“This whole [payment] process is based on a little piece of plastic. Whether it’s debit or credit, we’re totally reliant on the exposed numbers and the outdated magnetic stripe interface, which is 5 decades old; and the security codes, which aren’t so secure. It’s no wonder people have dreamed of replacing these for years. But they’ve all failed.”
Enter: Apple Pay.
In a nutshell, Apple Pay will let you buy stuff using your iPhone or Watch, negating the need to carry around a credit or debit card. If there was any doubt about Apple’s seriousness, Team Cook says this is what Passbook was designed for.
The Apple Pay service relies on NFC (Near Field Communication), a technology that hasn’t exactly set the western world on fire, but when Apple talks, people listen, and this could mark the turning point the industry has been waiting for.
Interestingly, Apple Pay will be compatible not only with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but also the Apple Watch, so you can pay for stuff with a simple flash of your wrist.
As I joked recently, Apple already has much of the infrastructure in place. You can import your payment details from iTunes (or register a new card using the iSight camera), while the Touch ID fingerprint scanner is used for authentication.
Cynics might scoff (hi Jan), but Apple Pay is keen on security and anonymity; Apple doesn’t know how much you’ve spent or what you’ve bought (“we’re not in the business of collecting your data” was probably a dig at Google).
Likewise, with Apple Pay, the retailer doesn’t see your name, card details, or security number.
Apple Pay will hit the US from October 2014, with love from American Express, MasterCard and Visa, while a whopping 220,000 retail locations are eagerly anticipating your arrival.