You can finally make payments with your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus thanks to Apple Pay.
At the iPhone 6 event Apple made a big deal about the benefits of using Apple Pay to turn your iPhone into a digital wallet, playing up the security and the usefulness of this mobile payments service, but there are some big hurdles in the way for the average user.
After the initial excitement of using Apple Pay to make mobile payments using the iPhone 6 wore off, it was clear that not only is Apple Pay not usable for many accounts, but it’s also not accepted at all retailers — even those who already accept mobile payments.
Yes, Apple Pay may eventually be the service that kicks mobile payments off onto more phones, but when it arrives Apple’s desire to take a cut of the payments will prevent millions of users from loading their debit cards into the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus for payments.
Apple Pay uses a secure chip inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and your fingerprint on Touch ID to securely make a mobile payment by putting the iPhone next to a card reader. This is similar to the way Google Wallet allows Android phone owners to tap a smartphone to a similar terminal to make a mobile payment.
Users can add credit or debit cards to Apple Pay using the iPhone 6 camera and the details are stored in Passbook. Users can carry multiple cards and set a default card for payment.
Announced in September, Apple plans an Apple Pay release date in October with a small sampling of banks and over 200,000 places that you can use Apple Pay, but you can’t leave your wallet at home just yet.
Big Banks Only
The list of Apple Pay banks is small and it’s going to grow slowly. At first glance it looks like Apple Pay will work for everyone thanks to the Visa, MasterCard and American Express logos on the Apple Pay website, but a closer look at the text reveals you need to be a member of a top U.S. bank. These include;
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- Wells Fargo
- BarclayCard (Coming soon)
- Navy Federal Credit Union (Coming soon)
- PNC (Coming soon)
- USAA (Coming soon)
- US Bank (Coming soon)
If you don’t see your small bank, community bank or credit union listed on this very short list of Apple Pay compatible banks, don’t be too surprised. Apple earns 15 cents for every $100 spent on Apple Pay, which is why you cannot just add any bank card you own.
There is hope that in time you can use Apple Pay with a credit union. The Credit Union Times reports that Visa is working on laying the groundwork to let other financial institutions join Apple Pay.
The outlook remains positive, “Credit unions that weren’t in the initial group of institutions announced by Apple won’t be disadvantaged,” CO-OP Financial Services CEO Stan Hollen told the Credit Union Times, adding, “There will be plenty of time for all to get involved.”
It’s good to know that sometime down the road we may be able to use Apple Pay, but it’s still a major disappointment for the Apple Pay release.
Apple Pay Stores List isn’t That Long
Apple brags that over 220,000 retailers are ready to be among the first Apple Pay stores, but that’s really only 18 chain stores. This includes several big name retailers like;
- Babies R Us
- Disney Store
- Duane Reade
- Panera Bread
- Toys R US
- Walt Disney World
- Whole Foods
Outside of that list, you cannot use Apple Pay in a store. Apple instructs users to look for a new take on the NFC payments logo at checkout, but when you see a small NFC payments logo you still may not be able to use Apple Pay.
The Daily Dot reports that Best Buy, Pizza Hut, Chipolte and many others like Sears, Kmart, H&M, BP and Publix are not ready to use Apple Pay. These retailers are still evaluating whether to add Apple Pay support. Even Starbucks will not support Apple Pay in stores, even though the Starbucks app is Apple Pay enabled.
Want to buy groceries and pay for Black Friday with Apple Pay at Walmart? Think again. Walmart is in the middle of working on a competing mobile payment service, so you won’t be able to use Apple Pay at Walmart. The Washington Post shares more details.
Apple Pay Won’t Replace Your Wallet Soon
Apple Pay and the iPhone 6 will not replace your wallet anytime soon. Personally I can only link a credit card to the service, leaving business and personal debit card options off the table.
Even though places I routinely go to make purchases like Meijer and Best Buy support NFC payments with Google Wallet, I cannot use Apple Pay at these stores.
Add in to this the number of other businesses you might run into that can’t take Apple Pay and it’s clear you’ll be carrying a wallet for some time.
In the last month I left home carrying an iPhone and an Android phone and left my wallet at home. Once I had to scrounge in my car to find 70 cents for a loaf of bread and the second time I just went home because no stores nearby accepted mobile payments in any form.
Hopefully Apple Pay will be another driving force, but for now, many users will be disappointed by the number of banks involved, retail locations and specifically where they can’t use it.