apple pay

What is this “Apple Pay” thing?

By now, we have all heard the excitement around the new “contactless” payment system just released by Apple this week, called “Apple Pay”, but it sounds cool, but what is it really?

If we go by simple definition, it is a way of paying for things with an iOS device, in apps and in stores. When it is used in apps, Touch ID is used to authenticate payments without having to enter any card information. In stores, it utilizes NFC, Near Field Communication, and Touch ID to make and authenticate payments. With over  200,000 stores accepting Apple Pay payments, they are off to a good start, with most major banks and cards accepted.

The new system, although may seem a bit confusing, is easy to use and requires little engagement. It is easy to make a payment. When you are ready to pay, you hold your device in front of the contact payment pad and enter a digit in the ID button and the payment is then made. If you are utilizing an app, you have to select Apple Pay and then you will be prompted to choose a payment option and then you will place your finger on the Touch ID button for further verification that it is you.

The current Apple devices that support Apple Pay are iPhone 6 and iPhone6+ in both apps and in store purchases as they have NFC and Touch ID. However, the Apple Watch can only support in store purchases at this time but must be paired with the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 or 6+.

The iPhone 6 and 6+ have a smart card included for enhanced security that handles the authentication and security protocols when making a payment. Additionally, your issuing bank of your credit card hides the details of your card number and other details behind a random code. It is secure.

At this time Wells Fargo, Chase, B of A, Citi and American Express support Apple with several more planning to onboard before the end of the year. Apple now says that you are able to use Apple Pay at over 225,000 retailers today. Apple Pay is currently not supported outside of the United States.