Apple’s new killer app, Apple Pay, may indeed someday change global commerce for good.
That day isn’t here yet, however. Three days after launch, my experiences with the NFC-based payment / tap-to-pay system show that Apple Pay is still very, very beta. At this point, you may find yourself using it barely, if at all.
Available only on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ running iOS 8.1, you will not be greeted with any calls to action to set up Apple Pay. You’re on your own to find it in Passbook or Settings, although configuration – when it works – is straightforward.
Only two of my seven credit and debit cards in my physical wallet worked in my virtual wallet. The "take a photo to scan your card" feature worked successfully on the card numbers, but not on the expiration dates. The rest of the process was smooth and intuitive.
The cards that don’t work make Apple Pay pretty limiting. While one of my Chase cards worked, another two were not supported. Nor was anything from U.S. Bank or Target. My American Express card worked right away. At the bottom of this blog post is a list of cards that are accepted and not accepted. You may have more luck than I did.
In the real world, my experience today was sloppy, at best. Not many retailers accept Apple Pay yet, but Walgreens and Radio Shack supposedly do, so I strolled over to the Grand Avenue mall to try it out.
At Walgreens, I asked the clerk if the store accepts Apple Pay. "I honestly don’t know," she replied, having no idea what I was talking about. I told her I’d try it, anyway, so I held my iPhone 6 up to the credit card scanner, put my finger on the home button, and five seconds and two tries later, my purchase of Starbursts Minis went through as if I’d made a regular credit card purchase.
I stopped at Radio Shack next. I’m not a fan of this place, anyway, and today didn’t change that. I picked out a cheap iPhone case and took it to the register. I asked the clerk if she accepted Apple Pay. I mi…Read more...