Small Businesses: You Don’t Need to Jump to Accept Apple Pay
Apple Pay is Apple’s newest innovation for digital payments. The idea is to make paying for goods and services easier by eliminating the need to have a wallet and carry physical credit cards. On compatible Apple devices, consumers can store multiple cards, digitally, and use those cards at checkout with NFC (near field communication) compatible terminals and Point of Sale devices.
Since Apple has such a large customer base, the Apple Pay technology has been heavily marketed towards the users, rather than the business owners who must make the technology available at their stores. This is leaving business owners wondering…
“If I accept Apple Pay, how will it affect me?”
Apple Pay Pros
In my opinion, any of the pros that relate to Apple Pay are more about attracting customers and adopting advanced technology, rather than making any major changes for your business. In essence, if you accept Apple Pay it’s just one more way you can cater to customer needs by offering a range of different payment methods.
With the recent data breaches and credit card fraud problems, consumers are more aware than ever of the potential risks associated with using credit cards. This is probably the biggest reason to adopt the technology: peace of mind for your customers.Although credit cards are stored on the compatible Apple devices, the actual credit and debit card numbers are not stored. Instead Apple creates a unique Device Account Number that is encrypted and stored in a chip on the phone or watch.Basically, each card has an encrypted “token” that moves from the phone to the NFC terminal to make a payment. This way, if a hacker was able to hack into your terminal and get a hold of the encrypted token, it is just a useless code without the original credit/debit card.
-Ease of Use
Apple has done an excellent job making this new Apple Pay technology very user friendly. The credit cards are stored, securely, on the users phone and once the phone gets close to the NFC terminal at checkout, payment becomes available and is verified with a fingerprint id. This payment method is not the first mobile wallet on the market, but with Apple’s large user base and large number of retail chains adopting the payment method early, Apple Pay seems to have the best chance of succeeding.
Apple Pay Cons
Like you’ve seen over and over, Apple Pay only works with NFC compatible terminals. So, if you don’t already have one you will need to update your technology by purchasing an NFC compatible terminal.
-Smaller Number of People with Compatible Devices
In order to use Apple Pay, customers must have the iPhone 6, iPhone 6plus, or the Apple Watch. So, even though Apple has a huge customer base only the people who have the newest devices are able to use the new technology.Depending on your specific business, consider your customers and think about whether they are up to date on technology and would want to have Apple Pay available to them. Switching can be beneficial for some businesses, but we need to remember that not all apple users are going to be able to use this new technology.
-Cost for Accepting Apple Pay
As of now, Apple is charging the card issuers a profit from all the Apple Pay transactions. This means it doesn’t necessarily cost you to accept Apple Pay, but you must bank with Apple’s compatible banks.Since the technology is so new, its unclear how cost is going to play into Apple Pay. If it stays how it is now, inevitably, the cost will trickle down. The best thing to do is be very vigilant with your bank and stay informed on the updates. This is the best way to decide if Apple Pay is worth it for your business.
Should YOU Accept Apple Pay?
In my opinion, I don’t think small business owners need to be early adopters. The technology is exciting and new, but we’ve seen mobile wallets come and go already. I think Apple Pay has a great chance of success, but the road to universality will be a long one. Fewer than 10% of merchants are even using NFC technology. Wait until it becomes more common and then think about enabling this new payment method.
Here’s an idea, we all know EMV smart cards terminals are going to be mandatory in the US by October 2015 (if you need more info here’s an article about smart card terminals), which means equipment update. So, when you go to update your equipment to accept smart cards, this is probably the best time to think about also getting an NFC compatible terminal. It gives you time to see how Apple Pay develops, as well as, makes updating an option when you already have to update anyway. Win-Win.