Apple Pay. Overhyped?

Apple Pay has arrived!

What is Apply Pay? Well, it’s simply Apple’s new mobile payments system, which allows for payment of goods through your iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad at a touch in very much the same way as contactless card payments. Mobile payments have of course existed for quite a while in various forms such as Google Wallet. However, it has always been a niche market and as we know Apple has a habit of swaying global trends.




So with the backing of big banks as well the high penetration of NFC and contactless points in the UK – growth and adoption of the technology should be quite high. With Apple leading the way, competitors such as Google are re-evaluating their offering, Barclaycard are standing firm with its own bespoke wearable and Samsung have Samsung Pay on their S6 devices. The question then becomes, how do they hope to compete against the juggernaut that is Apple?

The technology used across all offerings is relatively similar if not the same and from the point of view of an average consumer, I would argue it is a minimal factor in determining adoption. What is important is how it fits into their current technology ecosystem and lifestyle.

If you own an Apple device, chances are you will opt to use Apple Pay. Even if only to try it out. If Apple Pay is successful, competitor offerings will be refined and adopted by the masses.

It is not something I see being actively marketed by Apple though, in the way Siri voice recognition was. This means for competitors, specifically Samsung there might be an opportunity to leverage the hype and infrastructure Apple have built to create marketing campaigns around their service. Specifically with Samsung, as the Android marketplace is so diverse – it may be wise to position that offering early in order to take leadership of the mobile payment space within the Android ecosystem.

The primary issue I have with mobile payments is in its delivery. I simply don’t want to take my smartphone out to make a payment. I’ve had a Barclaycard NFC sticker on the back of my phone to make contactless payments previously and what I’ve learnt is:

I don’t use it.

As smartphones are so fragile these days with slim form-factors and glass construction, I don’t want to run the risk of dropping my device more than I need to.

The case my phone sits in (which is necessary having dropped it previously) is also more cumbersome to remove from my pocket than my wallet. Conveniently the case also has a little pocket for me to store a credit card, which hasn’t been filled.

Finally, if I find myself in a less than reputable establishment the last thing I want to do is pull out an expensive handset.

So it’s not for me. At least not yet.

Is it revolutionary? Will it change the world? Does it deserve the amount of hype it is getting through the media? I would say it is useful a logical step forward, but really no. Cashless and cardless payments are undoubtedly the future with even facial and vocal recognition payments on the horizon. However mass adoption won’t happen for a while and when it does it most likely won’t be reliant on a smartphone but a fully biometric system tied to a universal ID.

What do you think?

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