It’s no coincidence Jennifer Bailey was chosen to be the first woman to appear on stage at an Apple keynote. As the VP of Apple Pay, she’s in charge of Apple’s most important service, which aims to revolutionise how we pay for goods. And on Monday, Bailey explained how that service will continue to grow and improve.
Apple Pay is currently an exclusive feature for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch. It allows for easy and secure contactless payments, simply by holding out your device to an NFC terminal and authenticating the purchase with either your wrist or your finger via the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor. Or, if you’re buying stuff online, Apple Pay can bypass most of those long checkout procedures with just your fingerprint.
Right now, 2,500 banks and dozens of merchants support Apple Pay, and app developers are reporting a 2X increase in checkout rates when they have added Apple Pay support to their apps. But it’s about to get much better:
- This fall, 50+ million Discover card members will get finally access to Apple Pay.
- Apple will surpass one million locations accepting Apple Pay next month — and you’ll soon find it at more popular retailers like Trader Joe’s, Baskin Robbins, and JCPenney’s.
- Apple is working with innovative companies like Square to enable small businesses to support Apple Pay — Square, in particular, will launch a new card reader this fall. Pre-orders for that new card reader are currently available, and it will eventually be sold in Apple’s retail stores.
- Apple and Pinterest are launching buyable pins, where you can buy items from thousands of stores like Neiman Marcus and Macy’s right from within the Pinterest app using Apple Pay. This feature will be an iOS exclusive, so Pinterest fans using Android or Windows devices are out of luck — for now.
- Apple Pay is coming to the UK. It will launch with 250,000 locations (more than last year’s US launch) and eight of the most popular banks, which will cover more than 70% of the credit and debit cards in the UK, with more coming this fall. “We’re also thrilled that customers will be able to commute and pay for their fares on the London transportation system with Apple Pay,” Bailey said.
While Apple Pay is expanding, it’s also growing, too. Apple added some new features to Apple Pay in iOS 9, which will launch to the public this fall. Here’s what to expect:
- You’ll be able to add your store credit and debit cards, which offer unique membership benefits: Kohl’s, JCPenney’s and BJ’s will be the first to offer their cards on Apple Pay.
- Apple Pay will also support loyalty and rewards cards, like Walgreens’ Balance Rewards card and Dunkin’ Doughnuts’ “DDPerks.”
- In iOS 9, Apple Pay will automatically present the right loyalty or rewards card when you’re at any given location so you never miss a reward.
Apple Pay’s new partnerships and expansion efforts are crucial to Apple. As the company introduces new products like watches and services like Apple Music, customer trust will play an even more integral role in keeping customers and adding new ones, while also keeping rivals at bay.
Apple’s most important services are the ones that keep you in its ecosystem, and Apple Pay might be the ultimate example of that concept. Londoners, for example, will soon rely on their iPhones and Apple Watches to make commuting much easier; this feature alone will probably make Apple’s products attractive for prospective customers, and a key reason to stay for current customers.
As someone who’s used Apple Pay on many occasions with both the iPhone and the Apple Watch, I can say I’m a true believer in this service. Not only is it faster and easier to tap a few buttons to pay for stuff, but it’s also cool in a futuristic sense, and I feel good knowing it’s extremely secure, and there’s no way a merchant can ever see my identifying information. The traditional credit or debit card offers none of these luxuries.
Apple Pay has been off to a solid start, but expect to see more people using it later this year. Once the next generation of iPhones launch later this year, Apple Pay will be supported on four different iPhone models, the Apple Watch, and possibly even the iPad. And once Square launches its new card reader this fall, small businesses will be able to support Apple Pay, too. And the more places that support safe and easy contactless payments, the better.
“We told you last year our ultimate goal was to replace the wallet, and we are well on our way to doing just that,” Bailey said on Monday. “We couldn’t be happier with the progress towards our vision and with the momentum of Apple Pay.”
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