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Apple Pay on pace to account for 10% of global card transactions (qz.com)
351 points by prostoalex 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 419 comments





I unabashedly love apple pay and use it preferentially whenever I can.

in the US, it's faster than chip-and-pin cards by a LOT. It rolls a new number every time I use it, so i can pay at sketchy gas stations at 2 AM and not care about skimming. More and more gas stations are upgrading their pump POS pads so i can refuel my bike without digging under my armour for my wallet.

On websites, my only quibble is that it's often very hard or not possible to enter discount codes or other special checkout options like "pick up in store" when using the apple pay button(s); when I don't have any codes, I dearly appreciate not having to make an account for that merchant and i'm significantly more likely to spend money at websites that support it.


> It rolls a new number every time I use it, so i can pay at sketchy gas stations at 2 AM

Nope. That's deliberately confusing Apple marketing. You get one PAN per device. The new "number" is just the EMV unpredictable number. You get that with any EMV card.

https://emvlab.org/emvtags/show/t9F37/

> and not care about skimming.

Because the PAN is only valid for online authorized EMV transactions.


Mostly there, you get a tokenized PAN (DPAN) for every card enrollment. Remove, and re-add a card to your digital wallet and you'll get a new DPAN.

The unpredictable number is an (of a few) inputs into the generation of the CVV3, which is also based on a dynamic key from the issuer. Key rotation is on the order of weeks to months (depending on issuer). This is the "unique number" per transaction (part of tag 57 https://emvlab.org/emvtags/show/t57/ )

DPAN is only good for card-present transactions, provided CVV3, transaction counters, etc.


> Remove, and re-add a card to your digital wallet and you'll get a new DPAN.

Has anyone made a habit of rotating DPANs on a regular basis like this? Does Apple or your bank get irritated at some point?


I would avoid doing this. Mastercard guidance (and I assume Visa is the same) is to treat this behaviour as fraudulent.

I once had a very long call trying to explain to a very upset Mastercard person why this behaviour wasn’t an issue. I don’t think they understood.


Mastercard client/user or Mastercard support/staff?

Mastercard staff member responsible for Apply Pay best practices.

I do. Every update of watchOS since version 6 seems to break activity syncing between my watch and phone. So I end up having to restore from backup every time, and thus reset ApplePay.

So far my banks have not complained.


Only possible problem I can think of is that you would trigger some of the fraud rules on Apple’s, network’s or issuer’s side as all theses parties have the ability to trigger yellow or red flows during the token provisioning. You would then probably have to call your issuer for assistance every time you want to provision new card to your device.

I involuntarily do this (annually), when getting a new iPhone every year. My iOS Wallet app resets, and I'm forced re-add all my cards (although it does remember what cards where added previously). Never thought too much about it.

Why would you do this?

So that retailers won't be able to use DPAN to uniquely identify me across transactions.

On the flip side, the ability to look up your past purchases can enable returns without receipts.

The other week a store clerk failed to look up my purchase when using my physical credit card, but succeeded when using the same credit card via Apple Pay. I would have been out of luck if I had rotated my Apple Pay number.


Or perhaps your device could store previous identifiers and offer those to the vendor to lookup in their system? Assuming the vendor isn't doing something shady like building an association table between identifiers, this would preserve your privacy and let you change your identifier as much as you like.

I think there's also a button in settings to get a new card number?

That's an Apple Card thing I believe, not Apple Pay--and it rotates a different card number than the one in your physical Apple Card or device-specific card number. It's the one you're supposed to use on legacy online stores and rotating it is similar to ShopSafe, etc.

Yes, so unlike almost all the gas pumps before that used just the mag stripe it's much more secure. Contactless at the pump is great.

So, yep? They didn't claim it was a unique feature of Apple Pay.

They make it sound like there is a special "Apple sauce" that they built and strongly suggest they generate a new PAN for every transaction. The suggest that a "token" instead of a PAN is used for the transaction. This is very misleading. If you read it very carefully they are not wrong, but for the uninitiated a wrong impression is crated.

They are using an industry standard protocol that is 25 years old.


You are right that the core of Apple Pay security is functionally identical to chip and contactless transactions.

However a seemingly trivial but important difference with Apple Pay is that it doesn't use your physical card number—instead it uses a different card number randomly assigned to your device. The payment networks can therefore recognise Apple Pay-assigned numbers and know to demand full Apple Pay authentication when they are used.

This reduces the scope for downgrade attacks.


Insightful commentary on some of the value-adds of Apple Pay.

I do wonder if the security gain is significant enough to make Apple Pay integration a gross-positive for all parties. Apple appears to charge a ~0.1-0.2% fee per transaction made via Apple Pay [0], so it might be reasonable that the security adds enough value in its own right to make sense from a fraud/insurance perspective.

Might also be the fact that possibly being "Top of wallet" on Apple Pay (Which users might use anyway, irrespective of if their normal card is supported) provides enough value to take a small hit in fees.

[0] https://appleinsider.com/articles/16/02/22/apple-halved-tran...


I live in New Zealand and both Google Pay and my Garmin watch have unique numbers. This doesn't seem to be Apple exclusive at all? I have 2 Garmin watches, 2 Google Pay capable devices and a single physical card and the numbers are all different. At least, the last four digits are.

Nobody said it was an Apple exclusive.

But to be fair, after trying to do payments in various other ways, Google eventually built their Android payments platform to be an almost perfect 1:1 recreation of Apple Pay.

(And this is a recurring theme with Android. I'm not saying Google aren't within their rights to build things however they wish, but it is remarkable how often Google make loud smug noises about how they've done things differently to Apple—only for those points of differentiation to quietly disappear a few years later. Say what you will about Apple, a company that makes plenty of horrible mistakes, but it's remarkable how often they do get things exactly right the first time.)


How does one read "However a seemingly trivial but important difference with Apple Pay is that it doesn't use your physical card number" that as not suggesting it's something only Apple does?

Is that US-only maybe? I've had the last 4 digits of my CC printed on receipts paid with ApplePay in Europe.

The last four digits of your physical credit card number are stored by Apple Pay for the purposes of account identification.

There are varying reports of people seeing unfamiliar (i.e. device) numbers and their card number on receipts. I've no knowledge about exactly why there's no consistency, but my suspicion is that Apple Pay sends these four digits as metadata during the contactless transaction. Older contactless terminals would ignore it and naively print four digits of the account number, whereas newer terminals might recognise that metadata and print that on the receipt instead.

It's also possible that the physical card's last four digits are being sent back to the terminal by the network.


> but for the uninitiated a wrong impression is created

I'm somewhat uninitiated, and I definitely got the wrong impression. So thanks for your clear-up.


suggest that a "token" instead of a PAN is used for the transaction

Maybe because people know the word "token" and don't know what a "PAN" is. Apple has built a trillion-dollar company by speaking at the level of its customers, not technobabble.


Your average customer doesn't know what either really mean.

I know that a "token" is some value that is used in the transaction. I still have no idea what a PAN is.

Primary account number, the 16 digit card number.

Another nice feature thing about Apple Pay (and maybe some others?) is automatic updating.

Some place I could not use Apple Pay with was involved in a breach, and so my bank notified me that I was getting a new card, and to start using it as soon as it came in the mail.

At about the same time as I got the email notice that this was happening, I got a notification on my iPhone that the card had been updating in Apple Pay to the new one. No action was required on my part.

I have no idea how they did that. I know there is a credit card updater service provided by at least Visa, MC, Discover, and AmEx that allows merchants with those cards on-file to ask for updates. We use that where I work, but the interface to it involves posting a file that contains one record per card we want updated in a fixed field format straight out of the punched char days (but wider than punched card). Then, typically in two or three days, a similar file comes back with update records for some of those cards. More updates trickle in that way over the next few days. And some never get a response.

Anyone know what it takes to get access to the kind of updates Apple is getting, where apparently the banks push the updates and they are very timely? Is this something only very high volume entities can get?


