UPDATE: 2nd April 2017. The banks lost their bid against Apple.
If you bank with Bendigo, Westpac, NAB or CommBank then I am sorry but you are out of luck.
At least for now.
But for those that have switched to ANZ (plus AMEX and a few smaller building societies) then Apple Pay is here and it is fantastic.
Before I start raving about how cool Apple Pay is, lets look at what it is, why it is so good and why the Big Four banks are acting like spoilt brats.
Basically Apple Pay is a ultra secure method of using PayWave technology without physically using your card. You lodge your card details with Apple and those details are then converted into a unique token that is used to pass your purchase, via Apple, to the merchant in less time than it takes to say “wow!”
Now at this point it is very important to acknowledge that Apple knows nothing about your card or your transactions beyond this point. All your data is secured with an encrypted chip on your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch that, as it turns out, is at the heart of the dispute with the Big Four. But more on that later.
What happens if someone steals your phone? Well they will need your pin or thumb print in order to use your card and before they have figured out how to do that there is a good chance the phone has been wiped and/or the card cancelled.
So why don’t all the banks use this system? Basically because they are dicks! Now I know that is not very helpful so let me go further with a little more tact. The banks I mentioned above banned together in an attempt to force Apple to open up their technology (that secure chip I mentioned earlier) to allow these banks to create their own software, thus giving customers “choice”
Humbug! (hows that for an old fashioned word?) Apple have, quite rightly, fired back saying that this would make the system less secure and something of a muddle for the client… and they have history on their side to prove the point.
Back in the 90’s Java was being hailed as the wonder code of the age. It was postulated that all applications would be written in Java and would be platform agnostic, meaning that if you bought a copy of Word written in Java it would run on any device capable of running java. But Microsoft had other ideas and decided to write their own version of Java and in doing so prevented the ‘real’ Java from running on Windows. To put it mildly, Microsoft’s Java was absolute pants and what resulted were court cases, sanctions and confidence in Java wilted.
ANZ were once part this consortium against Apple but in April 2016 they opted out of the huff-fest and instead embraced Apple Pay wholeheartedly. What followed has been a slow trickle of building societies and smaller banks following suit and customers practically breaking their necks to switch banks. Me being one of them.
So what, I know you are dying to know, is the reality of using Apple Pay.
I have my card on both my iPhone and my Apple Watch and I use the watch almost exclusively. Now I can walk to the shops with nothing more than my watch and headphones. I listen to music on my Apple Watch on the way and once there I use the Reminders app as my shopping list. When it comes time to pay I simply double tap on the watch and hold the screen up to the reader and I am off. Leaving a bewildered looking checkout attendant in my wake. All the while my credit card (that all of a sudden seems soooo 2015!) is safe and sound in my wallet at home.
For a list of banks, building societies and others that have embraced Apple Pay, have a look at this list.
For a helpful “How To” have a look here.