On today’s release of Apple Pay

At last week’s event, Apple announced that iOS 8.1 would be released today. The iOS 8.1 feature with the biggest potential impact is, no doubt, Apple Pay. From Apple’s official Apple Pay page:

Now paying in stores happens in one natural motion — there’s no need to open an app or even wake your display thanks to the innovative Near Field Communication antenna in iPhone 6. To pay, just hold your iPhone near the contactless reader with your finger on Touch ID. You don’t even have to look at the screen to know your payment information was successfully sent. A subtle vibration and beep let you know.

If you own an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, you are good to go. If you own an iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3, you can use Apple Pay (via Touch ID) to pay within apps.

UPDATE: A number of people have said that the iPhone 5s should be a good to go device for app purchases. If you scroll to the bottom of the Apple Pay page, you’ll see a chart that shows iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s as being compatible with Apple Watch, but not compatible with in-app pay. The issue is the lack of the NFC chip and secure element.

And, of course, once the Apple Watch is released, you’ll be able to use your watch (combined with your Touch ID enabled phone) to pay:

You can pay with Apple Watch — just double‑click the button next to the Digital Crown and hold the face of your Apple Watch near the contactless reader. A gentle pulse and beep confirm that your payment information was sent.

If you haven’t read this already, this article talks you through the mechanics and safety of Apple Pay.

Apple Pay will be limited out of the gate, limited by hardware (as detailed above), and limited by merchant adoption. Best to think of this as the start of a new era. Apple has hit the ground running, with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express signed up, along with a good number of bank card providers. If your card participates in Apple Pay (you likely got an email from them if they do), your first step will be to add that card to your Passbook app.

According to Apple, there are more than 220,000 stores that have the contactless NFC readers in place and are set up to take Apple Pay today. I wonder if today’s iOS Apple Pay release will spur a new round of iPhone 6 purchases. I also wonder if McDonalds is going to see an unusual run of business today from people testing their new Apple Pay-enabled phones.

  • Sammiemo

    “If you own an iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3, you can use Apple Pay (via Touch ID) to pay within apps.” The article doesn’t mention that iPhone 5S works for online pay as well.

    • Mike

      It doesn’t; only in conjunction with the Apple Watch. Same goes for the iPhone 5. The 5s lacks the NFC and Secure Element to make it work natively

  • John Parkinson

    Looking forward to this making it to the UK.

  • Jim McPherson

    “If your card participates in Apple Pay (you likely got an email from them if they do), your first step will be to add that card to your Passbook app.”

    I think if your bank uses a Visa / MC debit card, it doesn’t matter whether the bank “participates” or not. Visa / MC is participating for them.

    • i don’t think so. otherwise why list the bank brands, such as US Bank? there isn’t anything other than Visa or MC for a bank to use, is there?

      • Jim McPherson

        The ATM networks.

        When the store asks “credit or debit” when you hand them your debit card, you’re really asking “which network of financial institutions should we run through this transaction through” and “would you rather type in a PIN code or sign a screen / piece of paper”? (There are other vagaries as well, such as how fraud is handled.)

      • Jim McPherson

        Ugh. Turns out I’m wrong. Tried adding my debit card and got “Your Issuer Does Not Yet Offer Support for This Card”.

  • icruise

    I’m unclear how paying in-store with Apple Watch will work. I thought one of the reasons Apple Pay was secure was that it used TouchID, but does that mean that you have to touch your phone to use it? And if so, what’s the point of using the watch to pay at all?

    • AJACs

      One of the things we don’t know yet are the specific security measures with regards to the watch (This is not surprising that we don’t know yet). Maybe it unlocks via the phone when it is on your wrist for the duration it is on your wrist. When it comes off your wrist, maybe it locks again. Whatever the mechanism, someone absconding with your watch is not going to expose you to fraud, or Apple has really done all of its other hard security work for nothing.

      • icruise

        Yes, that must be it. They mentioned that it can sense when it comes off your wrist, so I’m betting that when you put it on you authorize it with your phone (and TouchID) and it stays authorized until you take it off.

    • Herding_sheep

      When you first put on the watch you’ll enter a passcode. The Watch will then remain capable of payments as long as its on your wrist. It can detect when it is no longer touching your skin, presumably through the heart rate sensor. After you remove it, Apple Pay will be deactivated and you’ll have to reenter your device passcode.

  • ,Apple Pay—the greatest media/marketing beat up yet of the 21st century!

    Too bad all that hot air will soon enough cool …

    Retail Payments (and Apple Pay/PayPal/et al)—The Reality … http://bit.ly/1nSA1Zl