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Apple Pay hits U.S. stores Monday -- assuming buyers can find anywhere to use it

Matt Hamblen | Oct. 20, 2014
In-store and online purchases possible with new iPhones powered by Touch ID, NFC and secure token technology.

Even though Apple has tightened security more than other digital wallet technologies, analysts said many users will still be skeptical about security with Apple Pay. Olynick said Apple's approach is more secure than cash, credit cards and other mobile wallet technologies.

"There's inherent security concerns with every form of payment," he said.

Despite those worries, Carlisle has surveyed the public and found 45% have indicated an interest in using mobile wallet. "People are open to the idea."

One thing that will matter to users, perhaps more than security, is how much easier using Apple Pay will be than pulling out a credit card or even paying cash, which is still fairly popular in the U.S. "It's not that hard to pull out a piece of plastic from your wallet, so until I can leave my wallet at home and not need identity cards and can get rewards from using a mobile wallet or get something more, the possibilities [of Apple Pay] aren't shown yet," he said.

Comparing the competition

Carlisle has rated 20 different mobile wallets now on the market for the mobile payment technology and capabilities they use as well as the user experience they offer. When Apple Pay was included, it came out nearly on top, right up with the mobile wallet apps from Starbucks, Square, PayPal and Level Up.

McKee said that Apple Pay has a clear advantage over what Google Wallet offered when it appeared nearly three years ago: more assurances of privacy. Merchants and users were not sure how much personal or transaction data Google was collecting when a Google Wallet transaction was made.

By comparison, Apple has insisted it won't be collecting any such information, noting in a statement that "Apple won't collect your purchase history, so when you are shopping in a store or restaurant we don't know what you bought, where you bought it or how much you paid for it."

"Google was early to the party with Google Wallet and Google being Google, everything was about collecting data, which was a real turn-off to merchants especially," McKee said. "Apple is not interested in data or obtaining that information on transactions and has made that very clear, which reduces the concerns of merchants."

Given the competition and Apple's focus on consumer ease in using technology, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said that Apple Pay has the "best chance of success of the current players" even though mobile wallet technologies have taken years to gain traction.

"Apple Pay is more secure, easier and protects a user's privacy more than the current solutions," he added. "It also spans online and brick-and-mortar stores, which will increase points of purchase — critical for success. Previous marketing efforts for NFC payments have been confusing, actually repelling users. Apple knows how to educate."

Assuming there are no major technology snafus with Monday's launch of Apple Pay, users will need to see how much ease the technology actually offers.


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