I think Google Pay does this too. Last time my debit card expired & a new one got issued, I went to replace the one stored in Google Pay; it was only in the fraction of a second between hitting the delete button & the card being removed that I noticed it had already automatically updated to the new number

I've come across this in the Stripe API as a standard feature of a lot of cards. I haven't had one do this myself, but I also haven't lost a credit/debit card.

As someone who uses Stripe for a SaaS product, this is an amazing feature. It means not having to email/call the client just because they got a new card, and instead billing keeps going as if nothing changed.

That's cool, but it must not be universal, because I've always had to re-setup my debit card.

It's up to the issuer to support the service, not just the company charging the card.

https://developer.visa.com/capabilities/vau


TSYS EnsureBill

> It rolls a new number every time I use it,

Are you positive about this?

When I used Apple Pay (in Germany) I always got the same card number. It was my understanding that the number is generated when you add a card to Wallet and is unique to your device, but not transaction.

EDIT: The Apple support site [1] claims the following:

> Full card numbers aren’t stored on the device or on Apple Pay servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is created, encrypted, and then stored in the Secure Element.

I believe this aligns with my understanding.

[1] https://support.apple.com/guide/security/credit-debit-prepai...


The device "card" number doesn't change with each purchase but it does have an additional one-time unique crytpogram as well as a dynamic security code that is needed to use that device number.

I thought that you had a fixed number, but Apple generates some kind of unique code, which is sent to the terminal. I.e., the terminal doesn't see your actual number.

There is a lot of deliberately confusing marketing. "Tokenization" simply means that a new PAN is generated once per device. This is a normal PAN registered with the payment scheme and your issuer. It has to be a normal PAN, otherwise it would never pass through all the exiting payment infrastructure.

What is generated per transaction is the EMV unpredictable number, but this is part of the EMV protocol and done for any EMV transaction. Think of this like the dynamically generated symmetric key for an SSL session.


Why do you say it's deliberately confusing?

Because we have a whole thread with dozens of comments full with people that don't understand what this means but seem to think it is a selling point for Apple.

> What is generated per transaction is the EMV unpredictable number, but this is part of the EMV protocol and done for any EMV transaction.

What about when magstripe emulation is in use, does Apple Pay support that in the US?


Nope, Apple Pay is EMV only.

Only Samsung Pay does magstripe emulation.


Are you sure? Only Samsung (and LG apparently?) have the hardware feature where it tricks a magnetic stripe reader into thinking a card was swiped. However, the kind of magstripe emulation I meant is a feature of EMV where it can provide the same information as a magnetic stripe would, but over NFC, for compatibility with legacy (US) payment systems. Does Apple not support this latter system either? (It's apparently not supported for Apple Card, but Google isn't helping me for Apple Pay.)

EMV is the antithesis of magstripe and the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Contactless EMV is NFC.

Unfortunately the United States exists, so there has been a need for magstripe emulation over NFC. I don't know exactly how it works — I think it's some kind of hack on top of EMV — but it does exist.

EMV transactions still use track data format from magstripe world to ensure backward compatibility.

You claim it's "Deliberately confusing"...

Which bit is confusing (or remotely deceptive)?

> When you make a purchase, Apple Pay uses a device-specific number and unique transaction code. So your card number is never stored on your device or on Apple servers, and when you pay, your card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants.

Are you claiming this is untrue? Or deceptive?


What's actually happening, if I understand it correctly, is that when you setup Apple Pay you essentially get a _second_ card issued to you for that account that otherwise works just like a normal card but is only used by Apple Pay. It's still your card, still stored on the device, and still shared with merchants. If it wasn't you couldn't actually spend money with it.

Hopefully your bank has fraud controls on it to prevent it from being used outside of the way Apple Pay does (which requires your phone or a physical card so prevents theft) but that's not required and without it there is nothing stopping the card from being used like any other.


I've definitely had the last 4 digits printed out on a receipt. While it is conceivable that those were transmitted separately I find that somewhat unlikely.

I believe tokenization is a feature that is ultimately coming, but not quite there yet (and can also be supported by normal cards).

Disclaimer: I take interest in the payment-world, but am by no means an expert and have made the above claims only to the best of my knowledge.

EDIT: It appears the process of generating the device specific card number is already tokenization.

> After the validation, the card network acting as a TSP (Token Service Provider) creates a token (which is called a DAN or a Device Account Number in the context of Apple Pay) and a token key. This DAN is generated using tokenization and is not the actual card number.

[1] suggests that while some cryptography is done for each transaction, the token is the card number and still only unique to the device, not the transaction.

Said cryptography should be according to the EMV standard [2] and is also performed by a normal card (potentially minus the tokenization).

[1] https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/how-apple-pay-works-under-...

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMV


> I've definitely had the last 4 digits printed out on a receipt. While it is conceivable that those were transmitted separately I find that somewhat unlikely.

I noticed this too. Some merchants print the last four of the device account number (DAN) and some print the last four of the actual primary account number (PAN).

I asked about it on /r/ApplePay [1]. /u/martialplum provided this explanation:

> Although the card number sent to the reader from in the transaction is the device account number, this gets de-tokenized along the way to your bank (either by the payment network or some third party) and the actual card number is the one used for authorization. Some issuers use the actual card number in the response they send back to the merchant (data element 2 in ISO 8583). Depending on how the card reader formats the receipt, it's not uncommon for merchant copies of the receipt to show the full device account number (expected), but show the last 4 of the actual card number for convenience when someone shows them the card on their device, which will show the same numbers.

The "ISO 8583" text in that was a link to this [2].

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/ApplePay/comments/bnedl7/receipts_a...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_8583#Data_elements


I believe OP means it generate a new payment token that's sent over for each purchase

That is not a unique feature of Apple Pay. It happens for any contactless 'card' payment.

Right but Apple, Android, Samsung, Walmart, NBCUniversal, TacoBellFritoLaySnappleGroup Pay are pretty much the first contactless payment platforms to really gather steam in the US.

Visa and MasterCard didn’t have the advantage of a phone platform that make contactless payment actually more convenient than magstripe so the value in rolling it out was pretty low.


Contactless is much more convenient than magstripe in nearly all situations where it's available - it's just that the US took forever to roll it out. By the time it reached a usable level of penetration, the phone platforms were ready to go.

Yeah, absolutely love it. Just by virtue of breaking the £30 limit for contactless payments I now just never need my wallet. For a long time I held off upgrading my previous iPhone, and it never really occurred to me that Apple Pay was a killer app, but it's probably the single biggest quality of life upgrade that a piece of technology has given me in 5 years or so. My only sadness is that not many websites support it - where they do, you don't have to type out endless steps in a wizard, just give a thumbprint and that's it.

Speaking as someone currently in the throes of trying to get their website setup to accept Apple Pay...it is an enormous hassle. Probably 5x the hassle of setting up PayPal and 10x the hassle of setting up Stripe.

First you need to join the Apple Developer Program. Why? I'm not developing an app.

To join the Apple developer program you need an Apple device that will do two factor auth. So I go buy an iPhone 6 with a cracked screen solely for this purpose.

Then you need Apple to approve your DUNS number. I am one of the minority who already had one, so I didn't have to go through the whole process with Dun & Bradstreet to get one, but Apple would not accept it for several weeks until suddenly they did, with no change to the number or other company info.

And then, you need to schedule a phone interview! This is the point I'm at right now, so I can't tell you how many more hurdles there are to clear. I haven't had luck yet with the Apple "click here and your phone will ring any moment with a call from us" button on their website. Phone never rings.

And I haven't even got to the part where I pay $100 before accepting any payments, which Stripe and PayPal sure don't require.

You have to endure a lot of friction to eliminate payment friction for your customers.


Huh, maybe it's because I'm using off-the-shelf software, but I've managed to get Invoice Ninja's Apple Pay integration [1] working with my Stripe account, with very little hassle.

