers and merchants, there's no telling how long it will last.
 

Apple Pay, the iPhone maker's answer to mobile payments and the competitor to a wide range of similar systems, including Google Wallet, has officially been available to customers for just the past week, and already merchants and users are lining up to either endorse the product or criticize it. Some retailers have fully embraced the payment applications, while others have shunned it in the name of security. Apple Pay has become a controversial product, even though it's still in its fledgling stages. Admittedly, Apple Pay is not perfect. In fact, the platform has its fair share of shortcomings that prompted some merchants to balk at adopting it. But at the same time, some advocates assert that it's one of the more robust mobile payment offerings on the market that can be reliably used by those who are seeking a higher degree of security and privacy for their mobile transactions. This eWEEK slide show takes a look at the pros and cons of implementing and using Apple Pay, as well as the concerns that are prompting some merchants to shy away from Apple's mobile payment application.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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