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In its second year, Apple Pay is ready to cash in

Dan Moren | July 27, 2015
It's already jumped the ocean and it's about to jump into thousands of mom-and-pop stores too. Dan Moren is pleased.

square reader transaction

The Apple Watch may have gotten a lot of the focus in this week's quarterly earnings call, but I was more excited by the few tidbits we got on one of my favorite features: Apple Pay.

I love Apple Pay. In particular, I end up using it at the grocery store and I've probably fielded more questions from the cashiers there than anyone else--particularly when I use the Apple Watch. Honestly, my only real complaint is that I wish Apple Pay were available in more places that I frequent. But I'm hoping that if the latest developments in the payment service are any indication, Apple Pay is still in its infancy, and has a long way to go.

He may ride forever

CEO Tim Cook drew particular attention to the recent launch of Apple Pay in the UK, where it was accepted in 1.25 million locations on day one. Far better, however, was that it was also being used by travelers on the London Underground and Overground systems.

I visited London just a few months ago, and managed to find my way around the Underground without too much trouble, but the idea of using Apple Pay makes me want to turn around and head right back across the pond. (I know, twist my arm, really.)

But what really has me psyched is Cook's followup comment: "We hope this will be a model for other public transportation systems around the world."

Yes, please. I love the idea of Apple Pay for my public transportation needs. Right now, my local transit agency, the MBTA, uses a refillable debit card, not unlike many other public transportation systems. That works just fine most of the time, but it has its annoyances, like when you're running late and realize that you don't have enough bus fare or cash on you. It would be far handier to just be able to tap my phone on the terminal and have my fare deducted directly from my bank account.

It's also one less card that I have to remember or carry around with me, and that's no small thing, as my overburdened wallet will attest.

Square away

I'm also intrigued with the fact that Apple is working with payment processing company Square to roll out an Apple Pay-compatible reader later this fall. The announcement was first made back during the WWDC keynote in June, but Cook referenced it once again in his prepared statement this week.

This, to my mind, is one of those perfect matches. Square's not the only game in town when it comes to payment processing for small businesses, but it is one of the pioneers and one of the most prominent. I've had three of the company's tiny magnetic swipe readers over the years, and they've proved incredibly useful for collecting money from the dues-paying members of my ultimate frisbee team. (I've been trying to convince more of them to switch to Square Cash, with mixed success.)


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