Ready to accept Apple Pay? Questions to ask before taking the big bite.
Is it the next shiny thing? It’s tempting to bite into the sweet promise of Apple Pay®, the mobile wallet that allows customers to store card information on their Apple device and make contactless payments in a few seconds with an iPhone® or iPad®, or even with an Apple Watch®. But is it right for your business? And are you ready to accept mobile payments?
If you’re a merchant with a brick-and-mortar store, you’ve no doubt experienced lots of change lately, especially relating to card payments. You may have lingering questions about Apple Pay: Do you need to invest in new equipment? Is there a big learning curve? Will it save me money? Cost more time? Speed up checkouts? Is this going to improve your customer experiences? Is it worth your time? How do you get started?
In a world where new technology can get in the way of efficiency until you’re in your groove, there’s lots of good news about Apple Pay––starting with the hardware required to accept it.
Do you already have the equipment to accept Apple Pay?
If you’ve recently upgraded your point-of-sale (POS) devices or systems to an EMV-capable system that accepts chip cards, chances are you have the hardware you need to also accept Apple Pay. (Most of the newer equipment that enables EMV also includes the technology needed to accept Apple Pay, near field communications or NFC. We’ll tell you more about it in a minute.)
If you’re not sure, check with your payments processor or merchant account provider who supported your hardware upgrade. Apple Pay may be currently activated on your POS, or it may be an acceptance feature that your payments processor can simply turn on for you.
If you don’t need Apple Pay semi-integrated or fully integrated into your POS system upfront, it could be simple and affordable to get started with the payments technology today.
How does Apple Pay work? And is it secure?
For starters, Apple Pay uses a type of radio frequency called near field communication (NFC) to wirelessly communicate with your POS hardware. If your hardware is already NFC-capable, a simple tap of the Apple mobile device near your POS––within about 2 inches––is what it takes for a customer to transfer the information needed to make an NFC payment with Apple Pay.
That’s what makes Apple Pay fast. But what makes it so uniquely juicy for consumers and and merchants alike is the combination of four elements integrated into newer Apple devices.
1) NFC––Near field communication allows for secure data transfers via a radio frequency.
2) Secure Element––Inside newer Apple devices is the Secure Element (SE) chip, which encrypts and therefore protects credit and debit card data.
3) Touch ID––Apple Pay enables more secure payments with fingerprint authorization (biometrics).
4) Apple Wallet––With the help of their banks, cardholders can easily put their card information into the Wallet app, where it’s encrypted with a different, unique number.
Will Apple Pay go mainstream?
Big names are already behind Apple Pay, giving the system some market muscle. Think big retailers such as Walgreen’s and Whole Foods Market; consider major credit card networks such as American Express, Visa, Master Card and Discover; take into account the hundreds of banks and credit card issuers that are already a part of the Apple Pay transaction process.
When you put this all together, it seems the new technology is on its way to becoming a part of the everyday digital life.
What to expect with Apple Pay?
Expect lots of new possibilities for your business. It’s possible that you increase store traffic as tech-savvy, younger consumers give your business preference. Apple Pay may be exactly what’s needed to make good experiences exceptional, enticing new customers and increasing customer loyalty.
It’s possible that over time and increased consumer use of Apple Pay, you’ll notice your lines move faster––like twice as fast. A simple wave or tap, rather than an inserted card, cuts payment transaction time substantially.
It’s also possible that your employees will be hesitant to use Apple Pay, unless you encourage them. Teach your employees the simplicity involved in using the technology. Suggest they mention its availability to your customers. In short order, Apple Pay will merge into the flow of your business.
Once you get Apple Pay set up, prominently display the signs––the contactless acceptance sign and Apple Pay logo sign––and customers who already use the technology will be reminded every time they visit. Several studies have suggested that one of the big challenges in seeing more mobile wallet acceptance is that consumers don't know where their wallets, like Apple Pay, are accepted. And that's because not enough businesses are calling attention to its availability in-store.
Who knows? Apple Pay may be just what you need to make your business shine just a bit more than the competition.