It’s been just over a year since Apple Pay launched in the US. Since its kick-off, supported by a number of major banks and credit card companies in the US, there’s been plenty of guessing about when it will arrive here. Interestingly, it’s major retailers such as Woolworths and Coles that have the Apple Pay symbol appearing with no news from the banks.
Perhaps Apple has decided to bypass working with the banks and is working with retailers directly. One of the sticking points for Apple Pay coming to Australia has been the cut Apple wants to take from each Apple Pay transaction. Transaction fees are lower here than other jurisdictions, so it’s possible the banks are reticent to slice into what they perceive to be an already thin margin.
There’s significant competition in the US for contactless systems. We’re currently in Las Vegas for a conference and Google Pay is advertising heavily here.
We’re fortunate in Australia that contactless payment systems have been around for some time. But in the US, where Apple Pay launched, the need for signatures and swipe cards is still the most common method for card payment validation. That’s despite the well-known and regularly exploited fraud potential (for a slightly NSFW laugh, there’s this story that gives you some idea about how a shopper proved signature validation is a complete joke).
Apple Pay sounds pretty convenient but given many of us are already using contactless payment cards, we’re not sure how big a deal it is. Some recent research suggests two-thirds of us are now aware they own a contactless payment card and more than half have made a contactless transaction.
We’ll know Apple Pay is really close when the Wallet app allows Australian users to add credit card information. At the moment, it’s not much use for much more than airline boarding passes – something we’ve found was broken with iOS 9.