[1] https://www.invoiceninja.com/payments-apple-pay/


Not sure how contactless limits are set, but I suspect it's by the merchant. In Canada most are $100, though there's a handful of places that do $200. Costco is $400. If you go over the limit, you get promted to insert your card and use a pin.

Signing a signature is basically obsolete - in fact I can't remember the last time I did. Restaurants usually have a wireless terminal they bring over.

It's strange how regional those types of things are though. I am always surprised traveling in the US when I'm asked to sign (even with chip or contactless, which makes zero sense).


I believe in the UK it's by the card issuers as a security measure (it's definitely a flat £30 for most cards). They're happy to be liable for that amount a few times until the fraud prevention measures kick in, but not more. Apple's appetite for risk is perhaps a little bigger.

I don't think I've signed anything for 10+ years tbh, but the UK went pretty heavily for chip and pin early one. But honestly it's a coinflip whether I remember my pin these days.


The contactless payment subject to the £30 limit do not use the same protocol as Apple Pay. The limit is lifted because it is a more secure protocol similar to Chip&PIN with a random per transaction CVV. By comparison payment with contactless on card is dumber. It’s essentially equivalent to paying online with your card screaming its number to whoever wants to scan it.

If you use ApplePay on an older terminal, which does implement the more secure protocol, it falls back to the same protocol as used by contactless cards and is subject to the £30 limit.


Apple probably requires fully authenticated bi-device on-line transactions making the risk much smaller.

The EMV part requires the merchant device to be online or the process won't happen and the phone part requires user authentication; you'd have to break both at the same time to abuse it. Probably still possible, but much harder than stealing a card and using it until you hit the limit or get flagged.

Probably also why EMV contactless without PIN and EMV contactless with PIN have different limits (amount of transactions and transaction amounts).


To clarify for readers (doesn’t matter for you), terminals that support Apple Pay probably also support tap room pay with credit cards that have that feature. It’s just as fast as Apple Pay (once you have your card out).

Would you say it’s faster without having to use FaceID?

I’d say if you’re already using your phone while waiting in line, Apple Pay is faster. Otherwise, tapping a credit card is faster.

Also, overseas with a US CC you almost always have to sign, even if you have a PIN on the card, because the card are set to prefer signature (sometimes you can get away with a PIN; eg, in a parking garage with no cashier).

However, with Apple (okay, now Garmin) Pay, I never have to sign.


I went to the UK last year and made great efforts to contact Citibank in advance to get a PIN added to my card.

When it finally arrived in the mail (a week after request, literally hours before my flight), it turns out it's not even a Chip-and-PIN PIN, it's for cash advances. I still did a lot of signing reciepts and waiting for poor underpaid M&S cashiers to sort things out.


>More and more gas stations are upgrading their pump POS pads so i can refuel my bike without digging under my armour for my wallet.

This is literally the first time I've heard a use case that would actually make me care about contactless versus a swipe/insert. Grabbing my phone off the RAM mount would be considerably easier pulling my gloves off and trying to fish out my wallet.

In the past, I've always been incredibly apathetic toward the "convenience" factor of contactless, but that's a real -- if niche -- win.


I've always found contactless to be significantly faster than insert and more reliable than swipe - have you not found the same thing?

I find insert/chip is much slower because I have to leave the card in the device and pay close attention to the screen to figure out when I'm allowed to remove it. With a swipe pulling my card out, swiping, putting card can in wallet is a single action.

Sure, but that's not contactless, that's chip and pin. Contactless is exactly that; you need not touch the machine (though many do).

I always thought it would save you touching the communally-used PIN pad and thereby avoid potential contagion.

If you have an Apple Watch, you don’t even have to grab the phone.

Aren't you confusing Apple Pay vs Apple Card? I think only Apple Card as the beaver you talk about, rolling a new number every time you use it.

Not only is the actual authentication faster, most of the time when I use Apple Pay signature is not required. Even with large transactions it blasts right through and prints out a no-signature receipt.

It's all stuff which I never cared much about but definitely enjoy when it works right. It doesn't hurt that with the Apple Card I get 2% cash back when I use the phone.


The lack of discount codes for Apple Pay always puts me in a quandary of whether I want to just save the time or if it’s worth the hassle. From my experience it seems like I run into a lot of Shopify-backed sites, so I’m not sure if this is due to inherent Apple Pay problems or if it’s that a widely-deployed solution doesn’t support it.

As far as I can tell, that's just poor design on Shopify's part. You can work around it by adding a discount code while checking out with a different method, bailing out, then going back through Apple Pay. It's kind of crazy that it's been broken for so long.

Apple’s UX guidelines make things like discount codes and expedited shipping harder to implement.

I've never implemented it, but their examples show expedited shipping and it looks pretty straightforward.

https://applepaydemo.apple.com

Unfortunately, their docs are explicit about discount codes, "Do not ask the user to perform any other tasks before presenting the payment request. For example, if the user needs to enter a discount code, you must ask for the code before they press the Apple Pay button."

https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/ApplePay_Guide/C...


Why? Just make me choose shipping and discount options, then present me payment options. All Apple needs to know is the total to charge. Shopify just fucks this up by only having an option to enter a discount code after you've already missed your change to choose Apple Pay.

I have actually started preferring 76 stations because they all support the 76 app which lets me pay without credit card. My card was skimmed (and recreated into a new physical card!) earlier this year, which almost certainly happened at a gas station.

I'm holding out; i don't want to install yet another app, i want to wave my watch at the thing and have gas come out without mobil knowing more about me.

Back in the 90's Mobil had a little thing you put on your keychain that did this. It was shaped like a plastic tube about the size of a match, but thicker.

I don't know what happened to it. My guess is that since most gas stations are small businesses, they didn't want to pay to upgrade all of their pumps.


I find myself using these systems more as well. Publix, Kroger, and Walmart all have respective apps where you can scan a QR code on the screen (for both non-self-checkout and self-checkout) and pay using a card on file. Although, I think I use them only because they've chosen to not support Apple Pay and other mobile payment providers.

I'd continue using the Walmart app to pay in their stores even if they did start supporting Apple Pay on their terminals.

That's because those sales show up as being in the "online shopping" category for my credit card despite actually taking place in store, and I've got a card with very good cash back rewards for online shopping.


I prefer St1 stations in Finland because I can pay with the St1 credit card inside the St1 app. Really, the biggest benefit of using the app is that I don't have to stand in front of the payment terminal during winter, but I can rather just stay in the warm car until the pump is initialised and then just quickly go fill up.

Shell and Exxon have the same.

and Sunoco

> not having to make an account for that merchant

I had forgotten that was a thing. I'll have to remember to reach for the phone the the next time I'm ordering something off of a second- or third-choice website.


What frustrates me is the way everyone talks about Apple Pay as if it's the standard in mobile payments. Everyone calls contactless payments Apple Pay, which is technology other countries have had for many years built into the cards themselves via an NFC chip. Visa calls it PayWave(TM), because you just wave your credit card over the terminal to pay. I have been taking advantage of the benefits of contactless pay since 2011 with PayWave. Phones later came out with NFC support and now we can emulate this "contactless" signal with the phone's NFC chip rather than those in credit cards. Other than the added security of making up a new card number for your particular credit card when you add it to your digital wallet (read: Google Pay or Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, etc.), and separate accounting, there's no difference from contactless payments that have been around for OVER a decade now.

We talk about Apple Pay as if that's the standard. We talk about Apple Pay as if it's what allows you to pay with your watch. It's not. Contactless payments are. You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactless_payment. The intro paragraph:

> Contactless payment systems are credit cards and debit cards, key fobs, smart cards, or other devices, including smartphones and other mobile devices, that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC, e.g. Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay, or any bank mobile application that supports contactless) for making secure payments.

So as you can see, Google Pay is practically identical to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc. and neither of them are the standard. NFC payments are. And they don't have to be in an Apple device.


