Apple Pay

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Apple Pay

Your wallet. Without the wallet.

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Launched in 2014, Apple Pay was designed to create a unique and secure payment solution for mobile phones and wearables. Apple Pay uses contactless point-of-sale technology called Near-Field-Communication (NFC) coupled with simple but effective Touch ID security features. Apple Pay can be used with the iPhone, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 3, iPad Air 2, and the Apple Watch (when used in conjunction with iPhone). The app is included with iOS systems which will be able to support its use - currently 8.1+.

Use of Apple Pay is exclusive to those with iOS devices, which limits its use. The app offers several security features and is free to use.

 

The Good

  • Compatibility
  • East set-up
  • How to complete a purchase
  • Security

Staying true to the Apple brand, Apple Pay offers a simple and easy to use platform which appeals to Apple aficionados. Among some of the strengths of this app as rated by the Review Team are the following features:

  • Large number of financial institutions with which the app is compatible
  • Keeps private information secure
  • Contactless NFC technology

Compatibility

Apple Pay is available to use with almost all major banks and credit card institutions, roughly totaling over 2,500 in the US, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, with more being added regularly. Credit card companies which support adding their cards into the Apple Pay app include: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Users are able to easily integrate their bank information with simple verification processes. Some banks, of which Capital One is an example have created apps of their own to better accompany and serve Apple Pay users.

Set-Up

Users can easily add credit cards to their digital wallet by taking a picture of their card from the app, verifying information which is auto-populated for accuracy and approving the card's addition to one's Apple Pay wallet. Information is stored on Apple servers, equipped with servers with redundant security measures. Additionally, financial information is not shared during any transaction, with a unique token generated by the app for each card, which improves the security of the app. All cards are consolidated into PassBook with the user's coupons, etc.

How to complete a purchase

Using the card at a retailer is very intuitive. To pay for a purchase, users simply place their phone or watch in front of the Apple Pay scanner to access the NFC. Payment information is encrypted and kept secure throughout the process. All transactions require a fingerprint signature for added security, which is accomplished by placing one's finger upon the appropriate place on the device's screen as to complete the Touch ID process.

Security

The contactless NFC technology makes users' point-of-sale experience quick and painless. Different mobile wallet point of sale technologies have much debated pros and cons. Only time will tell, but NFC seems to be in a solid position going forward because of U.S. Government mandated point-of-sale systems moving toward EMV (Europe, MasterCard, Visa) by October 2015. If merchants fail to move to this more secure system by the deadline, they will be held liable for any fraud that occurs at their location. In the process of moving to EMV systems, most if not all companies will also update their contactless readers, making them NFC compatible from that point forward.

Apple Pay has an integrated security in both hardware and software for all compatible products. They do not collect any transaction information that can be traced back to their users. When a compatible device is active (turned on) and detects the NFC at check-out, users are asked to provide their Touch ID (fingerprint) or passcode. The Secure Element on the device provides the payment system with a specific Device Account Number and a transaction-specific dynamic security code. Once the appropriate financial institution approves the payment (which happens in most cases within a few seconds) the payment is completed at the terminal. This process of encryption is in many ways more secure than using physical credit cards.

The latest release of Apple Pay includes the ability to locate one's device if it is lost/stolen and to cancel any pending or unauthorized transactions.

The Bad

  • Limited number of retailers
  • Proprietary to iOS devices
  • Limited use outside of U.S.
  • Weak device batteries

While the initial launch of Apple Pay has made a lot of positive noise, there are a few particular areas that still have room for improvement.

Limited Number of Retailers

Although the list of merchants accepting Apple Pay is growing, there are still a number of places that will not accept this payment method. Many of these are in the big retail brand stores. Major brands which do not currently accept Apple Pay include:

  • Walmart
  • Rite Aid
  • Target (although Target is now accepting Apple Pay in its online store)
  • Kroger (and many other supermarket chains)

Proprietary to iOS Devices

As one could expect with a product designed by one of the major devices and operating systems, this app is not available or compatible with a device which is not made by Apple. Additionally, the operating system which is required for the app to function is iOS 8.1 or higher, so users with older devices will not be able to use Apple Pay at all. Estimates suggest that Apple devices make up less than 40% of the mobile market in the United States, so the majority of mobile phone users are left out of being able to use this service.

Devices which are compatible with Apple Pay include:

  • iPhone
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad Air 2
  • Apple Watch (when used in conjunction with an iPhone)

The cost of the devices may be cost-prohibitive for some to upgrade or switch.

Limited use outside of U.S.

For those who travel internationally, Apple Pay is only offered in the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom and Australia.

Weak Device Batteries

Apple devices are well-known to have shorter battery lives than many of the other brands of smartphones. As such, payment at terminals is not possible when one's phone battery is drained. Apple promises longer battery usage, but this has yet to be realized.

The Bottom Line

In spite of the limitations in Apple Pay, the Review Team recommends the app for Apple users who are looking for a digital and contactless wallet. For those who are not currently Apple users, the tipping-point of switching is probably not strong enough to to conclusively tip the scales. The app offers features which are not present in many of the competitors and is intuitive.

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User Reviews

4.5

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24 Reviews

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Ralph
February 20th, 2019 Londonderry, NH DETAILS
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Great - when it works. I can go from one store where it works perfectly to the next store where multiple tries fail - the store system declines the payment. Same card, same phone, etc. Creates situation where other people in line watch me and the attendant stumbling through multiple tries and excuses (maybe your case is too thick, etc.).

