What is Apple Pay?
In October 2014, Apple will launch an alternative to the traditional wallet: Apple Pay. The goal of this new payment system is to give consumers a simple way to make transactions without having to fiddle through their wallet.
To use Apple Pay, a person will just have to put their iPhone near the reader, similar to a tap and pay credit or debit card, while holding the Touch ID (the center button on the bottom of the device). From there, the Touch ID recognizes a fingerprint and a purchase can be made.
Apple ensures this method is secure, with actual credit or debit account numbers never being shared by Apple and the merchant. Transaction information is not stored either. The only record is in a person’s “most recent purchases,” which is saved in the Passbook app for the their convenience.
Visa, Mastercard and American Express, along with several banks, have teamed up so their credit or debit cards can be used with Apple Pay. Many other banks are currently in the works to be on board too.
To get started, Apple has partnered up with Panera, Starbucks and McDonald’s to have compatible software for Apple Pay. More restaurants are in the works and others may follow suit.
In an article by Nation’s Restaurant News, they interviewed Atif Rafiq, McDonald’s senior vice president and global chief officer, who said this new technology will provide a more convenient way for consumers to pay.
Not So Fast….
Since Apple Pay is a touch-and-pay system, the customer will have to hold their phone to the terminal, which doesn’t fit all restaurant environments.
“The system makes sense for those retailers with dedicated stations capable of hosting NFC-enabled payment terminals at check-out,” said the Wall Street Journal. “But for sit-down restaurants or drive-through windows, enabling Apple Pay likely won’t be easy.”
Then, mixing in the fact that only a small amount of merchants are currently on board with Apple Pay, and the feature is only available on the new iPhone models and Apple Watch, this new payment method is literally going to have to work from the ground up.
Restaurant reservation provider OpenTable has provided an opportunity for sit-down restaurants to use Apple Pay. In a press release launched shortly after the release of the iPhone 6, they announced the “Pay with OpenTable” option on the OpenTable app.
“Pay with OpenTable” is simple process for restaurants and guests as the entire transaction will be done in OpenTable as the guest will make the reservation on their iPhone, then launch the app during the meal. The waitstaff can manage the check through their current POS system and guests will be able to view and pay the check at their convenience and leave when ready.
By using “Pay with OpenTable,” restaurants will free up more time for customer service.
Only Time Will Tell
Will Apple Pay take off? No one knows yet. But with many partnerships in the works, it will definitely have an impact on the restaurant industry and could create an easier experience for customers.