Why Apple Pay’s Slow Start Doesn’t Mean It’s a Failure

applepay

From my opinion piece in MIT Technology Review:

A year after Apple Pay was announced, the mobile wallet built into the iPhone doesn’t look as if it will “forever change the way all of us buy things,” as Apple CEO Tim Cook said it would.

Only 13 percent of people with phones that can use Apple Pay have tried it, according to a June survey by consumer research firm InfoScout and the payments industry site PYMNTS.com. The survey also found that only a third of iPhone 6 consumers who were in a store that takes Apple Pay actually used it, down from almost half three months earlier. On top of that, Apple Pay still accounts for only 1 percent of physical store transactions in the U.S.—a “microscopic” amount, says David S. Evans, founder of payments consultant Market Platform Dynamics.

What happened?

Exactly what we should have expected, actually. It was never a secret to those close to the payments and retail businesses that usage of Apple Pay would be slow to build. … But it’s too early to write the post-mortem on Apple Pay. In the space of a year, Apple has managed to make more headway than any other mobile wallet contender has to date. And several developments suggest that in the next couple of years, Tim Cook might be proved right after all. …

Read the rest of the piece.

This Man’s Betting On The Technology Behind Apple Pay – And Even He Says It’s Years Away From Wide Adoption

Osama Bedier, founder and CEO of Poynt

Osama Bedier, founder and CEO of Poynt

From my Forbes blog:

When Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled Apple Pay in September, he predicted that it would “forever change the way all of us buy things.” As I wrote in a recent post, while he ultimately might be proven right, Apple’s mobile wallet is likely to take years to catch on widely.

Although that assessment is nearly universally accepted among people who actually know how payments work, I got a lot of pushback on that from Apple fanatics as well as at least one Forbes contributor.

So I decided to ask someone who has bet at least partly on Apple Pay’s eventual success: Osama Bedier, a former vice president at both PayPal and Google, where he headed the search giant’s mobile wallet effort. Bedier is now founder and CEO of Poynt, which just announced plans to build a slick-looking smart point-of-sale terminal that can take most existing forms of payment–including those facilitated by Near Field Communication, the method used in both Apple Pay and Google Wallet to send data from a smartphone to the register. Suffice to say, when it comes to payments, Bedier not only knows what he’s talking about, he’s pretty agnostic about the many competing mobile payment methods.

His take? To start with the positive, he says Apple’s timing looks good–not a surprising take, since Bedier’s making the same bet that the timing is right. “Apple is good at jumping on bandwagons they think could take off,” he says. That’s in contrast, he notes, to Google, which “gets infatuated with technology”–though he also says that Google Wallet helped kickstart a move by tens of thousands of retail outlets to install NFC-capable readers.

Still, Bedier says, Apple Pay “isn’t going to happen next year. It’s going to take four years before it happens everywhere.” What’s more, Apple Pay works only on iPhones (and eventually Apple Watches), and that’s unlikely to change soon, so Apple Pay won’t be a standard except for iPhones. …

Read the rest of the story.