Sometime around 2014-15 when Ventra was rolling out in Chicago, I was intrigued by the "contactless" thing it was advertising. Some copy on Citi's website indicated there might be a contactless version of my card. Customer service had no idea what I was talking about. After a while on hold, I learned that there had been a contactless version, but it was retracted.

In the US market, Apple Pay came on the scene way bigger and way earlier than anything else. The traditional issuers weren't interested. So of course Apple gets the credit: it was the one to actually field the technology.

Samsung Pay is different. It works with swipe terminals too, by generating a magnetic field that imitates a magstripe card. A few years ago this was a big deal: NFC acceptance was pretty much only at hipster coffee shops and food trucks with Square readers, where the clientele all had iPhones anyway. Not so much now that most terminals upgraded to comply with the EMV mandate also have NFC.


Google Pay (then Google wallet) came out in 2011, 3 years before Apple pay and 4 years before Samsung Pay. So no, Apple was not the one to field the technology.

Yeah, but it was another case of Apple doing it better then anyone. I was an Android user from probably 2009 until 2016 and used Google Wallet as much as I could. In fact, I think I still have my Google Wallet card [1] in a drawer at home. The simple fact was Google Wallet's NFC payments were neat when they worked, but the support was terrible. I am not sure if it's because the US was so behind when it came to credit card terminal technology at the time, but the support incredibly lacking.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Pay_Send#/media/File:Th...


It's like how people say Microsoft had resolution independence before Apple. It's true... if you don't care that it was shit. This is HackerNews though, the spiritual successor to "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame."

That's because USA is way behind in card payment infrastructure (technologically speaking).

Like way behind. I remember visiting from Canada and being surprised when cashiers had no idea what chip and pin was. We had chip and pin in Canada for years already, but the US was still relying on signatures.

One of Apple's core strength is in marketing. I heard some folks refer to an Android phone as an iPhone. When I pointed out that it was in fact an Android (LG), they didn't knew what Android was. For them, the category of devices that we call "smartphones", are named iPhones.

Again, Apple did a hell of a marketing job here.


Usually Kleenex or Coke or Xerox when it gets to this point start suing around loose usage in the media to avoid watering down their trademark.

But you won’t find those loose usages in the media. They’re just savvy enough not to get sued.

My understanding is Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc allow Google and friends to track your CC purchases because of the way it's designed, where Apple Pay is designed in such a way that Apple can not tell who you are spending your money with.

>where Apple Pay is designed in such a way that Apple can not tell who you are spending your money with.

source on this? AFAIK apple doesn't share it, but they definitely have access to the data.


source: "Apple doesn't retain any transaction information that can be tied back to you—your transactions stay between you, the merchant or developer, and your bank or card issuer."[0]

0: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203027


Note how that statement is worded. "Apple doesn't retain" means they very well have access to the transaction info, they're just not storing it. I wouldn't call that designed in such a way that they can't read your transactions. It's more of a promise, similar to how google analytics promises to remove the last octet from IPs if you enable a flag.

It's worth noting that the merchant, bank, and credit card issuer can and do regularly sell that information off in de-identified form. Card networks especially like monetizing the data since it's very powerful.

I can't find the page describing the program on Visa's website, but their privacy opt-out describes it pretty well [1].

[1] https://usa.visa.com/legal/privacy-policy-opt-out.html


Yes but they'd do it every time you use your card anyways. So back to cash only? In the US you're screwed without using credit cards and in Europe I would not want to go back out of convenience.

Carrying 800 grams of coins around me all the time sucks.


Right, Apple doesn't, Goldman Sachs does. I wonder which one you trust more and if you really prefer this data to be stored by GS.

Once again Apple's marketing makes people believe things that aren't true, without actually lying.


You are thinking Apple Card, the Apple credit card, which is different from Apple Pay, the payment platform. That said, I don't disagree that GS almost certainly collects every bit of data they can.

How can they facilitate your payment without knowing who you are and who you are paying to ?

What happens when someone asks for a refund?

I assume that's handled by the merchant directly to VISA/MC/etc, not by Apple. I've certainly never had to re-auth my apple pay to the payment terminal for a refund.

Payment providers already sell this data to the finance sector.

Apple Pay is great, but I wish it was more universally accepted at point of sale. But in the US we're not even at consistency in any form of POS payment method.

Disney World (Florida) notably spent a BILLION dollars implementing a wonderful contactless payments++ system called MagicBand. [1]

Last week I was shocked that at Disneyland (California), where they haven't implemented MagicBand, they not only don't accept Apple Pay or other contactless payments, they weren't even consistent about chip vs. mag swipe!

During one transaction, after unsuccessfully swiping, the teller told me to insert the chip in a tone like I've been living under a rock. I had defaulted to swipe after the previous 3 transactions had been. There was no post-it note like many businesses resort to.

If even Disney can't get this right in their highly-curated-experience theme park, I'm not holding my breath for universal adoption anytime soon.

[1] https://www.wired.com/2015/03/disney-magicband/


The number of integrations between MagicBand and the existing &/or legacy systems must be staggering.

At the very least, there is the integration between the MagicBand and FREEDOM-POS, the point of sale software running at Disney parks.

It could be as simple as the band functioning as a reference to the built-in EFT account called 'play money', which is a stored value account generated on a POS and assigned to a given serial number (say, a disposable wristband, season pass card number, MagicBand number) and either filled with cash to store and deplete, or linked to a credit card to charge indirectly.

It could be as complex as the MagicBand bypassing FREEDOM entirely and interfacing directly with a back-end server that knows the card details, merely racking up charges over time to be periodically charged directly to the customer's card.

Either way, I'd love to get a peek behind the curtain at the Disney IT operations, warts and oddities specifically.


Technology wise, Magic Bands are awesome.

You can pay with them in the parks (no fishing around for cash or your credit card), it links to your Disney accounts, you can use them as a ticket to get into the parks and it functions as your door key at Disney hotels and cruise ships.

And it all just works.

The amount of data they collect from this must be staggering.


It’s insane. There’s long range detectors all over the parks that can pick up the general amount of people in that area of the park for analytics purposes. For example, in the Star Wars area of the park, your MagicBand is detected behind the scenes and your performance on the Millennium Falcon is saved, and cast members can comment on it at point-of-sale terminals (“Hey! I heard you crashed the Falcon!”).

Here’s some of the FCC filings: https://fccid.io/Q3E#axzz3XOMIw4yj


One thing I discovered: You can't assign a magic band to open multiple hotel rooms.

(I was bringing a large family to the park, and wanted folks to be able to float between rooms.)

We ended up falling back to card keys.


Sounds like a bit of an outlier situation. However, it also would seem to have a fairly simple technical solution.

MagicBands are awesome. Took the family to Disney last year and it made everything a breeze. Photos, food plans, park/hotel/room access. Everything. All professional photos from the photographers walking around were just in our account when we logged in and could download whatever we wanted. FastPasses were linked as well from whatever we selected on our mobile phones. Best billion dollars they ever spent. Hands down made the trip for my wife and I orders of magnitude simpler. If you really wanted, you could literally not carry a single thing except for your phone and the band around there.

I agree it is a nice perk. But I can't say it is anywhere close to "orders of magnitude" better. It was nice to not have to dig out a credit card for each purchase. But that is pretty minimal friction. And possibly welcome friction for those not on an unlimited budget.

> Apple Pay is great, but I wish it was more universally accepted at point of sale. But in the US we're not even at consistency in any form of POS payment method.

That's something Samsung got right with their execution. It also emulates a mag stripe so it works in way more places in the US (its always fun when casher tells you you don't accept contactless payments and they see it work)


But 5 years after Samsung introduced MST, Apple Pay is closing in on 10%.

In Finland pretty much all places support NFC cards and by extension Apple Pay. Yet to come across a place where it didn't work.

Same in Denmark. If you don't support contactless payments that basically means you're not in business.

