On September 9, 2014, Apple announced three big things – the iPhone 6, the Apple Watch, and Apple Pay – and then the internet exploded with commentary. Yes, of course, the new iPhone is sure to be a huge seller (especially with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake narrating their ads), and that Apple Watch gizmo is so stylish. But financial industry experts were more interested in Apple’s mobile wallet, Apple Pay. Why?
Is Apple Pay really going the be “the god of mobile payment”?
Some think “yes.” Some think “no.” (Some think we will soon be able to pay by swiping our derrières – see the Future of Dough - but that is a different story altogether.)
What’s all the fuss about Apple Pay?
Mobile wallets have been around for a few years already. Google Wallet came out in 2011, and some of Google’s Android phones are already equipped with near-field communication (NFC), a short-range wireless technology that lets users pay merchants via phone-swipes. Visa released Visa Checkout (mobile payment system). AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile united to create ISIS Wallet (now called Softcard). And PayPal, Square, and Mastercard have their own virtual payment platforms.
So why is Apple Pay causing such a ruckus?
- Because nearly half of all US smartphones are iPhones.
- Because Apple knows how to rouse and revivify consumers, so they might actually use their mobile wallet.
- Because the credit card industry is outdated and fraught with fraud, and Apple Pay (and other mobile wallets) will be a more secure option.
- Because we are moving toward seamless, anytime-anywhere, connected commerce where shoppers will walk into a store, choose their merchandise, and walk out without ever standing in line to pay. (And we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Larky will be right there reminding savvy shoppers about discounts at the point-of-sale.)
What are the naysayers saying about Apple Pay (besides, “nay!”)?
Some, like Neil Irwin in this NYTimes article, are convinced that Apple Pay and other mobile wallet options are solutions looking for a problem. Mr. Irwin makes a case that using Apple Pay is not any easier than just using a credit or debit card. In fact, when you are without your iPhone or it’s conked out for whatever reason, you won’t be able to pay for anything.
Others note that the credit card industry is swiftly moving toward microchip-embedded credit cards, and by October of 2015, those vastly more secure cards will be enough to placate consumers’ security concerns, and they’ll just keep using their credit cards rather than moving toward mobile wallets.
When if ever will mobile wallets take hold?
A big push will come from the Millennials. There are a lot of them (7% more than the Baby Boomers), and as our infographic shows, they will continue to innovate on how we access money and pay for things. In fact, research shows that 73% of Millennials are more excited about a new offering in financial services from Google, Amazon, Apple, PayPal, or Square than from their own nationwide bank, and nearly half of Millennials believe tech start-ups will overhaul the way banks work. Between the Millennials and Apple, widespread use of mobile wallets can’t be more than 5 years away.
Banks and credit unions need to be involved today in shaping the future of payments. Tools like Larky’s mobile discount alerts program (customized just for your financial institution) can help you take advantage of mobile technology trends, boost customer loyalty, AND boost your FIs bottom line.
Larky is a mobile loyalty platform that amazes and works to keep members happy and loyal. To learn more, visit Larky.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.