The War Over Apple Pay
There has been a lot of hype surrounding Apple’s new Apple Pay system, with most big-name retailers eagerly adopting its mobile payment platform. However, a few giants in retail—like Wal-Mart and CVS— are resisting the digital diaspora for a variety of reasons, creating tension in the marketplace that is only increasingly exacerbated as the holidays inch closer. But before you take sides, consider the concerns on both ends.
Whenever you swipe your card, your information is stored in the company’s financial records, which are used for analytical purposes on multiple levels—including monitoring sales during a particular time frame and tracking purchasing habits for marketing purposes. One of the complaints against Apple Pay is that it gives Apple sole ownership over valuable consumer data. The biggest alternative payment system, “CurrentC,” would enable companies to keep this data and use this information unhindered.
Although it had relatively minor consequences, CurrentC was hacked in late October, which exposed several user email addresses as a result. Although Apple Pay generally has good reviews from security experts, it has also been criticized for the security costs that come with its decision to heavily trust third-party app developers. Like all security systems, neither is entirely foolproof, so a cost-benefit analysis is essential.
Unlike Apple Pay, CurrentC allows retailers to cut out interchange fees, which are fees that credit card companies impose on retailers when a shopper makes a purchase. Although this might appeal to retailers, it doesn’t offer a clear benefit to customers. However, since Apple Pay is currently only accessible from the new iPhone 6, it could potentially have an indirect cost disincentive.