Apple Pay Begins: What You Need to Know

Photo (cc) by Jason A. Howie

If you’re like many iPhone users, your phone is your camera, calendar, address book, GPS navigation system and music player. If you have the iPhone 6, your phone can now be your wallet, too.

Apple Pay, a new payment service, will enable users to pay for purchases at more than 220,000 retailers by using just their phone and a thumbprint, USA Today said.

If you don’t have Apple’s newest iPhone 6 or 6 Plus or the newest iPad (the not-yet-released Air 2 and Mini 3 will work only with in-app purchases), you’re out of luck. The Apple Watch smartwatch, expected to be available in early 2015, will also be equipped with Apple Pay, Time said.

Consumers are becoming more comfortable using their smartphones to shop and purchase items, according to Time.

Apple Pay is launching just as the smartphone is becoming a central point of commerce for the average shopper. Consumers spent $110 billion via their mobile devices last year, according to research firm Euromonitor, and they used their phones plenty more to research products before buying them in stores.

Still, mobile payments generated just $4.9 billion in sales in 2014, compared to $4.8 trillion in credit card transactions, Time noted.

If you have an iPhone 6 and want to try out its new mobile wallet feature, USA Today said to follow these few simple steps:

  • Check your operating system. Make sure you’re using iOS8.1, Apple’s newest mobile operating system.
  • Open the Passbook app. “You can add your credit card or iTunes debit info to the app by using the camera on the Apple device and scanning your card,” USA Today said.
  • Find a retailer. There are more than 220,000 retail locations, McDonald’s, Macy’s, Chevron and Walgreens, to name a few, working with Apple Pay, plus some apps, including Airbnb, Groupon, Lyft and Uber, noted USA Today.
  • Paying is just a fingerprint away. When you’re ready to pay, hold down the TouchID fingerprint sensor and point it at the reader. If you’re paying at home with an iPad, you’ll use your fingerprint instead of a password.

According to The Wall Street Journal, corporate credit cards and retailers’ store-branded credit cards aren’t accepted by Apple Pay, at least not yet. But Apple has partnered with most of the big boys.

Apple has signed up the six biggest card issuers, accounting for roughly 83 percent of credit-card transactions, with 500 financial institutions coming by early next year. It also has the three major credit-card networks: Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and American Express Co.

Creative Strategies’ Tim Bajarin, a veteran Apple analyst, told USA Today that iPhone 6 users should not shy away from using the new pay system because of safety concerns.

“I don’t think Apple would release this if the privacy and security issue was not solid,” he says. “However, there could be glitches at the point-of-sales terminals during the initial roll-out, although those NFC-based terminals have worked pretty flawlessly so far.”

Would you consider upgrading your smartphone to an iPhone 6 so you can use the new Apple Pay feature? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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