Trial and Error- A Shaky Launch for Apple Pay
Could it be that Apple is punishing HSBC for its accidental tweet announcing the launch of Apple Pay UK?
Apple Pay has launched, to the chagrin of many excited users who were lining up to use it and were not able to. Most notably HSBC customers. Anna Milne writes
It is not in the usual Apple style to not have a flawless launch of anything- sketchy, unreliable user experience is not what it flogs. However, it would appear not all UK banks signed up for the service are yet ready to accept payments in the new Apple Pay way, which involves issuing an individual account number per card that is registered to use the service.
Confusion of this kind is a very bad look for Apple indeed, when one of the hurdles of consumer adoption is the very fact that people just get annoyed by the myriad different payment options available- what’s accepted where, what do they have to do. It’s enough to drive people back to cash.
Certainly, it throws light on the likes of Zapp’s offering, which is simply an add-on to the user’s online banking app. The only argument against this is it would seem there are quite a number of screens to tap through before payment is made. And how do you reconcile this fact with the notion that any new technology needs to make a process easier and faster? Otherwise what is the point?
Apple Pay UK’s launch needed to assure customers this is a better way- better for them, better for modern life, not serve to confirm the naysayers’ doubts. If consumers are faced with complications at the first hurdle, they may be very quick to drop it altogether- no matter who is at fault.
Regardless of NFC, which does not pose a faster or simpler version of contactless than our very own contactless cards, Apple will likely try and pursue in-app purchases/m-commerce and, in time e-commerce. For the record, does m-commerce not come under e-commerce and do in-app purchases not come under m-commerce? Suddenly, the differentiation of these services is rather crucial. And yet we do not have a ubiquitous industry standard definition- or at least, the definitions overlap, causing confusion.
There is a more advanced in-app process in the US than in the UK. A number of businesses are very keen to have in-app functionality. Ultimately the consumer will be the determinant; however, as retailers become more attuned to mobile and tablet payments and tailor their services for the omni-channel market then the in-app process will become more and more important.
Apple keeps very quiet about future ambitions but it is likely it will permeate this space. And in the meantime, to differentiate in the NFC face-to-face payment space, expect to see some loyalty programmes being marketed sharpish, to give it the edge over those good old plastic cards.