Oct. 20 could mark a brand-new day for business owners as Apple rolls out Apple Pay, a contactless payment paradigm that many have billed as a credit-card killer.
While Apple is hardly the first company to the mobile payments space, it has unique advantages, including on-file credit-card information for 800 million iTunes accounts, as well as stated support from some of the world’s biggest credit-card companies, banks and retailers.
Apple Pay will support American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards, for instance, and will be available for use at roughly 200,000 bold-faced merchants -- including Bloomingdale’s, the Disney Store, Duane Reade, Macy’s, Sephora, Staples, Subway, Walgreens, Whole Foods, McDonald’s and more.
Five hundred additional banks and many more retailers have signed on to support Apple Pay since its unveiling last month, Tim Cook said today.
Competitors are already heeding the service’s arrival. In a strategic about-face, eBay announced last month that it would spin off its PayPal subsidiary into an independent, publicly-traded company. Other players in the mobile payments space include Google Wallet, Square, Stripe, Alibaba’s Alipay and a forthcoming credit-card reader by Amazon.
Apple Pay functions simply and securely, according to Apple. Incorporating NFC (near field communication) technology, users simply place their finger on the Touch ID home button of their iPhones -- and now iPads -- and hold the device near a contactless reader, whereupon a payment is instantly transacted. Apple Pay will also work on the forthcoming Apple Watch, which is slated for next year.
In order to ensure secure transactions, credit card numbers are not stored on any devices, Apple says. Rather, each purchase utilizes a uniquely generated, one-time code.