What it is: Apple offers discounts with select merchants in San Francisco to use Apple Pay.
One of the biggest problems with using credit cards is that when you use your credit card with a merchant, that merchant stores your credit card number in their computers. That’s why hackers routinely break into the networks of major retailers like Target and Home Depot so they can steal thousands of valid credit card numbers. To prevent credit card fraud, most of the wold moved to secure chips embedded in credit cards years ago, but the United States resisted. That’s why credit card fraud is so rampant in the United States because it’s the easiest target.
While embedded chips in credit cards insure that the physical card must be used and can’t be duplicated easily, a far safer alternative is to use a payment system like Apple Pay. The idea behind Apple Pay is that merchants never receive your credit card number so you never risk losing your credit card number to any hacker who breaks into a retailer’s computer network. For that reason alone, Apple Pay (and its rivals, Android Pay and Samsung Pay) are far more secure than ordinary credit cards.
Yet most people don’t use Apple Pay despite its availability and security. Part of that reason is habit and inertia. It’s far easier to keep using credit cards instead of using your iPhone or Apple Watch to use Apple Pay. To use Apple Pay, you have to go through a fairly simple process to load a credit card into Apple Pay. Then you have to figure out how to use Apple Pay when buying something.
Setting up Apple Pay isn’t hard, but it does take time and effort so it’s far easier not to do it at all. Even worse, many merchants don’t take Apple Pay so it’s easy to get discouraged and forget you can use Apple Pay when certain merchants do offer it. As a result, Apple Pay isn’t used by as many people as it could, despite its obvious security advantages.
That’s why Apple is promoting Apple Pay with select San Francisco merchants. Most likely this is a trial to see how well this promotion boosts usage of Apple Pay. Hopefully Apple will eventually use Apple Pay nationwide or worldwide by offering discounts to encourage people to use Apple Pay.
Once people have an incentive to try and use Apple Pay, they’ll be more likely to continue using it. Why Apple took so long to offer incentives to Apple Pay remains a mystery like why Apple waited so long to update their Macintosh models. Still, better late than never. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, give Apple Pay a try. You still won’t be able to use it at all merchants, but when you can use it, you can trust your credit card number will be safe. Then you just have to remember which merchants accept Apple Pay and which ones do not.
Apple Pay offers security in exchange for the inconvenience of setting it up and finding merchants that will accept it. Still, Apple Pay will likely continue growing. As more merchants accept Apple Pay, more people will start using it, just like people avoided credit cards initially until now everyone uses them. Apple should convince people to use Apple Pay as much as possible because once people rely on Apple Pay, it will just make it harder for them to switch to rival products, and that’s the real benefit of Apple Pay for Apple.