Apple Pay set to revolutionize commerce

Rachel Truong

Apple Pay now lets consumers pay with their phone instead of cash or credit card.

Apple Pay now lets consumers pay with their phone instead of cash or credit card.

On October 20th, Apple launched new software that has been advertised as a new way to pay. The system, Apple Pay, is designed to ease the payment process in both participating stores and apps by offering a simple, secure way for a user to store their credit cards on their iPhone and pay for purchases through Touch ID.

To store credit cards and debit cards on an iPhone, Apple utilizes the Passbook app, which can already store boarding passes and coupons. Users can enter credit card information manually, or use the iSight camera to capture the card and allow the iPhone to scan for its information. The first card entered into Passbook automatically becomes the default card, but users are able to change that later in their settings if they choose.

Despite the apparent ease of the Apple Pay system, many users have expressed their doubts regarding its security. Sophomore Madeleine Stewart doesn’t feel secure entering her personal information into the system.

“I just feel like it isn’t safe,” Stewart said, “I mean, sure, there’s a ton of reasons why it would be nice and easy and all, but what if someone hacks into my account or something like that? Then they would have access to all of my credit cards.”

In response to the concerns of Stewart and many others, Apple has explained how security works on Apple Pay. Rather than adding actual card numbers to Passbook when the cards are uploaded, the company has instead distributed unique Device Account Numbers that would be encrypted and stored on a chip in the iPhone.

These Device Account Numbers are never stored on Apple’s servers and are used in addition to a dynamic security code in order to process payment. In addition, users are able to utilize Find My iPhone to suspend payments via Apple Pay should their iPhone be lost.

Several students have already begun using Apple Pay, which came packaged with the iOS 8 update. Junior Jonathan Cho used his iPhone 6 to pay for a meal at McDonald’s.

“It’s pretty straightforward,” Cho said. “I mean, all that really happens is that they ask you to pay, you put your finger on the touch ID pad, then you make sure it hovers over this device located where the credit card swiper is. From there, you just wait for your iPhone to tell you that you’re done.”

In response to questions about in-store returns, Apple has stated that Apple Pay works in the same way. A user taps their iPhone against the payment terminal, which then tells the user their transaction history in that store. Currently, this system only works in Apple Stores, but the company has expressed interest in expanding this idea to other participating stores.

Apple Pay users have already stated their opinions on the new software, noting its relative ease of use- at the stores that actually accept Apple Pay. Freshman Tony Franco has attempted to use Apple Pay at several stores.

“It’s totally a gimmick,” Franco said, “I mean, it isn’t even available anywhere, and it isn’t that much easier than using a credit card. Since I have my wallet in my pocket anyways, I might as well just pull it out and pay. Saving a couple seconds of my time every time I make a purchase doesn’t really seem worth paying all that money for a new iPhone.”

So far, three major credit card companies have agreed to partner with and support Apple Pay: Visa, MasterCard,and American Express. In addition, Apple has signed with several major banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi, Capital One and Chase. However, more partners and potential partners are being added every day, including Amazon, which has expressed interest in supporting Apple Pay.

Apple Pay can be used at several locations, including but not limited to Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Walgreens, Staples, Subway, McDonald’s and Disney. Other retailers, such as Starbucks and Uber, have opted to create apps that would support Apple Pay. However, some stores, such as Rite Aid and CVS, have chosen not to support Apple Pay.

Apple Pay is available as part of the iOS 8 update and can be used on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Users with the iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S models are also able to use Apple Pay, if they partner their iPhone with an Apple Watch.