It’s funny you know. There are many highly intelligent people who run businesses and corporations but give them an iPhone and their brains seem to turn to goo. Apple are making a payments system! Quick, we MUST get on board! Everyone will WANT IT!
Despite the fact that Apple’s market share is nowhere near over 50% anywhere at all. Even in the UK and US, the biggest iSuckers according to Kantar, it stands at only 32% and 30% respectively, hardly ‘everyone’. Elsewhere you’ll be hard pushed to find iOS making any sort of inroads – Germany has a mere 15% iPhonian infection, for example.
But Apple have convinced their users that they are the owners of the ONLY smartphone on the planet so when THEY make a payment system the banks leap on board, with impressive consequences. Payment terminals are installed, systems changed, all at the cost of millions and sycophantic commercials are aired at prime time (because EVERYONE has an iPhone, don’t they?) like this one, one of many currently being aired by UK banks over here:
Ah… those iPhonians. Always willing to help but she couldn’t stop because she had to dash home because she was out for an hour and obviously needed to plug it in.
The problem with all this is that Apple Pay is, compared to the good old debit/credit card, actually a really stupid idea. A fact borne out by the statistics recently released by the Payments and Commerce site PYMNTS.COM. They point out that when Apple Pay was first announced last year that banks got very excited:
‘We found out that issuers were so giddy over being a part of this that they agreed to hand over a piece of their interchange fees (to Apple)’
Because this is what happened next:
‘In March, survey data indicated that 15.1 percent of eligible Apple Pay users had tried the service – when surveyed in June 2015 that had fallen to 13.1 percent.’
So, by June only 13% of iPhonians had ever tried it. Just the once. iPhonian sites have tried to brush this off as a statistical anomaly. That this is due to the HUGE numbers of iPhone 6’s sold. But here’s the killer…
‘In March, 48 percent of iPhone 6 consumers in a store where they could use Apple Pay did. In June, that number had dropped to 33 percent.’
So, from half to a third in 3 months.
Why? Well, Karen Webster, PYMNTS.com CEO hit the nail on the head:
“Paying for something at a counter in a store isn’t broken – Apple Pay was ‘fixing’ a pain point that doesn’t exist for consumers,” Webster said.
Exactly! In fact Apple Pay makes it worse!
If you read the Apple Support page on how this thing works it all makes perfect sense if you are a bit of a geek. For the rest of the world, frankly, not so much. First you have to go through the 5 step process to set it up. Looks simple enough but can I really be bothered? Ok, I can. Here we go then, off to the store… so I have to hold my iPhone within an inch (or 2.5 cm) of the contactless reader with my finger held on Touch ID without pressing it. So on it but don’t press it, yes?
Ahhh.. you mean like when the scanner fails to read my fingerprint 2 or 3 times before I manage to unlock my iPhone, don’t you? So I look like a complete tool at the till waving my phone about! Clever!
Or, even better, I could get my £700 – £1000 iPhone out on the Underground/Subway and wave it around, embarrass myself because I’m holding everyone else up and simply wait for a thief to take out of my hand!
Or, here’s a thought… I could simply tap my bank card on the reader and it works. Maybe even keep it in a little wallet so no one knows what it is.
It’s a very shiny but very stupid idea.
A bit like Apple themselves.