Digital wallets and contactless payments have made quite a buzz in Australia over the last few years, with the country earning its tech-savvy stripes for high adoption rates.
The RBA may have tried (and failed) to dazzle Australians with a new $5 note, but the launch of Apple Pay to ANZ customers clearly stole the show by nearly breaking the interwebs.
So, what’s all the fuss about? We answer all the burning questions you have about Apple Pay…
Q: What is Apple Pay and how is it different to other digital wallets?
A: Apple Pay is the latest breed of digital wallet that enables you to store a digital version of your credit or debit card on your Apple device and use this to pay for things at merchant terminals with your iPhone or Apple Watch instead of the cards in your wallet.
You might be wondering why everyone’s making such a big fuss about Apple Pay, when there are other digital wallets around. Well, Apple Pay technology is the only type that encrypts your card details so the receiving merchant will never know what your account details are.
Q: Who offers Apple Pay?
A: Since ANZ and AMEX started offering customers Apple Pay in May, plenty of providers have joined the party including Bank of Sydney, Australian Unity and People’s Choice Credit Union. This is all thanks to a payment solutions provider named Cuscal, who struck a deal with Apple for 31 clients, largely made up of credit unions. It’s a big win for the 4 million or so cardholders involved!
Q: But isn’t there some kind of collective bargaining war with the big banks going on?
A: Major banks have asked the ACCC to make Apple grant them access to the iPhone’s “near field communication” (NFC). If that happened, it would mean banks could come up with their own third party payment apps for iPhone users, loosening up competition in the market (not to mention making it cheaper for providers!). Apple of course is fighting this so let’s see what the ACCC will make of it in the months ahead.
Q: I don’t have an iPhone, so does it mean I miss out?
A: If you don’t have a compatible Apple device, Apple Pay is not available to you. But there are other digital wallet options available if you own a smartphone. Continue reading below to find out…
Q: What alternatives are there to Apple Pay?
A: Some digital wallet alternatives to Apple Pay include:
- ANZ’s Mobile Pay for customers with Android software phones where you can download the app from Google Play and make payments using your smart phone, (Update: ANZ Mobile Pay is no longer available, but ANZ customers can now also use Android Pay and Samsung Pay)
- CommBank’s “tap and pay” digital wallet which allows you to make MasterCard PayPass payments in store using compatible smartphones,
- Coles’ mobile wallet lets cardholders use their phones for easy purchasing on the go.
Google has also developed a similar technology to Apple Pay for smartphone devices called Android Pay. It’s due to be rolled out in the coming months, so watch this space.
Apple’s smartphone competitor, Samsung, will also launch a contactless payment system in Australia soon called Samsung Pay. AMEX has confirmed its customers will be eligible to use the contactless payment technology when it becomes available.
Q: Where is Apple Pay accepted?
A: Apple Pay is accepted at any merchant with a contactless payment terminal and you can also use it to make payments within apps (just keep in mind this will depend on whether the app can read the Apple Pay technology).
You can use Apple Pay overseas too, but if you are travelling it is recommended that you don’t rely on the digital wallet technology entirely, also pack your plastic version of your credit or debit cards with you just in case.
Q: How do I make a purchase with Apple Pay?
A: Apple Pay is a technology that uses “near field communication” to allow you to make contactless purchases at the checkout with your Apple devices the same way you make payWave and PayPass transactions. To make an Apple Pay payment, hold your iPhone up to the contactless payment terminal while placing your finger to the screen simultaneously to verify it. If you have an Apple Watch, you’ll need to type in your passcode instead. Depending on the card you have, some payments under $100 just require passcode verification.
Q: Which Apple devices can you use to pay?
A:The Apple devices that are compatible with Apple Pay technology include:
- iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus
- Apple Watch paired with iPhone 5 or later (for in store purchases only)
- iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3 (within app purchases only)
Make sure you have the latest version of iOS to avoid any hiccups along the way!
Q: Is Apple Pay safe and secure?
A: It might sound strange, but Apple Pay is a safer and more secure way to make payments than with a plastic credit card. Here’s why. After you upload your credit and debit card details to Apple Pay, it creates a unique and encrypted “device account number”. When you tap to make a purchase, your device does not disclose card details to the merchant terminal but the encrypted account number instead.
Think of Apple Pay like a wallet with a padlock on it. If your device is lost or stolen, all you need to do is access the “Find my Phone” function online, change the status to “lost mode” and your personal information will get wiped.
Q: Will other Australian banks offer Apple Pay?
A: It seems likely, given so many credit unions and banks have embraced it, and a quick search on social media will tell you that customers are pleading financial providers not offering it to hurry up! Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before the need for a wallet disappears altogether. RIP.
Have you been an early adopter of Apple Pay? Fill us in on the details and comment below.