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Tanner Cook
December 17th, 2018 Gilbert, AZ DETAILS
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LOVE LOVE LOVE Apple Pay. If you are a merchant, you need Apple Pay. This is the perfect option for so many consumers and it’s a lighting quick process.

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Isabelle Hong
November 1st, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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I find apple pay to be great. It's very easy to use; you just click the home button on your iPhone twice and it'll connect to the register. Most places now have Apple Pay available and it's very convenient.

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Lesa Burgess
August 20th, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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I use Apple Pay wherever I can. Usually it's just a matter of finding a vendor that accepts it. I am surprised how few still do. I guess that's the only knock that I have on it, but it would be the same for it's competitors. I like the ease of set-up, the notifications, and the ability to pay consumer-to-consumer.

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Tina Fontana
August 13th, 2018 Antelope, CA DETAILS
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On 8/10/2018, I was notified by my financial institute that my back card was being used to make purchase in New York, I live in California, the number on the card that was stolen (I was in possession of that card) was ONLY stored in Apple Wallet, so, no, Apple Wallet is still NOT Safe!

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Cody Linden
July 30th, 2018 Lehi, UT

I love being able to use my phone to make payments! Setting up my card was simple, I just had to take a picture of my card and enter in a few other details. Now whenever I want to make a payment I can just hold my thumb on the home button and hold it over the card reader. It's a great feature when I forget my wallet in the car!

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Tanner Hales
July 23rd, 2018 Pleasant Grove, UT

I absolutely love Apple Pay. I cannot tell you how many times that it has saved my bacon when I am in the store, and realize that I have forgotten my wallet. I simply pull out my iPhone, and pick which card I want, then boom. DONE. I have never had issues with the security of it either. I can seep close tabs on who uses it with notifications when money has been spent using my Apple Pay account.

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Anna Hu
July 23rd, 2018 Provo, UT

Apple Pay has been so convenient for me! I love that I often no longer need to carry my wallet with me as simply scanning my phone will complete the transaction in 2 seconds. Very nice how so many vendors now take Apple Pay, making all purchases so much easier. Very safe and secure as it is authorized through my thumb print. Definitely hope to see Apple Pay at even more businesses in the future as this is a great service.

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Spencer Hodgson
July 18th, 2018 Salt Lake City, UT

What I don't like about Apple Pay is that you can't use it on your phone without having to put the fingerprint passcode on there.

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Hunter Kasprzyk
July 2nd, 2018 Gilbert, AZ

Apple pay makes paying super convenient. Sometimes stores don't offer apple pay but nowadays its very common for them to have it.

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Ken
May 11th, 2018 Niwot, CO DETAILS
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I use it on my watch wherever I can. It is very quick and easy and no one is able to handle or see my credit card. The new Apple cash worked on the watch too, cool.

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K Robison
April 30th, 2018 Layton, UT

I have only used this a couple times but it is great. It makes paying a lot easier and it is simple.

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Schon
April 30th, 2018 Smithfield, UT

Love this feature. So convenient at the stores that have it. It makes me feel more secure not having to carry my wallet in my back pocket anymore.

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Chase Huntzinger
April 26th, 2018 Provo, UT

I have Apple Pay on my phone but have not used it. I have served customers that have used it though. It is a nice and simple system. The problem is that not everybody accepts it, so most of the time you have to have your regular wallet with you anyways.

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Dallin Smith
April 25th, 2018 Kaysville, UT

I use apple pay on my phone. It is quick and easy to use. I have never had a problem with it and I feel safe using it because it uses my finger print.

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Landon Robison
April 25th, 2018 Layton, UT

Easy way to pay for things. I just wish more people would accept it as payment.

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Jeff Martin
April 19th, 2018 Layton, UT

Just discovered apple pay and love it. Makes paying for things so much easier. However, a lot of people don't accept it, making it difficult to use everywhere.

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Jefferson Farmer
April 16th, 2018 Provo, UT

Used Apple Pay where it is available. It works great, and it is quite convenient. Nothing to complain about.

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Nathan
April 9th, 2018 Layton, UT DETAILS
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Most convenient payment method I have ever used, I try to tell people about it all the time. AWESOME!!

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Hannah
December 18th, 2017 Pleasant Grove, UT DETAILS
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ApplePay is so slick. I have no complaints about it. So easy to use, easy to switch between cards in your "wallet," easy to add cards to. Every time I use it I praise Apple to high heaven.

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Patrick
December 14th, 2017 Orem, UT DETAILS
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I really like apple pay. It is convenient and quick. I use the thumb print so I don't know about face id. With the thumb print is great.

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Lindsey
December 6th, 2017 American Fork, UT

I enjoy Apple Pay better than any other mobile wallet. It's easy to use, fast to pull up, and user-friendly.

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Hayley Lambdin
November 13th, 2017 Orem, UT DETAILS
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Apple Pay is freaking magical. Watching my husband use it at various stores blows my mind. It's really nice when you forget your wallet as well!

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Deric Lambdin
June 17th, 2016 Alpine, UT

I have used Apple Pay for quite some time now. I have never had any major problems having any of the compatible machines read my payment. I really enjoy the option to keep everything secure with the iD touch feature. Apple also makes it really easy by being able to double click the home button twice to pull up my mobile wallet. Even if there is a small problem on occasion, swiping my card doesn't take much more energy. I would honestly recommend Apple Pay to any of my friends who have compatible iPhones.

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