The Apple Pay Iceberg is Dead Ahead Posted by: Rachel on 11/08/2015

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So we’re a digital company (in case you didn’t get that from the array of digital gadgetry and devices on our homepage). We’re also historically Apple fan boys and girls.

Much of our work in mobile originates on Apple devices and as a team we spend a disproportionately large amount of time on our iPads surfing the newest apps, keeping up to date on tech sites, and sharing knowledge of best practice design and development for mobile devices.

Like many others in the Apple fan category we eagerly await their updates with the excitement and anticipation of a child at Christmas; one who's not quite sure what’s coming in Santa’s sleigh but is sure it will be awesome with a capital A. So, when Apple Pay was announced we gathered together as a team to cheer and applaud the software giant and to do our habitual Apple appreciation dance.

...Just kidding, we rather threw ourselves straight into this new paradigm for purchasing. We tasked ourselves to go forth and use Apple pay as our default payment wherever possible. Here, we’ve galvanised our thoughts and experiences thus far.

The Practicalities: How does it work?

Setup was simple. All you have to do is get a verification text from your bank and the debit card you have associated with your Apple ID, and you're ready to roll. Adding additional cards is pretty straight forward too – you can enter the details manually or use the camera functionality which automatically fills the card data and works flawlessly (well done Apple).

After your card is all set up a representation of your card will appear in passbook, but that’s the last time you need to bother with passbook. To pay for something you simply wave your iPhone against the NFC reader and up pops your default debit/credit card. You supply your fingerprint on the Touch ID senor and, like magic, your purchase is complete!

Out and About with Apple Pay

So where have we tried it? Mostly buying food, drinks and more food. It’s great for quick lunch purchases, coffee, snacks and the occasional Friday lunch time trip to Burger King (ok, sometimes on a Wednesday too!) The majority of the time we were able to glide through life in an Apple induced state of euphoria with our new purchasing power and only ran into some occasional glitches. We had a few blips in Costa trying to purchase a much needed caffeine hit early one morning, and just when we thought we would have to give up and leave in a coffeeless state of anxiety (we had no other payment method) the cashier got us hooked up on the third attempt. Thank the coffee gods.

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Here's Gordon, our Mobile Director grinning like a Cheshire cat at his watch payment.

So far we’ve found using Apple Pay to be pretty seamless and while you can be forgiven for feeling a little underwhelmed by this latest (pretty obvious) release from Apple, it's fair to say the Silicon Valley giant has succeeded in pulling us another notable leap forward in everyday user experience.

Paying for things normally can be clunky at best; a logistical nightmare if you need to rummage through your wallet for cash, juggle your new purchases sans carrier bag, and try desperately not to get a loud telling off from the self-service machine all at the same time. Paying for things with your phone is really quick, painless and pretty satisfying. Even more so with Apple Watch.

The only disappointment we feel is the need to still carry our wallets. Contactless is limited to £20 which is pretty restrictive when you’re in Apple Pay flow and could stop many people embracing the change fully, though the banks do intend to up the contactless payment limit to £30 in September. That said, you can see the everyday experiences that are absolutely suited to this small payment method; purchasing train and bus tickets, grabbing a coffee or a snack, picking up a loaf of bread on the way home or paying for a taxi ride. We only hope the commercial world gets behind this new payment approach quickly and the fact that Apple Pay works with standard NFC readers should lead businesses to accommodate these simpler, more efficient transactions without too much hiccup.

How do we think Apple pay will evolve? Who really knows, but rumours in the camp would suggest that only the tip of the ‘digital payment’ iceberg has emerged. As people get used to this new approach and it becomes second nature for everyday purchasing, we're carving the way for a cultural shift in people’s perception of money. And herein lies the real development.

With companies like Facebook rumoured to be implementing a framework for peer to peer payment, eBay investing heavily in PayPal’s growth and the burgeoning noise within the tech scene around Bitcoin + Blockchain it will only be a matter of time before digital payments and digital currency becomes the norm. What is most interesting is, as we see these societal changes occur within the context of a worldwide technology revolution, what will happen to the traditional banking industry and our perception of what monetary value really is.


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