Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rolled out its Apple Pay service on Monday along with the newest iOS 8 update, so people are just now getting to try it out. But will Apple be the company to take digital payments mainstream? That’s the big debate on Wall Street right now, but CardHub has some warnings for consumers—or at least some things it would be good to be mindful of.
How Apple Pay Works
There are three ways consumers can enter their credit card information into Apple Pay. They can take a picture of their credit or debit card or enter it manually. In either case, Apple will verify the information with the bank before the card can be used. The third option is to use a card that’s already stored in iTunes.
Apple assigns a unique Device Account number to users’ devices and uses that number rather than the actual credit or debit card numbers when making payments. More than 500 banks and credit cards are participating in Apple Pay.
To use Apple Pay to make a purchase at the point of sale, users simply hold their iDevice over the special reader on the computer. After Apple Pay comes up on their device, they just pick the card they want to use.
The service can also be used online when it’s shown as an option alongside popular credit cards and PayPal.
Apple Pay: the good and the bad
Of course there are some good things about Apple Pay, like the fact that consumers no longer need to carry a wallet and a phone. Also since the service uses Near Field Communication and does not pass card information onto merchants makes it quite secure, particularly in light of all the recent data breaches brick and mortar retailers have been dealing with lately.
However, the folks at CardHub see more bad things than good things about Apple Pay. For example, the service still isn’t widely accepted by merchants. There are 220,000 locations nationwide that take Apple Pay, and while that sounds like a lot, it’s really just a drop in the bucket. Users also need one of the newest Apple devices, as only the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and Apple Watch support the service.
In addition, CardHub says that Americans lose their phones “once every 3.5 seconds,” citing mobile security firm LookOut. In other words, once the phone is lost, the wallet’s gone too. And if the battery on the device dies, those who aren’t carrying their wallet don’t have access to it temporarily.
The website also points out that Apple Pay is still not compatible with store-branded credit cards. In addition, consumers tend to spend more money when using a credit card because the money “seems more remote and less real.” CardHub speculates that this “phenomenon” may become even worse when using a digital wallet.