That said, people mostly use cards; potentially because the bank apps that existed before were just really awful and didn't work the majority of the time. But Google Pay and Fitbit Pay work great.


Same in Canada, I'd estimate 80%+ of places I go to support NFC payment - though I live in a major city so it might be less in more rural areas.

I'm on the tail end of backpacking around Europe. This isn't just Finland, it's the entirety of Europe + UK. I was the only one with a chip, explaining to everyone that the US largely doesn't have touch to pay cards.

What countries have you been to? Germany is quite infamous for having many places that still only accept cash. And when I was in France half a year ago, many places had card readers that wouldn't accept contactless payments.

By the way, the UK is still in Europe, even if they have left the EU :)


Try renting a car with sixt. They dont support apple pay nor nfc/contactless payment. It's the only company (besides my local coffeeshop, cant blame them whehe) I found in The Netherlands that is behind.

I think Europe got rid of magstripes 15 years ago. IIRC 2005 was the deadline.

Almost, there was still a few places using them. The introduction of PSD2 and Strong Customer Authentication in September 2019 means that banks aren’t allowed to accept magstripe transactions anywhere in the EEA.

My last magstripe transaction in Finland was in 2010 at a local supermarket that upgraded late.

I've never paid with a magstripe in Finland. I only remember having some kind of a loyalty program card that required a swipe.

I honestly love Apple Pay, but I don't use it super often because it makes me self-conscious. I feel like a bit of a dick for some reason. If you try to do something "weird" and it doesn't work, people get annoyed, or it feels like an imposition. Even when it works, people sometimes make some kind of comment. Relatedly, it's unpredictable whether it will work or not. It usually does, as long as the card machine says you can "tap", but sometimes it doesn't.

This would all be better if I ever saw anyone else use it, but I don't.

Edit: wanted to add that here in Portland, we have the special Apple Pay transit wallet for the bus, which is amazing! I only infrequently take the bus, and it's so nice to never worry about whether I have exact change for the fare.


This is a very US biased thing. In the UK it’s been months since I last encountered a card reader that didn’t do contactless, and almost as long since I’ve been told a place doesn’t accept cards. These days you’ll get looked at funny if you put your card in the machine unless you’re doing a substantial transaction.

I still carry a small amount of cash on me just in case, but the same £10 note has been sitting unused in my wallet since November now, slowly gathering dust.


Here in Australia we've had contactless for close to a decade I'd guess. All our terminals have been updated so the only place you really see a terminal that can't do contactless these days is broken ones where that component seems to be malfunctioning.

I bought coffee from the usual place today, where the card machine was broken. Everyone uses Apple / Android pay. The lady serving there was as confused by cash as the customers were.

There were conversations about bank notes because some hadn’t seen the newer ones before, despite them being around for what seems like ages now.

I too had a note sitting in my wallet waiting for such a circumstance. Now I have change and it’s weird that it feels alien. We used to do this for everything.


> months since I last encountered a card reader that didn’t do contactless

months? Its been years since I've seen a card reader that didn't have contactless.

The first place I ever saw it was 2010 at a rural Australian Mcdonalds.


Fun development: MOST US cards don't do contactless at all, which led to some annoying interactions for both US and UK merchants when we were visiting last summer.

UNTIL I realized that ApplePay worked on every contactless terminal. The bartenders & clerks looked at me a little funny, but when they realized they didn't have to do the goofy exception process required for a purchase signature, they didn't care.

Even so, though, cash is still king. I always have $100-200 on me.


Due to the forced slowness of US chip readers, Apple Pay is often much faster (to feeling magically faster) on average, that as I have gotten used to my device's own haptic feedbacks for the action, that I don't feel too much self-consciousness in those few times I try it, it fails, I dig out a physical card. At this point I don't think anyone notices if I try it or not other than when it succeeds "too quickly" and they want to know what voodoo I used to checkout faster than them, and I like talking about tech and enjoy explaining in that case.

Most of the remaining awkward are the cashiers/business that still like to "touch" the physical card itself (for whatever reason and/or ignorance), hiding the chip reader behind a counter or facing it away from the user. If the reader is too hidden you know not to try at all. The "pardon my reach" is sometimes embarrassing to try when the reader is in an accessible but awkward position, but sometimes I still like to try it, just to somewhat send a message that there are reasons they should move the reader closer to the buyer than the register and they just hadn't seen them yet.


> I honestly love Apple Pay, but I don't use it super often because it makes me self-conscious. I feel like a bit of a dick for some reason. If you try to do something "weird" and it doesn't work, people get annoyed, or it feels like an imposition.

1. Get an Apple Watch. In the following, I will assume you wear this on your left wrist.

2. Set up Apple Pay on the watch. Keep the card you have set up as your main Apple Pay card in your left pants pocket.

3. When you wish to pay with Apple Pay in a situation where you feel self-conscious, reach into your left pocket with your left hand and get your card.

4. Move the card toward the terminal, at the same time using your right hand to double-click the side button on the watch to bring up Apple Pay.

5. Continue moving the card toward the terminal as if you are going to swipe or insert it as appropriate, but while doing this bring the watch near the place you would for Apple Pay.

6. If you get the haptic feedback that indicates a successful Apple Pay, great. Put your card back in your wallet, and no one is the wiser.

7. If you don't get the haptic feedback, go ahead and finish with the actual card.

(If you are worried about terminals that are a little slow with Apple Pay, and so you might get an Apple Pay response after you have gone ahead and inserted the card, you could modify step #7 to be pull the left hand away while using the right hand to continue with the physical card).


That’s a lot of work to try and appear to do something no one else cares about.

I seriously doubt anyone cares. It doesn't even cross my mind when I pay with Google pay. And I can't remember ever paying attention to how the person in front of me pays unless they are already holding up the line and then start pulling out coupons and checkbooks.

I've gradually started getting over my similar feeling-like-a-dick sentiments. I definitely always have the worry that it's not going to work (Google Pay for me here, though), and occasionally I'll fumble to hold my phone in exactly the right way for the particular card reader I'm presented with. I still also feel like if I hand a card to a cashier, and it isn't working right, I implicitly blame the store or their equipment, where if I can't get Google Pay to work, I blame myself, and then feel bad for wasting other people's time.

Me too, I'm trying to get over it. It's kinda silly to worry about mildly inconveniencing someone, and it'll be nice once it's the norm.

Same here (Google Pay). I've tried a handful of times over the past 2 years or so and it has never worked for me.

I tried to use Google Pay (back when it was Android Pay) at a Cumberland Farms and when the reader read my phone it actually crashed the payment system.

A few months later my grocery store put up "now accepts Android Pay" signs. I went through the self checkout lane and the phone was read, but the payment never went through. Had to use my card eventually.

Then my expensive phone broke and I bought one without mobile payments.

But it did work at Dunkin Donuts a few times, so there's that.


Works for me almost everywhere in North Carolina.

I use it extensively. Every time I shop at Target, Costco, Safeway (groceries) are always Google Pay.

If I’m not sure, I say “Apple Pay okay?” to the cashier first in what I hope is a friendly way. Sometimes they’re not sure and will say, “you can try,” and then it feels more okay to give it a shot.

Feeling rude happens because when you suddenly produce your phone or watch, you suddenly reveal you’ve been thinking of the transaction differently and maybe that the cashier was incorrect or ignorant to assume you would swipe your card. You are unmasking yourself, in a sense. Proactively mentioning it lets them work with you and share their knowledge about the terminal if it’s relevant.


Sometimes, the cashier says "not ok" despite being "ok".

I'm not sure why you're being downvoted. This is a thing that happens. Usually because the cashier hasn't been trained.

These days I don't generally need to ask because the terminal have very conspicuous Apple Pay logos on them. But sometimes the terminal is kept behind the counter, so you can't see.

I've had several occasions (most recently at my vet) where I was told that it wouldn't work and I said, "Let's try it anyway," and it worked just fine.


