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Two coasts, 10 days: Macworld's thorough field test of Apple Pay

Caitlin McGarry, Leah Yamshon | Nov. 3, 2014
No gimmicks, just life: We put Apple Pay through its paces to figure out if the future of mobile payments is here.

Don't forget about apps
Leah:  Using Apple Pay within apps on your iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3 can vastly change the checkout experience, depending on the app. I used it to pay for a Lyft ride and to buy a top through Spring. Both of these apps already had a super smooth checkout process, so on my end, Apple Pay didn't feel very different.

For Lyft, you have to preset your Apple Pay account as your default method of payment before you hail your ride. Once your ride is over, you add your tip and pay as usual, only this time you're prompted for a Touch ID thumbprint. 

Spring is my favorite shopping app and has been since it launched--its Instagram-esque approach to following brands makes it easy to find gorgeous new pieces to buy. Better yet, once you've set Spring up with your credit card, shipping, and billing info, all you have to do is swipe on an item to buy it. Apple Pay requires your thumbprint after the swipe, which just feels like a natural part of the process instead of an extra step.

Caitlin: Until Apple Pay rolls out to more of the stores I shop at, I'm interested in how apps can integrate with Apple Pay to make their payment process more secure (and faster for me). I tested two: Panera and Threadflip, an app where women can buy, sell, and trade clothes. There's nothing worse than waiting in line to buy lunch, which is why I usually bring my own or go to places I know I can duck in and out of in less than five minutes (Pret A Manger, I'm looking at you). Panera's online ordering and pickup process is nothing new, but with Apple Pay, I chose my Southwest flatbread and apple, and with the touch of a fingerprint, paid without any hassle. I walked over to Panera 10 minutes later and bypassed the hungry suckers waiting in line to pick up my food. This is the future, and I love it.

Threadflip was a bit more complicated. I had already entered my shipping information, but for some reason I had to enter it again at checkout, along with my billing details. I also struggled to figure out where to enter a promo code all new users get when they sign up for Threadflip. Retailers need to streamline their own checkout processes to make their Apple Pay integration easier, but online shopping now feels more secure with Apple's tokenization. Brick-and-mortars--who have proved they can't protect your financial info--need to get their act together.


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