Apply Pay has finally arrived and retailers have been readying to accept the new payment system. But will it fundamentally change retail payments and shopper behavior, or be just another option added to the virtual wallet?
Apple Pay (NASDAQ:AAPL) makes it easier to conduct transactions. IPhone users can simply tap to pay using the NFC chip inside the new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The Apple Watch, scheduled for release later this year, will also function as a mobile wallet and new iPads will have some Pay functionality, but older model iPhone owners are out of luck.
Big retailers are equipped with NFC POS terminals and will begin allowing shoppers to pay with Apple Pay today including Macy's (NYSE:M), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Target (NYSE:TGT), Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) and Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM), although Walmart and Best Buy are notably absent from the list.
Some are integrating the payment system in their mobile apps. Customers at Panera Bread can order ahead and pay inside their mobile app. No swiping necessary.
It's this kind of integration that really could speed the adoption of mobile wallets. Starbucks' mobile success is well documented, the company currently derives roughly 15 percent of its transactions through mobile devices.
There is a lively debate to be had about whether or not mobile payments will catch on and good points to be made on either side.
There's the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp focused on how using a credit card really isn't all that difficult but tapping a phone requires a new learned skill. Then there is the "but it is broken" argument, that rightfully points out the vulnerabilities in using credit cards and the extra layer of protection biometric verification can provide in these retail data breach-prone times.
Of course there will inevitably be holes in the system and opening day hiccups. Those are to be expected with any new technology. But there's a lot to be gained by retailers should Apple Pay take off.
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