Yes, I’ve had this happen and usually I just assent and pull out a card. Since I’ve just asked to avoid feeling rude, I’m probably not going to try Apple Pay in defiance of them.

When I’ve thought Apple Pay would have actually worked in that kind of situation, I try it next time I’m there (without asking first!)


In my experience, some small businesses avoid Apple Pay/Google Pay because you can add American Express cards to them, and they want to not accept Amex cards in order to save on the fee, despite the service agreement of their payment processor obligating them to.

I don't think it's possible to have a PoS terminal that doesn't accept physical Amex cards but that does accept Amex cards via Apple/Google Pay.

A post-it note that says "American Express not accepted" is probably deterrent enough, rather than a technical solution.

I just try it. And if it doesn’t work I swap for a card and grumble to myself how it’s almost the future.

That's an interesting viewpoint. Where do you live? I would imagine you live somewhere that is not along the coastline in the USA.

The only time I have ever run into any kind of social friction (percieved or actual) it was only around the time that it had just rolled out and everyone would groan and say stuff like "yeah, it says we do apple pay but it wont work"

But after those initial bumps it is really prevalent and easy to use. I never feel like I am inconveniencing anyone.


Portland, OR, but I never saw anyone use it in Brooklyn, either. Though NYC is incredibly backwards as far as payment technology goes, and most places strongly prefer cash.

I still get your reaction sometimes, or that look that says "I'm tolerating this, but you're annoying me."


Though NYC is incredibly backwards as far as payment technology goes

Stores in NYC are reluctant to make upgrades because the profit margins are much narrower in NYC than in lesser cities.


Cash allows small businesses to understate their revenue to the IRS, since cash can’t be tracked.

I'm starting to see QR codes on food trucks downtown that used to be cash only. Not gourmet ones but your average Chinese, Halal, breakfast/lunch etc.

I think the QR codes are usually an indication of AliPay or some other Chinese app. I'm sure someone here can elaborate or correct me.

Yes and also has the benefit of moving the infrastructure from the establishment to the customer. Anyone can print out a QR code and accept mobile payments vs a dedicated hardware solution.

I just replied in agreement as a sibling to your question. I live in SF and feel similarly sometimes.

I'm in the Bay Area, and whenever I'm not a not-familiar store, I'm a little self conscious and have one hand ready to reach for my wallet at the smallest hurdle with contactless.

Some people just don't want to be "that guy" holding up the line, for any reason. Even if it might have been faster to try contactless a second time.


Never had any weird looks from people (other than CA, I've used it in NV, AZ, MA, OR, WA). Almost every-time, it makes me quicker than everyone else, so not sure why would people make a comment. Also, if I don't see any NFC payment sign around, I would quickly ask while cashier is scanning my items.

I feel this just a little bit too, when there's an actual cashier. It just sort of screams "tech yuppie". But that alone I can live with; I just always make sure to check that it'll work beforehand, because if it actually holds up the line that's super uncomfortable.

Problem with these contactless payments is you first try contactless, then wait to figure out if it fails, then if it does, you're dealing with the slowness of a physical card on top of all the time you wasted with contactless. Until it reliably works everywhere, you kind of have to do a little math estimation to decide what to use:

T(card) = time it takes to use a physical card

T(ap) = time it takes to use Apple Pay

T(fail) = time it takes to realize Apple Pay failed

P(fail) = probability that Apple Pay will fail to work

So if T(card) < T(ap) x [1-P(fail)] + [T(ap) + T(fail) + T(card)] x P(fail)

...then you should just use your physical card. I don't even try Apple Pay anymore because merchant support is so unpredictable and spotty.


> wanted to add that here in Portland, we have the special Apple Pay transit wallet for the bus, which is amazing!

I'm aware of this, because here in Canada, if you add a transit pass to Google Pay, the only options are 1) Las Vegas Monorail, 2) Melbourne myki, 3) Portland Hop and 4) Manatee County, Florida MCAT.


CTA in Chicago takes Apple Pay, as does Ventra (the commuter rail app) and WMATA in DC is supposed to soon I think. Surprised Canada hasn't caught on to that.

I don't know that they haven't - I assume those four cities support some additional integration with Google Pay over just paying for tickets.

My local commuter rail "takes" Apple/Google Pay in the sense that you can buy a paper ticket via contactless payment - there are no turnstiles or fare collection, making it essentially an honour system.


Melbourne-resident here; Myki is there because it's a horribly implemented system to the point where, while most cities will just use a Visa/Amex/MC backed system, we needed to keep our specific transit ticketing because... reasons. It's really bad.

Chicago's CTA only accepts US cards, even when paying with Apple Pay. My international cards weren't accepted at all, the card reader failing with a generic error message. I didn't expect Apple Pay being declined, though.

On the other hand, both Las Vegas and Portland transit systems readily accepts foreign cards.


One of the first times i paid with my iPhone, the cashier tensed up a little when I authenticated with FaceID before paying.

I apologized for being rude by looking at my phone during the payment, but that I had to authenticate with it with my face to be able to pay. She relaxed and said it was okay, so apparently the unfamiliarity was the source of the confusion.


The trick with the "weird" feeling is to bail quickly and use cash or a traditional card if the ApplePay process isn't working, so folks behind you don't get annoyed.

I've found that AP either works or doesn't in the first couple seconds (and is overwhelmingly the former).


It's funny, often I'll get a confused look and they just pass over the terminal and are surprised and usually happy when it works. I do feel a little weird when it doesn't work, but the number of times it fails drops all the time.

I kinda felt like this at first, but now I'm so fast by the time the cashier looks up, the terminal already beeped and I'm out the door.

You can double tap to pay even before the reader is ready, so that once it is, the transaction happens instantly.


This used to be the case for me but in my area almost every terminal accepts it and so these days I don’t even carry my wallet to pet places.

well it doesn't help that recent updates to iOS have caused Apple Pay to trip up. It used to work flawlessly for me at every machine but now I find myself having to unlock the phone first which I never did before

The more you and other people do it, the less weird it becomes.

I always rub my phone on card readers like an idiot on the off chance it accepts Apple Pay. When it doesn't work I feel like an idiot for a second then move on. So worth if I go to a particular place often.

It has never worked for me. Even at the Apple store!

Clearly it works for someone because "10% of global transactions" but, I'm guessing it has something to do with how bad Apple is at dealing with international issues like the fact the App Store is completely fucked if you need apps from multiple countries I can only guess Apple Pay is just as fucked.


I had dinner with members of the Apple Pay team a year or two back. I asked them, “So, who are your competitors? Google Pay? PayPal?”

They laughed.

“No, we don’t really track them. We have one main competitor. Credit cards. We care about Apple Pay being better, easier and more convenient to use than any of your credit cards.”

And then, finishing dinner, the guy paid with his Apple Watch, using Apple Pay. The waiter was stunned - he’d never seen anything like that before.


If this occurred in the USA, I'm surprised the story doesn't end with the waiter asking this guy to take his Apple Watch off so the waiter can take it to the back where the payment terminal is located. Portable terminals that are brought to the table (so the customer can enter their PIN) still seem to be a rare occurrence in the US.

It's a miracle that you don't pay with checks at restaurants.

For some reason I have started seeing them a lot more lately and I am not in a tech hub. Perhaps having to upgrade to chip readers, the restaurants were able to get the portable readers as well?

Or too many servers were skimming cards on their way back to the PoS terminal

Ingenico makes portable card readers

You can pay using Apple Pay at restaurants? Has to be a special case right?

I've done this loads of times. Albeit in the UK and Canada, where the card reader is brought to your table.

Just to add that, at least here in France, it is not at all uncommon to stand up and go pay at the terminal on the way out, instead of waiting at the table. They usually have a card reader anyway, but it's a matter of convenience for the restaurant I think.

(Tbf I'm talking about everyday restaurant, not gastronomic experiences)


Sure you can. It's not a special case. That's the beauty of Apple Pay. Industry standard protocol. If the merchant accepts contactless credit cards then Apple Pay will work. No need for any special hardware, any special software or any contract changes.

