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Apple Pay Ireland: What You Need to Know

Apple Pay comes to Ireland as a new contactless payment solution. We explore the pros and cons, competitors, and what it means for Irish customers.

Apple Pay Ireland: What You Need to Know

Apple Pay, Apple’s recently developed mobile payment system, has grown worldwide at an impressive rate over the last several years. March 2017 marked the first time Irish consumers were able to use Apple Pay, but this late entry hasn’t appeared to affect growth. Since its introduction into Irish markets, Apple Pay has joined other forms of contactless payments in a rise to the top for Irish consumers.

The Rise in Contactless Payments

Contactless payments are hardly a new development. Payment tech companies and credit bureaus have been trying to gain traction with cards that consumers can simply wave in front of a sensor for years, and the idea has seen moderate success in Ireland, albeit only for small purchases.

Visa Europe reports that since the payment maximum on contactless payments was changed from €15 to €30, use of contactless payment technologies in Ireland doubled, a development long before Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other mobile payment methods were introduced to the country.

Contactless Payments Apple Pay

Mobile Wallets Attempt to Change the Game

In theory, mobile wallets were supposed to capture the market by storm, but in practice, the transition hasn’t been so easy. Early versions of mobile payment technology had major issues with convenience and security, culminating in a lack of popularity among initial users.

In fact, when Apple Pay was announced, Apple CEO Tim Cook estimated that only 2.7 percent of worldwide retailers that accepted credit cards had the technology to accept payments from mobile wallets. With the product’s launch, however, that all changed.

What is Apple Pay and How Does it Work?

Apple Pay was introduced as a way to make contactless mobile wallet payments safer and more secure – a must-have in an era in which security breaches are becoming more and more common. Compatible with the iPhone models starting with the 6 and 6S as well as the iPad Air 2, the iPad Mini 3, and the Apple Watch, Apple Pay is slowly but steadily growing in popularity as users update to new models of Apple electronics.

To use Apple Pay, consumers simply open the Wallet App (formerly called Passbook) and load a credit or debit card from a participating bank. When it comes time to make a purchase, the user holds their phone up to small hub at a retailer’s POS area, places their finger on the fingerprint sensor (the home button of their Apple device) for verification, and waits for the payment to go through.

In-App Payments Apple Pay

Consumers can also use Apple Pay within apps or within websites when they see it as a payment option. Trainline, an online seller of train tickets for train services in Europe have seen Apple Pay users buy 20% more mobile tickets through their app since the introduction of this in-app payment feature.

The Benefits of Using Apple Pay

Apple Pay has a lot of benefits for Irish consumers, providing an easy, effective way to make payments and speed up the process at the checkout, in-store or online.

Secure with Less Risk

Apple boasts that Apple Pay is more secure than any prior mobile wallets or contactless payment methods, and they may be right.

First, Apple Pay doesn’t involve the transfer of any actual credit card information when a consumer makes a purchase, so a breach at a retailer poses less of a threat to Apple Pay users.

Second, rather than using a wide transmission, Apple Pay uses what it calls a Narrow Field Communication that limits how far your information is transmitted. This controls who has access to the transmission frequency containing your payment information.

In case of theft, consumers don’t have to cancel their cards when they lose their device like they do with standard credit cards. Simply going into the “Find My iPhone” system and reporting their device as lost will cancel Apple Pay indefinitely.

Simple and Convenient

Apple Pay is by far the easiest form of mobile wallet or contactless payment software, and not only because over half of Irish smartphone users have Apple products but Apple Pay, unlike many of its predecessors, doesn’t require logging into an app or any other hassles at the time of payment. Users simply pull out their phones, open their wallet by double clicking the home button while on the lock screen, and pay with a tap.

When you’re within an app or within a website that supports Apple Pay you can also pay within seconds without having to input your credit card details.

Increased Personal Privacy

Apple claims that it will not track your purchases or shopping history, offering an added layer of privacy for mobile users. With no such promises from some competitors, this gives Apple an easy leg up.

Irish Banks are Coming Onboard

So far, only KBC and Ulster Bank in Ireland are offering Apple Pay partner service with their credit and debit cards, but a mobile banking system called boon has joined the fray. Boon works by allowing users to transfer money from their bank account or credit cards and pay out through a third-party debit card using Apple Pay, making it easier for all Irish iPhone users to get started, regardless of banking institution.

After going online in March 2017, Apple projected that several other major Irish banks would join the market to partner with it, although the jury is still out on the speed with which this may occur.

What About Apple Pay’s Competitors?

Consumers can only use Apple Pay if they have a device such as an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch, which leaves a lot of room in the market for competitors. Android Pay (formerly Google Wallet) is the most prominent, running on many newer Android phones. Other competitors include Samsung Pay and the old method of simply swiping your card over a digital card reader for comparatively small purchases.

It’s introduction to Irish consumers signals a shift in momentum towards a new age of more secure, simpler, and more efficient payment technology. As consumers show continued interest in a better way to make purchases, the tech companies are stepping up. With the rise of mobile payments in Irish markets, and Apple Pay in particular, we are seeing the future of shopping.

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