Apple subtly pesters iPhone users to enroll in Apple Pay

“Apple Inc. is nagging iPhone users to enroll in its mobile-payment service with a persistent red circle badge,” Tripp Mickle reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The strategy has worked with some, but is irritating others who say it is heavy-handed and exploits the tech giant’s clout in ways that could disadvantage rivals.”

“The tactic, part of the iPhone’s latest operating software launched last fall, is subtle,” Mickle reports. “Users who opt not to input credit-card information for Apple Pay when setting up their phones now constantly see the red circle over their settings icon, indicating their setup is incomplete. Some users also periodically get notification reminders that go away only once they start the enrollment process.”

“This marks one of the first times Apple has used a red-badge notification to push one of its services that generates revenue. The badges are effective at driving users to take action because people know the red circle means something needs attention, said Bruce Tognazzini, a principal with Nielsen Norman Group, a user-experience consulting firm,” Mickle reports. “‘The real problem is there’s no differentiation between, ‘We want to bring your attention to it because it’s vital,’ and something like this that for some people it’s vital and others it’s not,’ said Mr. Tognazzini.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, many of us haven’t seen this, since we’ve been happily using Apple Pay for years because we value security and ease-of-use. We also exclusively use Apple Pay on our Apple Wqtches, not our iPhones. Regardless, Apple needs to do a better job of educating users who haven’t used Apple Pay why they should enroll. Apple should stop abusing their notifications system to nag users.

26 Comments

    1. You want AppleMiser, which hasn’t been developed yet.

      At checkout Siri will nag, “Do you really need to spend that much? You can save 57 cents with the store brand.”

  1. I tried Apple Pay when it first debuted, it required the same number of steps as using a card, it’s a non-starter for me. These ‘suggestions’ by Apple at system level are obnoxious in the extreme, and as a result of them, I’m not particularly inclined to use it again (nor anything else the system has ‘suggested’. Are younger users really so incompetent that they require this mommy-ing?). Cash remains the quickest form of transaction. I’m pretty tired of the futurist flights of fancy of the early to mid 2000s. The wheel is just fine, thanks, may reinvention and ‘disruption’ die with the decade.

    1. It sounds like either you or the retailer are doing it incorrectly – probably the retailer if you’re in the USA.

      I have used use Apple Pay multiple times per day for ages in the UK and all I do is to take my locked iPhone out of my pocket and lightly hold my finger over the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor while holding it near to the terminal.

      You don’t need to unlock the iPhone or open the Wallet app because the iPhone senses the terminal and automatically opens Wallet, presenting the last card you used. The entire process takes just a second and it beeps and vibrates when the payment has been accepted.

      If I wasn’t using Apple Pay, then I’d be using cash, but Apple Pay is much faster than using notes and coins and usefully stores a list of recent transactions on my iPhone so that I can easily keep track of my expenditure.

    2. software update promptings…”later, tonight, turn on auto-update,” with no option to pass on the update.

      Per Apple Pay, I read an article from a “security expert” who said safety is a concern with Apple’s and Google’s digital pay. The token shared between the devices is very safe, but what happens after that communication can be insecure. How the vendor sets up the transaction post swipe is the variable. This person has some repute, so if true, Apple needs to “certify” an Apple Pay station.

      1. Apple accepts responsibility for fraudulent use via Apple Pay and charges amazing low fees for their service. If there really was a weakness, Apple could be looking at huge liabilities, but I haven’t heard about anything like that happening in the real world. Either way, consumers wouldn’t need to worry.

        As for “experts”. Many people are labelled as such, but their expertise doesn’t always stand up to much scrutiny ( Exhibit “A” … John Dvorak ) and many other “experts” are paid lobbyists who try to keep quiet about how they are working for specific vested interests. We see it happening all the time in the media. If you care to provide a link to that source, we might be able to check that particular person’s independence and track record, but attributing an issue to an anonymous expert without offering the context of what they said is meaningless.

    3. I am pissed that Apple’s pushing this with a fake “incomplete setup” notification, but to paraphrase Steve Jobs, you’re using it wrong (or, the retailer is) if cash is still the quickest form of transaction at a retailer.

      Apple Pay: raise phone to reader, finger/face scan, done (or on Watch, double-click side button, raise to reader, done).

      Normal NFC credit card: raise to reader, done. Skips a verification step, but less secure by definition.

