Monday morning on my early flight to NYC, I have to admit I was anxious. My plan was to download iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay on landing, and I was pumped to see it in action. I had waited patiently since September 19 when Apple Pay was announced, and finally launch day had arrived.
The topic of mobile payments is not new. Business models, technologies and standards have consumed conversations related to the future of commerce since the early 2000’s. However, after these many, many years, I was finally able to give it a spin and see if my thoughts and predictions had any real world merit.
Did Apple Pay meet my expectations, and live up to my predictions from years ago? It really was very cool. My first transaction was easy, convenient, and with my consumer hat on, it definitely was secure.
After I landed, I installed iOS 8.1 and loaded Apple Pay with two credit cards and one debit card, I jumped in a taxi to Manhattan. I did not have to type in a PIN to access my mobile wallet or close any apps that were open, all I had to do was wave my phone near the reader, and it automatically opened my wallet. I provided my Touch ID to verify it was me, and just like that, it was done. It took about one second to complete, and my default card was automatically charged – the transaction appearing in Passbook. So cool!
For years, I have felt that the only way to consumer adoption is simplicity, ease and speed. To achieve those things, it’s imperative that you don’t have to think about it, press buttons, enter codes or any other silliness. Consumers want to pay – simple. With their card, they just swipe – super easy – but definitely not easy for mobile payments to compete with. So, what does that mean? As I’ve said for years, it’s crucial that the simple act of tapping “pulls” your card out, regardless of what screen you are on – even if it’s locked, with the screen off. Apple accomplished exactly this, and it’s the “killer app” that crushes the alternatives. ONLY Apple and Google, who control the operating system, can control the phone to this degree. It will definitely put pressure on Paypal, MCX and the other contenders – and i just don’t know how they could overcome it. Is this Checkmate?
This all reminded me of a video interview I did on NFC versus Cloud-based payments about a year ago. In the video I talk about this very thing; how tapping for in-person mobile wins, and why the very act of using a mobile device has to behave just as I mentioned above – it has to make it easy by not requiring the consumer to do anything other than tap and verify themselves.
I am not sure when my excitement will start to fade, but I will definitely be using it again soon, and I can’t wait to see what this does for the industry.