Ap­ple Pay to the next level

Ap­ple Pay’s al­ready changed the way peo­ple pay for things, but it’s time Ap­ple take it even fur­ther.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY DAN MOREN

Of­ten­times, new tech­nolo­gies can seem like so­lu­tions in search of prob­lems. And while Ap­ple isn’t above those kinds of moves, it also of­ten finds it­self ahead of the curve, push­ing tech­nolo­gies with a lot of po­ten­tial be­fore the world at large is ready for them.

Ap­ple Pay has, since its in­tro­duc­tion, tended to­ward the lat­ter. It’s a sys­tem that of­fers real tan­gi­ble ad­van­tages over the sta­tus quo; the abil­ity to pay with your iphone or your Ap­ple Watch of­fers not only more con­ve­nience than pay­ing with a phys­i­cal card but also be­stows much needed se­cu­rity on ev­ery

trans­ac­tion. It’s be­come more and more pop­u­lar, but there are still lots of places where you can’t yet use it.

Of course, much of Ap­ple Pay’s adop­tion isn’t en­tirely un­der Ap­ple’s con­trol. Some re­tail­ers still need to up­date the hard­ware or soft­ware on their point-of-sale ter­mi­nals, and the mak­ers of some of those pay­ment sys­tems may have to add Ap­ple Pay com­pat­i­bil­ity as well. While the re­cent ad­di­tion of ma­jor chains such as Tar­get and 7-11 help, Ap­ple Pay still hasn’t trick­led down to ev­ery lo­cal shop in my neck of the woods.

Adop­tion’s just one part of the equa­tion. Even without Ap­ple Pay be­ing ubiq­ui­tous, there’s still room for Ap­ple to im­prove what its con­tact­less pay­ment sys­tem of­fers.


The roll­out of Ap­ple Pay Cash ( go. mac­world.com/pycs) in De­cem­ber 2017 was a ma­jor mile­stone for the pay­ment sys­tem. For the first time, it al­lowed con­sumers to ex­change money with one an­other via Ap­ple Pay, rather than only at a point of sale. Around my friend group, it’s of­ten proved to be a quick and easy way to pay some­body back for a meal or movie tick­ets.

But, for all of that, it still has lim­i­ta­tions. For one thing, it’s built into imes­sage, and though that’s fine for friends and fam­ily, there are oc­ca­sions where one might want to send some money to some­one who’s not in your con­tacts, such as at a party, a con­fer­ence, or even just a big group din­ner where you don’t know ev­ery­one.

In those cases, I’d love to see a way to send money via direct de­vice-to-de­vice trans­fers us­ing NFC, per­haps us­ing a sim­i­lar sys­tem as Air­drop. Af­ter all, if you can drop a pic­ture to some­one you don’t know, why not a pay­ment as well? You’d still need to au­tho­rize with your pass­code, Face ID, or Touch ID be­fore the pay­ment, and, as with an imes­sage ac­count, a de­vice is as­so­ci­ated with a spe­cific Ap­ple ID.

Al­low­ing these trans­fers would also have the ben­e­fit of turn­ing IOS de­vices into rudi­men­tary point of sales ter­mi­nals, which

could be at­trac­tive to small busi­nesses or in­di­vid­u­als sell­ing prod­ucts at places like farm­ers’ mar­kets or craft fairs. If you could just tap your phone to a ven­dor’s iphone (or ipad—more on which in a mo­ment), that would go a long way to­wards broad­en­ing the ap­pli­ca­bil­ity of Ap­ple Pay.


Yes, the ipad does support Ap­ple Pay...sort of. While the tablet lets you use Ap­ple Pay in apps on the web, as well as ex­chang­ing money via Ap­ple Pay Cash, Ap­ple’s never added NFC chips to any of its ipad line.

I get it: most peo­ple aren’t go­ing to pull out their 12.9-inch ipad Pro at the su­per­mar­ket check­out. Then again, many peo­ple didn’t think any­body would ever use a 9.7-inch tablet as a cam­era, and we’ve cer­tainly all seen that. More­over, if the com­pany is in­deed con­sid­er­ing re­viv­ing the ipad mini, then there are al­most cer­tainly peo­ple who would be happy to use that as their pay­ment de­vice of choice. (Hey, not every­body who owns an ipad owns an iphone—why should they be left out in the cold?)

Fi­nally, as men­tioned above, hav­ing an ipad with an NFC chip in it would make it even eas­ier to use that de­vice as a pointof-sale ter­mi­nal, which would open up a lot of pos­si­bil­i­ties for small busi­nesses who don’t want to in­vest in ex­pen­sive, ap­pli­ca­tion-spe­cific hard­ware.


As long as I’m pipe-dream­ing, let’s throw it out there: cross-plat­form Ap­ple Pay. Look, I get that Ap­ple sees its pay­ment sys­tem as a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage and that ri­vals like Google and Sam­sung have their own sys­tems. But given that most of those sys­tems work with the same hard­ware on the pay­ment side, wouldn’t it be nice if they could in­ter­op­er­ate more di­rectly? Won’t some­one think of those poor green­bub­ble peo­ple?

Per­son­ally, I hate that I have to go to a third-party pay­ment sys­tem on those oc­ca­sions where I need to re­im­burse a friend that doesn’t use an IOS de­vice.

And though Ap­ple sells mil­lions of smart­phones and tablets, there are mil­lions more out there that don’t work with Ap­ple Pay. Plus, given that Ap­ple has set a goal of in­creas­ing its Ser­vices rev­enue, bring­ing Ap­ple Pay to a lot of new de­vices could po­ten­tially help that bot­tom line.

Granted, I don’t par­tic­u­larly ex­pect it to hap­pen. While the com­pany has seem­ingly been more open about work­ing with third par­ties ( go.mac­world. com/apyf), Ap­ple Pay Cash’s cur­rent re­liance on imes­sage makes it a non­starter for the mo­ment.

Well, un­til Ap­ple de­cides to take that cross-plat­form, any­way. ■

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