Typically in the US the waiter will take your credit card back to a payment terminal rather than bringing a card reader to you. Contactless isn’t really an option in that case.

No wonder you have more problems with fraud in the USA if you let a waiter take the card away from you and do god knows what with it.

Why would you hand anyone your credit card... to take it somewhere else... and do whatever with it ....

Because somehow that's still a normal and accepted practice in the US.

It seems madness to give your card to someone to take off somewhere. In Australia they either bring you a terminal to touch at the table (for a fancier place), or you touch the terminal on your way out (for a casual place).

In the US an upscale place would never bring a terminal to your table. They give you a check (receipt), you put card or money down, they take it to their register, and bring back a customer receipt or change.

Money is often a taboo subject in the US, and I think that is bleeding into a slow adoption of touchless transactions in nice restaurants.

It will take at least 5 years for this part of US culture to give way to convenience and security.

*Note I've not spent much time on the west coast; I'm sure they're ahead on this


> No need for any special hardware, any special software

Umm, except for the whole Apple device...


You don't need an Apple device.

The same tech used by Apple Pay is directly built into a lot of credit cards.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactless_payment


And almost every other smartphone.

>> No need for any special hardware, any special software

ha ha - except for the iphone, watch and apple pay; no special hardware nor software required.


It's just NFC under the hood. Many credit cards have it built into the card itself.

My spouse and I recently went to a TGI Friday's for the first time in like 2 decades. Apparently these types of restaurants (TGIF, Chilli's, Appleby's etc.) now all have a tablet device at the table where you can instantly order another drink, dessert, pay, or (for a price) let the kids play a game. You can use credit cards, and maybe contactless payments (don't remember off the top of my head). It's a neat innovation for a restaurant like that, but of course they make the experience horrible by having this screen at the table constantly showing ads for either other things you can get at the restaurant, or other random things. We usually turn them around so we don't have to see ads while we're trying to eat. But that's a whole other issue.

Portable payment tablets are all over Miami, most accept Apple Pay. Because it’s a tourism hub maybe? Anyway it’s awesome, love not using my cards while traveling. I’m sure it’ll creep across the rest of the country eventually.

Is it possible to use Google Pay to do contact free payments on iPhone?

No, the iPhone NFC is locked down.

When I was in Australia this August, most waiters were "Stunned" that I didn't need a pin to buy things. It doesn't take much to "Stun" a waiter when it comes to tech.

Where in Australia were you?

I ask this because, as an Australian, I pay for essentially every single purchase on Apple Pay. Everyone I know uses mostly their phones to pay.

Everyone I know has been using contactless payments on their credit cards (or visa/mastercard debit cards) for the past 5 years.

No one enters their pins on transactions under $150. Depending on the payment method, that number can be a lot higher.


Yeah, I've lived in Australia all my life and for the past couple of years I've used my phone to pay for everything...even transport[1]. People don't look twice if you use contactless payments

[1] https://transportnsw.info/tickets-opal/opal/contactless-paym...


If it was a tourist spot, it may have been surprising for someone with an American accent not needing a PIN.

to be clear, they were surprised that a chip reader worked WITHOUT a pin. and that I couldn't contactless. Everyone was saying "tap here" when I walked up to pay. "no tap". Pretty much every purchase.

They didn't know all the bells and whistles on their machine. It'd be about as surprising as if I whipped out a personal check and they found their machine had a reader for that.


Which would imply that the waiter is in fact quite savvy since they understand the intricacies of credit card authorisations for different countries.

Not particularly, anyone here who deals with sales for any amount of Americans will quickly see that they're the odd one out with contactless.

It's not that there's heaps of different scenarios, it's that there's America and the rest of the world.


Melbourne: 9 days (near chinatown, the G, The Espy) Sydney: 9 days (Circle Quay, Barangaroo, Blue Mountains) Cairns, Airlie Beach, Yeppoon, Hervey Bay, Brisbane (2-3 days each).

I'm American, my card doesn't do contactless, nor chip and pin. I also used old straight swipe cards while there for fun.

I used cards for most purchases except at the melbourne market and a few other places where cash was required.


Ah. I must have misunderstood your point, that they were stunned at just how anachronistic American payment tech is.

that and that their machine supported it.

This is an odd comment.

We haven't needed a PIN to buy anything like dinner in Australia for close to a decade now. Only exception is if you are going for a more expensive dinner where you might be. But then I doubt your credit card company is overriding that security precaution.


In AU/NZ think the default limit is like $75–$150, depending on the type of shop? With Apple/Google/etc Pay in AU/NZ, the same limit seems to apply as with chips.

Above the limit, with Apple/etc Pay, I usually need to sign and have the card physically on you if the merchant asks for it. I think even my Paywave card requires a signature if used via Google Pay, but a Pin without, but I almost never use that one for large transactions.

Above the limit with Paywave/Chip/etc would make you enter your pin (and you already have the card on you).

If you're paying for expensive things, Apple/Google/etc Pay is a bit worse UX in my experience.


Your comment is unclear, and I can't tell if you're talking about any of the above happening in Australia or elsewhere.

In Australia signatures are not considered a valid form of identification for transactions.

It's PIN or nothing.


That's actually not true either. It depends on the card and the issuer. In particular, contactless Amex cards will occasionally fall back to signature.

Honestly, this runs so counter to the experience that not only I but everyone I know has experienced here, that it almost sounds made-up (though I'm not accusing you of that).

We use contact for everything, with the limit being (for me) $100. Signature is explicitly not allowed any more (overseas cards excepted), with anything over $100 requiring chip + PIN instead. When I say everything, I mean that I don't recall the last time I saw someone use cash to buy a coffee, and the one mate I have who uses cash when he's out at the pub is a unique anomaly to me. Even our public transport systems are (slowly) moving towards augmenting existing NFC transit cards with just allowing you to tap your CC on the reader and charging you a ticket fee directly. I generally don't even bother carrying cash any more, and the biggest payment issue I encounter is whether AmEx is supported (since contactless terminals don't necessarily display that during the payment process).

I would be taken aback if one waiter here was "stunned" by you not needing a PIN to buy things. For "most" to be so beggars belief. As a sibling comment said, the only explanation I can think of is that if you're clearly American due to your accent, then many service staff will be used to Americans being the single different group who can't use contactless and thus prepare to hand over a pen for signature whenever they hear the accent.


5% at the moment seems like an incredibly high number to me, at least in the US. I looked it up here, where the stats say a different number: https://www.pymnts.com/apple-pay-adoption/

Also latest is about 51% of merchants have compatible equipment.

1.1% of sales is apple pay. Also usage numbers have gone down from 2018 to 2019. Seems like a puff piece to me?


They’re claiming 5% of global card transactions, that surely can’t be true, there are quite a few developed countries where iPhones are not that common, and countries where other contactless payment systems are already widespread. And what about middle income and poor countries?

I think it might be true on the grounds that credit cards are only king in the US and Latin America, whereas they represent less than 10% of cashless payments in the large markets, namely Asia.

Developed countries have more accessible and cheaper systems, like M-Pesa. In China, you generally just scan a QR code to make a payment. Neither of these systems piggyback on the expensive and slow credit card system.

So, I think this statistic might be as true as it is misleading. Impressive marketshare, just not as big a market.


In Australia I would say that about 90% of card transactions are contactless and of them a good 30% use some type of phone payment. Isn't even blinked at any more.

Is debit payment a big thing in Australia? For smaller payment amounts I see debit cards way more frequently than CC or mobile.

Debit payments are around 3x as popular as credit payments here and there is, last I heard, a 50-50 split between using cards and phones to make them. There's an interesting demographic association to it as well, credit is much much more popular with older people (50+). Every few months you see a "millennials are killing the credit card industry" fuss.

