Apple Pay promises to be for payment transactions what iTunes was to music purchases—a revolution in which consumers broadly accept a technology that becomes the industry benchmark. Thanks to Apple Pay's rate structure -- and pressure from merchant-friendly payment systems such as Square -- Apple Pay is destined to be the cheapest way for merchants to accept digital payment.
Apple didn’t invent the idea of embedding Near Field Communications (NFC), the basis for Apple Pay, in a mobile device. In fact, contactless payment services such as Orange Cash are already available in Europe, while in the U.S., the Google Wallet app has been available on both Android devices and iPhones since 2011. Three years later, paying by phone is still not mainstream…yet.
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Apple Pay Features
Why is Apple Pay such a game changer?
- The promise of greater security with the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner and the promise that Apple will not have access to user’s purchase information.
- That extra security means Apple Pay was able to negotiate a "card present" rate from Visa, MasterCard, and American Express -- eliminating the penalty merchants pay for running credit or debit transactions without a card present.
- Apple’s famous ease-of-use interface. Google pay requires users to swipe their phone awake and enter a PIN to conduct a transaction.
- Consumers will not be charged to use the service.
- Merchants will not face any additional charges when accepting Apple Pay than they do for Visa, MasterCard, or American Express transactions.
“The timing is right with customer behavior, the customer experience is right, and elements have come together around how the ecosystem is evolving for this to be a game changer,” Gavin Michael, JPMorgan’s digital chief said.
Here’s what you need to do to be ready for this revolution and accept Apple Pay at your place of business.
Get a Point-of-Sale (POS) System With an Apple Pay Reader
If you are about to buy a new POS, then certainly now is the time to order a contactless transaction reader to go with it. Keep in mind that not all NFC-readers are capable of processing Apple Pay transactions. However, all EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa)-enabled readers are Apple Pay compatible. In fact, merchants will be required to support credit cards with EMV technology by October 2015 or risk greater liability in the case of credit card fraud.
Contact your POS vendor or credit card processor to determine available options. There are numerous vendors that specialize in offering standalone cashless transaction terminals. If you have multiple POS locations at your business, you might want to designate one that accepts Apple Pay so you can gauge consumer acceptance and add additional Apple Pay readers as needed to accommodate demand.
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Promote Your Use of Apple Pay
The Apple brand is synonymous with being cool and trendy. Your brand could easily benefit from not only the association with Apple, but such leading brands as Panera, Starbucks, and McDonald’s. In fact, Apple claims over 220,000 stores can accept it. Promote the fact that you are one of these companies not only with the foresight to incorporate a new technology, but offer customers a simpler and more secure way to purchase goods and services.
Educate Your Customers
Apple Pay transactions won’t cost you anything. That alone is a reason to promote the use of Apple Pay with your customers. Put a blurb on your website about how easy Apple Pay is to use. When you see customers with an iPhone, ask if they’re going to use Apple Pay. Educate yourself about the benefits of Apple Pay to discuss them knowledgeably and persuasively with your customers.