To grow into a potentially flat market, Apple has improved its payment service products with the live launch of Tap to Pay and the introduction of a new virtual “Apple Account Card” in its Wallet app.
Tap to pay Apple retail hits in the US
Apple’s recently announced tap-to-pay feature allows merchants to use their iPhones to accept payments from products or services using Apple Pay, including credit cards or digital wallets. No dongle is required, as the feature uses third-party merchant services such as the device’s built-in NFC chip and stripe.
The service is not yet fully live, but is being built Available across Apple retail. Its launch is a powerful step forward and will logically be a big incentive for small and medium-sized retailers across the United States who can now expect to use payment services alongside third-party facilitators like Stripe with their Apple devices.
Together with Apple’s Business Essential Services, the company now has a great offer for SMBs – device management / integration services (and support) for maintaining the powerful devices of their choice, easy-to-install payment services, and devices used in stores.
One critic might argue that these two services would do more good for business than any Facebook ad, but a critic might not.
What about Apple account cards?
The jury is outside the Apple account card. Now available in the US Wallet, the virtual card displays a credit balance that can be linked to your Apple ID.
If you’ve received an App Store or Apple Store gift card, the balance added to your Apple ID will now appear in your Apple Account Card wallet. You can then use that balance to make in-app purchases. As long as you are in the US and running iOS 15.5 or above you will be able to ‘Add Apple Account’ in Wallet.
Making sure all your money is available in the wallet means that this new way of accessing Apple ID-related funds is logical. What is not known (yet) is that Apple plans to combine Apple Pay Cash, Apple Card and the “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) feature with any expected move in the market.
Endless speculation has claimed this year that Apple wants to move to BNPL services. However, any such plan could be set aside in response to the current global economic uncertainty, which is forcing small players to restructure their businesses.
Their restructuring, however, could translate into an opportunity for a well-heeled Apple, whose brand would help overcome consumer resistance to such services.
Combined with BNPL, Apple Account Card, Apple Card, and Tap to Pay, the company will then offer an end-to-end set of complementary solutions that put Apple at the center of the customer journey across U.S. retailers. This possibility certainly exists, and Apple Business Manager (and still a clear increase in sales of Apple products in every segment of the enterprise) will again provide an attractive basis for small retailers looking for simple tools to manage this growing Apple ecosystem.
So far, Apple seems to have adopted a US-centric approach to all of these services. Account Cards, Apple Cards and Apple Pay Cash are not yet available in Europe or elsewhere, for example. Interestingly, Apple Business Manager is still not signing up for non-US businesses. And while we’ve heard speculation that the company may be offering more paid services in Europe, those rumors have yet to materialize.
What has become a reality is that Apple has successfully persuaded US consumers (and retailers) to accept mobile payment services. The company faced some resistance when it first launched Apple Pay, but it now accounts for 92% of the two billion US mobile wallet transactions made by 2020. There are also more than 6 million Apple Card users in the United States
Earlier this week, we took a look at Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs, looking at the street in front of Apple:
“Things happen fairly slowly, you know. They do. These waves of technology, you have to see them before they happen and you have to choose wisely which one you are going to surf.”
With all of the above in mind, in the case of payment services, at least, Apple is making a strong bid to become a ubiquitous presence across the U.S. retail industry – and may follow other markets as the company expands its services business.
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