After a month or so of using Apple Pay with my Apple Watch I am astounded by the general ignorance of retailers. I would say that in probably 80 percent of cases when I ask if they accept Apple Pay the answer is a firm no. But experience tells me that any swipe terminal can also accommodate the Apple Watch (and, I have no doubt, the iPhone). So far I have never been disappointed when presenting the Watch to the card reader. Retailers are usually amazed and want to know how it works. Every time I tell them that the next customer who asks about Apple Pay should be answered with a firm yes.
Using a device such as an smartphone or (better still) a smartwatch is so much more convenient than having to get out a credit card. It’s also safer in most respects. I now carry just two cards, a cashpoint debit and a standard, non-swipe credit card for larger transactions. Everything else goes through the wristwatch. This has two immediate consequences.
Firstly, as I mentioned, the cards stay safely in the wallet more of the time and secondly, I am using far less cash than I did. A few pounds drawn from the cash machine now seems to last for weeks. I have joined the band of people who will happily pay for a coffee electronically, simply because it is even easier than handing over a fiver and counting the change. I used to fulminate against credit-card coffee buyers because of the delay while the card was inserted in the machine and the PIN number entered. Now it’s quick and easy, even faster than using cash.
Secreting your credit card electronically inside your phone or watch is so much safer than carrying it in your pocket or wallet. Even if you lose the card or find it compromised, the hassle of waiting for a replacement is banished. Your Apple Watch will be updated automatically by the card issuer. You can simply carry on using it without needing to make any adjustments or rescan the new card.
What we are seeing now is a revolution in the acceptance of electronic payments instead of cash. In five years, I am sure, electronic transactions will be the norm rather than the exception. In general, it’s a good thing as I outlined in a recent article. It is safer all round and simply more convenient.