In the US, Apple Pay already accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards from most major banks. How about Australia?
Well, here is a good news for Australians: Apple Pay will be available in Australia today. The company hopes to eventually replace people’s wallets in the same way they shook up portable music players, phones and personal computers.
While American Express cardholders will be the only ones able to use the service initially, Apple is confident that its payment service will be a game-changer. Users won’t need to unlock their phone or open an app, they simply hover it over an EFTPOS terminal, and the iPhone or Apple Watch screen then lights up, displaying which cards are available. Users then press their finger or thumb against the home button to activate TouchID, and the payment is made.
Apple has also paid close attention to the privacy and security issues of Apple Pay, ensuring the phone stores a unique “device number” rather than a credit card number. The payment utilises this “device number” and the credit card number doesn’t go through to the merchant. The number also stores all relevant information on a secure section of the iPhone, a separate hardware component called a ‘secure element’, which is not a part of the phone’s storage or RAM.
Other key functionality includes the ability for developers to use Apple Pay within their apps. Uber customers, for instance, could take an Uber ride without making an Uber account and use their Apple Pay information instead.
Users with disabilities or impairments, particularly visual impairments, also stand to win out from some of Apple’s design choices, with Apple Pay working with VoiceOver to read out what cards are available for use rather than the user having to fumble through their wallet to work out which card is which.
With the latest update to iOS, the Passbook app is now called Wallet. To set up Apple Pay, go to Apple Wallet and hit on the plus symbol. It can use your default iTunes card if it is an American Express card or you can add a card by using the iPhone camera to take a picture of your card. However, despite this announcement, Apple Pay will be available for Australians with an Amex card issued directly by American Express — not an American Express card issued through a bank.