Apple Pay adoption 'amazing,' says POS chief

'Consumers are open to using their phones for more than they could have imagined because of Apple,' says POS chief.

“We’re seeing mass adoption because the Apple brand is well-known and trusted. Consumers are open to using their phones for more than they could have imagined because of Apple,” Revel Systems co-founder and CTO Christopher Ciabarra told Computerworld’s Appleholic blog.

Get familiar

Apple’s move to offer mobile payments with Apple Pay has blasted energy into the space. Founded in 2010, Revel Systems develops an award-winning iPad point-of-sale (POS) solution for single and multi-location businesses such as restaurants, retailers and grocery stores. Apple Pay is Apple’s Touch ID-protected mobile payments system.

"The mobile payment industry is long overdue for innovation, and Apple is leading the way with Apple Pay -- we're thrilled with the endless possibilities it will bring to the point-of-sale space,” Ciabarra said when Revel launched its Apple Pay integration last year.

Ciabarras expectations for Apple Watch as a payment device are also high.The Apple Watch is coming at a great time,” he said. Familiarity with Apple pay combined with the Watch means shoppers will enjoy “an incredibly convenient purchasing process, in which they won’t have to dig through their pockets or purses to find a wallet or smartphone,” he points out.

Harris Interactive notes that 10 percent of smartphone users check their phones every 10 minutes. Ciabarra sees this as an “intimate relationship.

“People don’t have that same kind of connection to their wallets,” he said. "They help you pay for something -- but they don’t connect you with other people or the world.”


He believes this emotional relationship between shoppers and their phones means mobile payments will eventually become the norm, as people become accustomed to these services.

“Apple Pay adoption so far has been amazing,” he said. “Revel Systems, for example, was the first point-of-sale platform to accept it. Looking forward, we should see a considerable increase in the number of mobile payments.”

Despite widely reported teething problems, Apple has set new ground:

“By reimaging the phone as a miniature computer in our pockets, Apple opened up the door to mobile payments. They expanded the definition of a phone from something you use to call people, to a device that’s an extension of yourself -- a device that can do everything from text your significant other to order dinner to pay for services. In addition to creating the first truly smartphone, which paved the way for mobile payments.

“In five years’ time, mobile payments will become nearly as common as the debit card or credit cards,” he said.

Ciabarra rejects claims that Apple Pay is insecure, saying, “it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the leading form of payment,” replacing credit and debit cards. “Banks will continue to improve their security as they adjust to this new form of payment."

To protect themselves, consumers should activate text message alerts for charges over $50 and should also password-protect their devices.

Retailers also take steps to protect customer security, such as avoiding storing credit card information in the front-end of the POS, using encryption and tokenization across the process and never putting credit card information in the cloud.

The digital customer experience also seems likely to change as retailers work with mobile technologies to gamify the process.

“Retailers [will be able to] gamify shopping experiences for consumers by offering reward programs, sending special coupons and deals through the app,” he suggested. “Just as wearables have helped gamify fitness, we see a huge trend in the gamification of payments."

Apple Pay is now accepted at over 700,000 locations across the US. The service is set for international extension as new territories are announced later this year.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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