Apple’s Apple Pay plans reach far beyond what we know today. Apple will expand in multiple directions as it attempts to boost adoption of its service. Apple claims it is adding one million Apple Pay users per week, while Juniper Research says 148 million global consumers will uses contactless services like Apple Pay this year.
Apple is pushing – hard – to introduce the service in more territories (particularly in Europe and Asia). “We’re working rapidly in Asia and also in Europe, our goal is to have Apple Pay in every significant market Apple is in,” Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay, recently told TechCrunch. Apple’s recent launch in China will be seen as especially significant and India is also a key market, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, recently disclosed. Beyond the (inevitable) soon introduction of Apple Pay for online payments (and the potential then for in-app payments, enabling, for example, secure online shopping via an Apple TV), there are many other key opportunities the company can explore.
Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report last week looked closely at mobile payment services. Page 105 noted that messaging services like WeChat, and social networks like Facebook and Instagram are growing popular payment services, particularly in the APAC, where WeChat is already more popular than some debit cards. Alibaba’s AliPay generated over $1 trillion in payments in 2015. This integration between messaging and payment services makes it an utter no-brainer to predict Apple Pay support for payments through Messages is on the way. A classic OTT move into traditional carrier markets. This is of wider strategic consequence, given the move dovetails so well with Apple’s recent Didi investment and Apple Car plans. The Wall Street Journal confirmed these plans last year and an Apple patent shows its potential as a Messages feature.
Banks are developing cash machines with NFC support. I imagine these will demand both a biometric element and passcode in order to protect against theft, but one day you will inevitably be able to withdraw cash from any ATM anywhere just by waggling your Apple Watch above the machine.
Operator billing is popular in some countries. It’s a system in which your carrier allows you to pay bills and services via your mobile phone, recouping costs from your bill. Such services are highly popular in developing economies where smartphone users may lack conventional bank accounts. Apple Pay may in future offer something similar,: “In India, that is something we are looking at. Operator billing is something, we don’t need in the US. But in India it is something the customer would want and help us move faster,” Cook recently said. Apple Pay may help support emerging economies.
There’s huge potential for Apple Pay and Wallet in retail. Forrester recently found 57% of US online adult smartphone users are interested in access to loyalty schemes and rewards within mobile wallets, prompting this interesting article from Veeio VP, Gillian Hughes. Apple Pay will soon offer:
- Loyalty and discount schemes (Apple has a patent for this).
- To replace under-utilized retail apps
- To help deliver personalized shopping “experiences”
You should be able to use Apple Pay to purchase things in shops, but you should also see those transactions automatically added to your existing loyalty schemes, and receive deals and coupons personalized to you as you enter the shop. I do think we may have to wait for retailers to come round to ceding control of their apps (EasyJet recently did just that).
Finally Apple Pay may work with Apple’s developing AI solutions (eg. Proactive). In this model your device would learn your habits and proactively suggest things it knows fit those habits, such as pre-reserving a favorite restaurant at a specific time, or calling up your Apple Car ride-sharing scheme.
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