We’ve seen it in the movies, we’ve read about it in books, but paying for items with just a tap of your phone is now a real and viable option in modern day times. The world of NFC (Near Field Communication) is rapidly expanding and changing with each year, and now another floor has been added to the growing tower block, in the form of the Apple’s latest feature: Apple Pay.
Following in the footsteps of Google Wallet and PayPal, Apple Pay will be available on the new iPhone 6 next month and eventually the Apple Watch. NFC is not exactly a brand new and innovative feature, but the fact that it’s now accessible on such a popular platform as the iPhone 6, is bound to be a game-changer in shops, supermarkets and bars around the world.
For the uninitiated, NFC works by sending encrypted radio signals with payment data and is widely believed to be even safer than using a conventional credit card. The reason is because your credit card number isn’t stored or shared with vendors, so to combat phone hacking, a one-time transaction and CVV code is created and approved by the bank for every purchase you make. And should your phone be stolen, it’s simple enough to delete your own information from a remote source. In an additional layer of security, Apple Pay also requires a fingerprint scan for its Touch ID feature.
Set to be released in early 2015, the news of the Apple Watch’s impeding arrival saw traditional watch makers such as Swatch, Fossil and Movado take a small tumble in the European and US stock markets. A scene that could well happen to wallet manufacturers too, as Apple boldly states: ‘Gone are the days of searching for your wallet. The wasted moments finding the right card. The swiping and waiting. Now payments happen with a single touch.’
Safety in Numbers
Despite the upgrades of security and the likelihood of a boom with new users of the Apple Pay, there may still remain a slew of people who have some trepidation or dislike of using credit cards online. Thankfully for those users, companies such as paysafecard exist to appease and also quell any fears. Using a different method of online payment from the likes of Apple, Google and PayPal, this particular option is becoming a mainstay for online and browser-based gaming and web hosting sites. The public can purchase a pre-paid card at a variety of gas stations or supermarkets and then use the given code to purchase items or upgrades online. Smartphone apps can also help detect nearby sales outlets by determining your location.
With credit card readers making a tiny but mostly ignored splash in the online payment ocean, Apple Pay already has an upper hand with their sizeable market share and clearing away the need to input PIN codes. The simple technique to scan your finger and then tap the terminal should have mass appeal in the not too distant future. With phones now containing a virtual wallet, watch, mp3 player, camera and map, what will be the next physical item we no longer need to carry?