Apple Pay was launched in the United Kingdom in June 2015, eight months after its official release in the USA, gaining the interest of many users of the iPhone. By October 2015, only 16% of Apple users had tried Apple Pay, and just 5% of people stated that they use the system when faced with a terminal that accepts it.

What exactly is Apple Pay and what are the reasons for and against trying it within your business?

What is Apple Pay?

As one of the leading technology companies in the world, it’s no surprise that Apple is the first to develop a payment system whereby customers can make purchases using their mobile phones. On the iPhone 6 (and newer models) on other select Apple devices, the Wallet app enables users to add their credit and/or debit cards in order to pay for goods and services without using their physical card.

The fingerprint recognition feature which is included on the latest iPhones and other Apple devices provides security for customers. The app will not work until the customer’s fingerprint has been recognised by the device. This means that the payment cannot be authorised by anybody else other than the owner of the phone or a family member/friend whose fingerprint has been added onto the device.

Just like contactless cards, all the customer is required to do is hold their phone to the card machine. Once their fingerprint has been recognised, the payment will go through.

What are the pros of Apple Pay for businesses?

  • For retailers, Apple Pay provides an additional method of payment for their customers. People who have their phones with them but no cash or cards can still buy goods or services, which leads to extra sales.
  •  Since this system works with most major banks in the UK, anybody with a suitable device is eligible to use Apple Pay. Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays and Halifax are just a few of the banks which support it, and even M&S Bank is taking part too.
  • Anybody with MasterCard, Visa or American Express cards can take advantage of this new system in order to make a payment.
  • Another reason why many retailers are choosing to include Apple Pay as a payment method is the fact that an increasing number of Apple devices are supporting it. Customers with an iPhone 6, 6 Plus or later model will be able to use Apple Pay, and various iPads and Apple watches are also compatible. The iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and later tablets can be used, and Apple watches paired with the iPhone 5 or newer models are suitable too.
  • The system is very secure for both the merchant and the customer. The liability rules remain the same whether the customers pay through Apple Pay or with their physical card. Many customers prefer the contactless methods, since they don’t need to worry about anybody stealing their PIN number over their shoulder.
  • Apple Pay will work with most, if not all, NFC-equipped terminals, so if your business already has one of these, there may not be much else to do in order to get this system set up.

What are the cons of Apple Pay for businesses?

Although there are many benefits to offering Apple Pay as a payment method for your customers, there are also some things which deter businesses from getting it.

  •  Apple Pay started off with a £20 spending limit, which was increased to £30 in the UK after three months. However, this isn’t much use to a customer who wants to spend over £30, meaning that the Apple system of payment is only suitable for those making small purchases. It could also mean that customers spend less in a bid to ensure they are under the spending limit.
  • If your business doesn’t already have an NFC terminal, it could be very expensive to get the necessary equipment installed. Many small companies with low budgets are not willing to take the risk that comes with installing Apple Pay, since there is no guarantee that customers will use it regularly or that it will provide a significant benefit to the business.
  • Apart from potentially installing extra terminals and other equipment, more training will be needed in order to make sure that employees are up-to-date with how to process payments made through Apple Pay. Again, this comes with a further cost to the business, which could set a small company back by several hundred pounds.
  • For many business owners, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that Apple Pay will become hugely popular among customers. Because it is a very new system, it could still be rejected by many people, especially the older generation who often shy away from advances in technology. As a result, companies may find that they install new contactless NFC terminals, only to see their customers preferring the regular chip and PIN method.
  • There are several reasons why customers choose not to use Apple Pay when shopping. In a survey, most people reported that they either forgot they could use the method or they weren’t too sure whether it would be accepted. Others were worried about the security and functions of Apple Pay, but a larger percentage of respondents used a different method of payment in order to gain rewards from their purchases.

How can a Business get Apple Pay?

If you’re considering getting Apple Pay for your business, you should check first to see if you have a contactless terminal. If you do, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to accept Apple Pay almost immediately, simply by getting into touch with your payment provider to let them know. Providers of contactless terminals include WorldPay and Barclaycard, among others. There are no extra fees for setting up your terminal to accept Apple Pay.

To let your customers know that you’re now accepting Apple Pay, you can order decals for your windows and stickers to put on the terminal itself. The Apple Pay symbol is normally displayed alongside the contactless symbol, telling customers that they can pay with a contactless card or by using their devices.