With Apple Pay breakthrough, everybody wins

“Apple Pay, the new phone-payment system unveiled by Apple Inc. two weeks ago, is a big leap forward,” David Weidner reports for MarketWatch.

“An 18-month-old digital-rewards system called Thanx is set to announce today that it has reached an agreement with MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. to access card data for the purpose of rewards programs. Simply put, Thanx will allow retailers to gather data, with the consumer’s permission, for the purpose of marketing, promotions and rewards programs,” Weidner reports. “Thanx operates outside of Apple Pay. That means it can be used with a card swipe, with a Google Wallet payment or other forms of payment as long as the store has one of those readers that you aim your phone at.”

“Countless variations of smart cards — the ones with that little computer chip in them — have launched and failed. That’s been a huge source of disappointment and lost revenue in the financial-services arena. But the smart-card effort failed for mostly the same reason: because the ease-of-use equation hasn’t been eliminated,” Weidner reports. “‘Apple Pay has put a premium on effortlessness,’ said Thanx founder and Chief Executive Zach Goldstein. ‘That’s a turning point.'”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. The title of this piece is promising, but misleading. This is practically a press release from Thanx – which is hopeful of providing loyalty-card type information to smaller merchants. It mentions Apple Pay, Google Wallet and MCX – but without describing how Thanx will work with them.

    1. Hey, you can read! That puts you a step above everybody else here who just came to be cheerleaders.

      This has absolutely nothing to do with ApplePay.. it’s a rewards system for merchants that tracks your data from the credit card company instead of at the merchant’s own terminal. This will cost the merchant more than it would to run their own program, so they won’t bother unless tokenized payments really start to eat into their tracking. In order of preference, the merchants want:

      A) cash, track customers, give no reward (e.g., ask for your phone number)
      B) credit, track customers, give no reward (track using your credit card info)
      C) cash/credit, track customers with reward (a “loyalty” program)
      D) credit, track customers through a 3rd-party (e.g., Thankx)
      E) credit, no tracking (tokenized transactions w/ no loyalty)

      A is dead, B is under siege by Apple. C is the next best thing, so the easiest route seems like it would be to propose linking your loyalty program to your credit card in the NFC system. If you’re a loyalty member, when you pay, they track you. If you’re not, they don’t.

    1. I believe Google will implement tokenization, which is a good security move. However, they’re still stuck at the authentication step. They don’t have Apple’s Touch ID, so it’s not really an  Pay alternative.

      1. Doesn’t need to be an Apple Pay alternative. It only has to be its own NFC payment system for its own users.

        Apple diehards are the only ones who see Android as an inferior copy of iOS. Everyone else sees it as just another product … akin to Ford versus Chevrolet, Levi vs. Wrangler or Coca-Cola versus Pepsi. For goodness sakes, plenty of people own BOTH iPhone and Android devices. (And most Android loyalists own Macs by the way. That is the funny thing … the Android die hards hate Windows as much as you do.)

        Bottom line: if the other (alleged) benefits to owning an iPhone over an LG G3 or HTC One M8 didn’t cause Android owners to abandon their devices en masse, Apple Pay won’t.

        And yes, Android 5.1 will see vast improvements to Google Wallet, which Google hasn’t touched since 2012.

    2. IF Google were to successfully copy Apple here, and that’s a big IF, then it would mean wider acceptance of NFC payments making Apple Pay also more universally accepted. I’d rather see that happen.

  2. Also, I’ve never used “smart card” tap-and-go, but it doesn’t seem like ApplePay is actually any *simpler* than that.

    They can say more secure, but simpler seems like marketing.

    1. What’s simpler than holding your iPhone near the terminal and placing your thumb on the home button? The WSJ continues to get it wrong. They keep saying that you tap the terminal with your iPhone, completely ignoring the fact that nobody can use your iPhone for this purpose but its owner. This avoids having to enter a PIN or worry about losing your card or phone. An NFC enabled card can be used by anybody. With an iPhone I don’t even have to carry a credit card. That’s convenience and security.

      1. Q: What’s simpler than holding your phone near the terminal and placing your thumb on the home button?

        A: Holding your card near the phone and not placing your thumb on anything.

        Security is one thing, simplicity is another.

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