It’s been a little over a year since Apple Pay first launched, and while many iPhone users love using the new payment system, I’ve given up on it for the time being.
If you’re not familiar with Apple Pay, it’s essentially Apple’s own way of paying for goods at the store or in shopping apps on your iPhone.
The way it works in-store is you go up to the checkout desk and when it’s time to pay, you simply hold your iPhone near the pay terminal and then rest your finger on your iPhone’s Touch ID sensor to authorize the payment. It’s touted as being an easy, quick, and safe way to pay for goods at the store, and while the “safe” part of that statement is certainly correct, my experiences with the other parts aren’t quite as accurate.
Read: How to Set Up Apple Pay
Apple Pay is great in the sense that it protects your actual credit card information and doesn’t provide it to the store you’re paying at, meaning that you’re less susceptible to mass credit card store hacks. That alone is a great reason to use Apple Pay. However, the store must accept Apple Pay as a payment option, which many stores still don’t.
Plus, Apple Pay has to simply work at these stores, and my experience with Apple Pay has been less than ideal because of this.
Apple Pay Store Availability
The number of stores that accept Apple Pay is quite lengthy, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole lot of stores that don’t have Apple Pay, because the list of stores that don’t accept Apple Pay is also quite lengthy.
Of course, Apple Pay is only a year old, but that’s still really no excuse, since NFC-enabled payment platforms have been around for a several years already. Many stores are simply just lagging behind on updating their payment systems to accept Apple Pay and other wireless payment options.
It may come down to cost of updating their systems, and we don’t blame stores that want to wait until Apple Pay becomes a bit more widespread before they start spending money on updating their payment terminals, but Apple Pay can’t become more widespread until stores become leaders and not followers.
Surprisingly, the only store that I go to regularly that accepts Apple Pay is Meijer, which is a regional grocery store chain in the Midwest. My mechanic (who I visit semi-regularly for oil changes and maintenance) also accepts Apple Pay, and it’s not one of those huge nation-wide chains like Meineke or Jiffy Lube. I’m talking about a mom-and-pop car shop that doesn’t even advertise…and they accept Apple Pay.
Those are the only two places that I visit regularly that accept Apple Pay, and even then I still use my debit card because Apple Pay really isn’t any quicker. I still have to sign or enter in my PIN number when I use Apple Pay, which kind of defeats the purpose of it being quick and easy to use.
Sometimes, I go to Walgreens to pick up a prescription or some random things I need quickly, so you could say there are three places that I go to at least semi-regularly, but that’s where the next problem comes into play.
Apple Pay Not Working
On top of the not very many stores that I visit frequently having Apple Pay, there have been enough times when Apple Pay simply wouldn’t work that I got to a point where I ultimately just stopped trying to use Apple Pay.
One time I was at Meijer and used Apple Pay. The pay terminal said that the payment went through, but it wasn’t showing that it was complete on the cashier’s end, so I tried it again, but it was still doing the same thing. I ended up just busting out my debit card and paying in less than 10 seconds.
Another time, I decided to try Apple Pay at Walgreens, only this time I brought along one of my best friends who is an Android user. I wanted to show him Apple Pay, so when we got to the checkout lane, I pulled out my iPhone, placed it near the pay terminal, and nothing happened.
To make matters worse, the cashier must have not been trained on Apple Pay and had no idea what the heck I was doing. To her, I looked liked some psychopath who was hovering my iPhone over the pay terminal expecting something magical to happen. Again, I just pulled out my debit card and paid in less than 10 seconds. I then left the store feeling like a complete idiot, and my Android friend quietly snickered during the ride home.
This isn’t Apple’s fault by any means, since it’s usually the responsibility of the store to roll out Apple Pay and make sure their payment systems are working properly for such a technology, but I’ve been disappointed so far as to how a lot of stores are handling it.
I feel like the world as a whole isn’t quite ready for a mass NFC payment rollout, not in the sense that stores themselves aren’t updating their systems, but rather humans don’t really seem ready for that kind of technology.
Paying for goods using your smartphone is still a very new concept, and while many users who are interested in technology are familiar with Apple Pay and such, I feel that a majority of people still see it as a strange and foreign concept.
Hopefully that changes sooner rather than later, but for the time being, it’s really just easier for everyone if you use your credit or debit card.