The 2014 launch of Apple Pay came many years after Google Wallet (2011) and countless other mobile payment solutions. Though despite this relatively late start, Apple has quickly established itself as a leader in the mobile wallet industry.
There are several potential reasons why that is:
1. Apple Is Apple
Over the years, Apple has built an extremely loyal following — i.e. diehard fans who line up around the block for hours to be among the first to use each new product.
Those outside of the Apple ecosystem like to poke fun at this blind loyalty, but from iPods to iPhones to iPads, the company has had very few missteps in recent years. Given Apple’s consistent track record, its mobile wallet launch was destined to succeed even before going public.
2. Apple's Mobile Wallet Pregame
Whereas Google Wallet and Square were always available to any merchant who asked, Apple secured commitments from more than 220,000 vendors before launching its own mobile payment technology. Many of these merchants were big-name brands, including Bloomingdale's, McDonald's, Staples and Macy's.
On the user side, Apple’s head start was no less impressive.
The company had more than 800 million credit card accounts already registered in iTunes. Once the iPhone 6 came out, switching to Apple Pay was incredibly easy and familiar. In fact, the company secured more than 1 million subscribers in the first three days alone.
3. Apple Pay Security
Arguably, the biggest advantage that Apple Pay has over other mobile wallets is security — or at least awareness of this security.
Apple Pay isn’t unique in its use of near field communication (NFC) technology, nor is it the only mobile payment solution that uses tokenization. However, very few rivals have done as good a job at educating consumers about the benefits of these two security features — and that’s only the beginning.
Apple introduced a number of new options that weren’t really that new, but again, the company did an outstanding job promoting these extra security features in its campaign to boost consumer and merchant buy-in.
- Find My iPhone — a geo-tracking option that allows users to locate lost or stolen devices.
- Lost Mode — the ability to lock your device remotely if it ever goes missing.
- Manual Authorization — no transaction can begin unless the user deliberately and manually requests a connection with the payment terminal.
- Touch ID — a biometric security feature that requires users to scan their fingerprints to initiate a transaction.
Which Mobile Wallets Should Your Business Accept?
There are countless mobile payment options, with many more on the horizon, but as a merchant, you don't really have to decide which one(s) to accept.
With an NFC-enabled reader and PCI-compliant merchant account, you’ll be able to process the vast majority of mobile wallets — Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal included.