The U.S. is notoriously behind on this sort of stuff

The US was way ahead on credit cards to begin with, and was then leapfrogged by countries building payment infrastructure with newer technology. There’s no reason the US couldn’t re-leapfrog with its next generation.

"The U.S. is notoriously behind on this sort of stuff"

Which is to say, after inventing the credit card, the US has since fallen behind.

Too busy inventing The Internet I suppose ...


> Which is to say, after inventing the credit card, the US has since fallen behind.

Yes, it has indeed.


I have no idea if 5% is correct, but worth noting that 1.1% figure is total sales, not including online. The article is about total credit card transaction volume.

Given the currently staggering inequality of wealth distribution on Earth, I would wager that the average revenue of Apple customers (arguably at least half the richest, trickling down to upper classes) is more than enough to make said customers' spending several times that of the average credit card owner (also increased purchase frequency).

That's what the story of Apple's market shares and image around the world seems to paint, anyway (the US is really an outlier, no other country buys anywhere near as many iPhones except Sweden, Japan and Switzerland iirc).

Apple is successfully pivoting into a luxury brand + service provider (let's call it the Porsche or Vuitton of consumer devices), and I think this article / thread goes to show that they've now effectively conquered their customers' wallet — as in, the product category.

Well played, hats off, but the genius really was in developing the strategy itself: suppose you have $200bn sitting in cash offshore that you can't bring back easily, and you also happen to have the 10-20% richest people on Earth as customers. Well, what can you do with those? ... Offer a financial service maybe, like payments? Tim Cook: hold my pad

I really do think the 5% figure might be every bit as real as the price tag of the latest flagships, as real as the kind of global wealth that allows casually spending ~4 figures on a phone in 2020.


There are nearly one billion iPhones in use in the world today [0]. That's far from a Porsche or Vuitton level exclusive, it's more like Ford.

And since the US corporate tax rate was cut back to normal global levels, they've been repatriating the extra overseas cash [1] and mostly using it to fund buybacks and dividends.

[0]: https://www.idownloadblog.com/2019/01/30/900-million-iphones...

[1]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-17/apple-exp...


5% growing to 10% just sounded crazy to me. For this to be true every iPhone user has to be making a butt-load of purchases and always using Apple Pay. I haven't seen any numbers that would back up this level of adoption.

They don't have to be large purchases, just everyday routine stuff. For instance, going to work, somebody might get a bus and a train. That's two transactions per trip, four transactions per day, 20 transactions per week. 25 if they grab a coffee on the way to work. 30 if they buy lunch. You're looking at ~1,500 transactions per year just for one person with this routine, even if they don't use Apple Pay for anything else. There are about a billion active iPhones out there, it doesn't take a large proportion to start using Apple Pay more to account for a huge number of transactions.

As soon as a city rolls out NFC support for public transport, that's going to be an instant boost of millions of transactions per year, because anybody with a smartphone or smartwatch doesn't have to bother with the hassle of buying tickets or topping up a transit card any more, they just have to wave their watch at the reader. Compare a transit card, where people typically top it up for weeks at a time with a single cash or credit card transaction, to Apple Pay, where there's at least one transaction every single day you travel.

I'm used to living in places where NFC support in public transport is ubiquitous, and when I visited San Francisco recently, it felt like I was living in a time warp having to mess around with a Clipper card. BART has ~125 million trips per year. How many transactions per year do you think Apple Pay will be boosted by when BART finally supports it? And that's just one single location for one use case.


The drop from 2018 to 2019 might be due to Visa and other rolling out contact-less cards. I haven't used apple pay since I received new cards

I thought Apple pay was really dumb... and then I started using it. Especially with an Apple Watch: when I get to checkout, I can fumble with my wallet, dig out a card, wait ten seconds for the chip to read, and then put the card away.... or I can tap a button on my watch twice and wave it near the reader. Done.

Contactless phone payments work great, but I find contactless watch payments to be really physically awkward, for a number of reasons. First, the watch is worn on the wrong side of the hand for conveniently accessing the contactless reader. Second, the contactless reader is itself usually on a counter below requiring me to stoop over to make my wrist reach it. The extra 1 foot of reach you get with a phone is very helpful in this situation.

Third, I like seeing the visual feedback confirming on the screen of the payment device, which you can't do with a watch held with it's face to the reader. Sure, it vibrates, but that isn't a great indicator of success IMO.


Agreed, I use Apple Pay semi-frequently, but in my experience the ergonomics taken a step back since I upgraded my iPhone. I went from pulling my phone out of my pocket with my thumb already on Touch ID > hold near reader > paid to pulling my phone out > hold near reader > phone says get face closer > double tapping the lock screen button which is kind of out of the way on my iPhone 11, and I've locked the screen inadvertently, likely due to the case slowing me down when pressing at times. Not the worst, but not an improvement in my opinion.

pulling my phone out > hold near reader > phone says get face closer > double tapping the lock screen button which is kind of out of the way on my iPhone 11

You're doing it wrong.

Pull phone out → double-click wallet button → Authenticate face → Hold next to reader → done.


Fair point, however, it is worth pointing out I upgraded from a Touch ID phone, where one simply places the phone close to the reader and applied the same behavior to a Face ID phone. I don't believe I'm alone in this learned behavior, and blaming the user for "doing it wrong" is not a sign of great UX.

Anyway, thanks for the tip (being sincere here).


My personal phone is FaceID. My work phone is TouchID. I always pick the wrong method when I need to use it.

This is another use case where I prefer Touch ID, as the act of double-clicking the home button to summon Apple Pay also takes care of the auth.

Your flow misses a critical point. You can have a long pause after FaceID, but before tapping. This means that you can, say, authenticate while the grocer is ringing up each item, sit there until they finish, and only then tap.

Pull phone out → double-click wallet button → Authenticate face → Pause for a long time → Hold next to reader → done.


On my Pixel 2: Pull phone out, putting on finger on the fingerprint reader while holding it > tap on terminal. It's just all one motion. Super convenient.

Apple should really provide a tip when you have done it the wrong way multiple times. I too didn’t know that was a better sequence.

The phone tells you the sequence every time. You double-press the button, it shows the FaceID prompt. You authenticate with FaceID, it tells you to hold it near the reader.

Yeah, but it doesn't tell you the sequence all at once. So you don't know that it's going to tell you to hold near reader, but you know that it needs to be held there, so you try to hold it there while you authenticate, which is at the wrong angle for auth, so it fails, so you click the button again, which this time turns the screen off...

As much as I miss having printed manuals, every phone has a leaflet with a link to download the manual. It's in there.

It's also online:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201239#stores


It's nice when traveling with an Apple Watch outside the US. I can do transactions without the whole "sigh, I need to find a pen so this American can sign a receipt." (There's a fairly low limit to Apple Pay transactions for US accounts in some places but it's still nice to pick up a few items in a grocery store.)

I forgot to pack my traveling cards on a trip once and found myself on the Navajo Nation without any plastic.

Apple Pay on my Apple Watch saved my bacon. Hotel, restaurant, gift shop, trading post... every place that takes plastic there take Apple Pay.

I think the reason is that because of limited connectivity, they're a little late to the credit card game, so all of their terminals and processes are the new tech. There's no legacy gear or processes to upgrade from.

Which is similar for the whole credit card arena in general. People keep posting on here about America being backwards when it comes to credit cards and in the "civilized world" (Is there a more condescending Eurotrash phrase than that?) the banking system is more advanced. The fact is that America has had mass deployment of credit cards for far longer than other nations, so naturally it will take longer to upgrade. Greenfields are always easier to build on.


When I first got the chip it was like 30 seconds to auth. Now it's about 1-3 seconds, basically put it in, beep, pull it out. Like a less-likely-to-fail swipe.

I primarily use my card for purchases at retail locations, but a few times I've forgotten my wallet, and Apple Pay on my phone has saved me.

Can people use your wrist to buy themselves drinks once you've passed out ?

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