With the release of the iPhone 6 Apple is sweetening the pot by including Apple Pay, a new mobile payment service. Apple Pay lets users store their credit and debit card information, and make everyday purchases by tapping their phone or Apple Watch at the counter. It will be available starting in October through a free update to iOS 8.
Apple Pay works with most MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards issued by U.S banks, and can be used at a variety of retail shops, including McDonald’s, Sephora, Staples, Subway, Duane Reade, Macy’s, Walgreens, Whole Foods Market, Bloomingdale’s, Walt Disney World Resorts and the Disney Store.
One Tap Payments
The iPhone is already equipped with technology that allows users to store tickets, boarding passes and other information with Passbook, but now they can load in their credit and debit card information too.
There are two ways to do it. People can use their iTunes account if they are using a card they already have on file. New cards can be added in by taking a picture using the iSight camera or they can be loaded manually. The first card entered is automatically designated as being the default payment method. Users can change this by choosing another card in their settings.
Once all the credit and debit card information is loaded into Apple Pay, users can pay with one tap due to the Near Field Communication antenna included in the phones design. Users do not have to open an app or wake up their phone to make a payment.
When they are ready to check out users hold the phone near the registers reader, while having their finger on the touch ID, which confirms their identity. The phone will transmit a low level vibration, along with a beep, to let users know that the payment is complete.
Apple Pay can also be used to make purchases with apps installed on the phone.
Secure and private
Retailers don’t get access to peoples credit and debit card information. Instead when a purchase is made the iPhone sends its account number and a single use, transaction-specific security code to the register to make the payment.
Apple included a dedicated chip for Apple Pay inside the iPhone. This chip stores all financial information, so the data does not have to be stored in the servers at Apple, adding an additional level of security to the system.
While individuals can check out their most recent payments in the passbook system, it does not store details, so purchases are private.
But what if your iPhone is stolen? The Find My iPhone app allows people to put the phone in lost mode, which means the financial data stored in it can’t be used, and they can also wipe the system clean.