You have probably heard that Apple is planning to launch Apple Pay via a partnership with American Express in various countries outside of the US, including Australia in 2016.
I know you are probably thinking, why American Express, don’t like 10 people in Australia own an Amex card? Yes, you are correct. The reason Apple went with Amex is because no other provider or bank outside of the US wanted to give up their card fees.
On the surface it might seem cool, but then you snap out of your Apple hardware aluminium poisoning daze and realise that most retailers in Australia have tap-and-go payments already. Is being able to pay using your iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad really much of advantage? How about just not being lazy and using a card instead?
The big banks; ANZ, Nab, Commonwealth and heck even ING all offer cards with a NFC chip that allows you to use paypass at various retailers like Woolworths, Coles and even McDonald’s. Contactless payment technology is not a new thing here in Australia.
What happens when your iPhone 6 with low battery life goes flat or your Apple Watch with a few hours of battery life goes flat and you can’t even use Apple Pay? The old card comes back out to play, which conveniently does not have a battery.
After being in the US for quite some time last year, I can see how Apple Pay would be better received over there. Hardly anywhere accepts contactless payments, tap-and-go is a concept that is relatively non-existent in the USA. Considering we are in 2015 and tonnes of countries are adopting this technology, I find that a little weird.
It’s like being in the stone age, Frank invents the wheel and then shortly after Apple comes along and says, “Hey everyone, we are bringing out a wheel. It only works on these types of roads and you have to use our foot-pedalled powered rock cars, but rest assured it is safer and the future of pedal cars.”
Another problem plaguing this announcement is American Express notoriously have very high processing fees. I couldn’t count the number of times I have seen places either charging high transaction percentage fees or just outright refusing to accept American Express cards.
Obviously Apple was not competitive enough when it came to negotiating with Australian banks. Perhaps Apple were offering too little or maybe the banks were asking for too much.
Either way, without the support of Australian banks, Apple have all but ensured that Apple Pay is nothing more than a social experiment in failure. An expensive tax write-off come end of financial year 2016.
Apple fanboys and girls are probably frothing at the mouth over this announcement as we speak. Heck, American Express might get some new customers out of this.
Unless you’re the type of person who camps in a long line outside of the Apple store every time they release a new product, then you probably are not all that phased.