Ahead of New IPhone Announcement, More Bad News for Apple Pay

  • Philip Ryan
  • March 21, 2016
  • 0

 Credit / Attribution - Print © Can Stock Photo Inc. / creatistaThe pain associated with EMV transactions — slowness, grouchy salespeople, confused customers in the line ahead of you — was supposed to be a good thing for mobile payments.

It hasn’t turned out that way. While first time usage of Apple Pay is up, repeat usage is down, according to research done by PYMNTS.com and InfoScout.

Why is repeat usage of Apple Pay down? The number one reason is that users simply forgot and reached for their (slow, annoying EMV) cards instead

Apple is announcing a new version of the iPhone today. Those events are usually occasions for fans to sing Apple’s praises, but Apple Pay news is also rumored for today, and in that arena, there appears to be little to cheer about.

Meanwhile, comfort with card-based EMV transactions is growing steadily, and another mobile player, Samsung Pay, is also seeing better repeat usage than Apple Pay, perhaps because it works at more locations.

The problem with Apple Pay, writes Katherine Boehret in The Verge, is the same as what plagues Siri, Apple’s voice-based virtual assistant. If it doesn’t work, users quickly grow disenchanted. Boehret chronicled a list of anecdotal Apple Pay fails a year and a half after launch: McDonald’s, Pret a Manger, New York City cabs. And these issues may not be Apple’s fault. Merchants may have faulty or outdated equipment, salespeople may not be properly trained, and so on.

But in payments, it doesn’t matter. Ubiquity and reliability rule. Pay Finders founder Brian Roemmele predicted an increase in usage of his app today, related to some Apple Pay news:

We’ll see. Apple does itself few favors by persisting in releasing basic models of phones with just 16 GB of memory, which means users of those phones quickly run out of space for additional apps. A company capable of such a self-defeating policy hardly seems capable of cracking the mobile payments riddle.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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