      Regular credit card: insert or slide card, provide signature or PIN.

      Cash: take bills from wallet; cashier must count out and provide change. Or you give exact change, but this is very uncommon and time-consuming if you don’t calculate taxes etc yourself and have to wait for the amount to be rung up first.

      The only way Apple Pay or tap cards take longer than cash at a retailer, is if they force a signature or PIN on a tap. I’ve heard this being used at some US retailers, but it’s almost unheard of in Canada and the rest of the developed world.

      Cash might be a bit faster at sit-down restaurants where the machine is brought to the table, but definitely not at fast-food places and food courts that take tap.

  2. A smarter way to do this would be 1) discounts (cash back incentives or points toward future hardware purchases) for Apple Pay purchases and 2) commercials showing exactly how Apple Pay works, how easy it is and the Apple benefits from Apple Pay (see Item 1). Apple is exhibiting a combination of laziness and arrogance in its Apple Pay product, similar to what we see in iTunes and Apple TV. A determination not to do the very best.

  3. I have used Apple Pay on public transport and in shops in London, i have to say i prefer using my Natwest contact less card. Not keen on using Apple Pay. Many times on buses, i have seen both Apple and Android phones have trouble making the payment, holding up the bus and the user flustered. Since my Natwest card became contact less, i stopped using the oyster card also and just keep it topped up £5 in my wallet for emergency use. Using Apple pay during rush hours in London under ground is uncomfortable for me personally, although i have seen many people have no issues using Apple and Android pay

    1. When I’ve seen people on the tube having difficulty paying with Apple Pay, it generally seems to be that they are pressing the home button ( and of course quitting the Wallet app ) instead of simply resting their finger on the home button so that it can read the fingerprint.

      As most of my cards are now contactless, I don’t need an Oyster card any more, so returned my Oyster card and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did I get a refund for the balance, but also a refund of the deposit which I paid long ago and forgot all about.

      My wife and I often visit London with a child and we need to get a card day ticket for her in order to get the reduced rate for children. Those card tickets are notoriously unreliable and we frequently encounter problems with them. I suspect that any problems might be mostly down to London Transport’s entry terminals.

      1. Ticket offices in many under ground stations have been shut down by Boris Johnson in order to save money, so returning and oyster card like you did and get a refund is not possible anymore like it used too. Any queries with oyster card one has to call a 0845 number and pay for it. Luckily with my Natwest contact less card i had no issues, but i did with oyster card where i had to call the wretched number to get a refund. Those paper travel cards that your wife uses are inefficient and wasteful, but they are left as a backup system if everything else fails. I know tourists, especially at Heathrow airport still use the paper travel cards.

        1. I did it online if I remember right. I don’t think I ever sent it to anybody, it was just made invalid and I got sent the money and then binned it. I wouldn’t have messed about calling a telephone number.

  4. Apple should begin nagging retailers to add Apple Pay to their checkout terminals. Not 1 in 100 accepts Apple Pay. THAT’s what’s annoying to me. And, instead of nagging them, give them a year’s worth of incentive to add it. You catch more flies using honey than vinegar.

    1. That’s down to where you live. In the US, payment terminals are somewhat behind the rest of the world. It always comes as a bit of a surprise when I visit the USA and have to sign pieces of paper when using PIN verification. I never get asked to do that anywhere in Europe.

      Here in the UK, Apple Pay is almost universally accepted because nearly all payment terminals accept contactless payment and therefore Apple Pay – even if the till operator doesn’t think that it will work because they’ve never seen it used before.

      If I see the contactles symbol on the terminal and a retailer says that it won’t work on an iPhone, I ask them just to indulge me for a moment and try it, whereupon it usually works perfectly.

  5. Apple marketing has crossed the line into Customer Abuse IMHO. Here are my examples:

    1) Shove SHOVE SHOVING Mac users, wisely avoiding macOS 10.13 High Sierra, with weekly FORCED notifications to ‘upgrade’ to High Sierra. We are forced let the damned notification boot us over to the Mac App Store where High Sierra is SHOVED in our face. ‘EAT THE DOG FOOD! DAMMIT!’ No, thank you. – – I QUIT the App Store app instead. No High Sierra for me, and I like it that way.

    2) Apple now has a campaign to shove SHOVE SHOVE customers off PayPal as their payment method at the iTunes Store. (Note that this is my personal interpretation of the outright hell I was forced to go through in order to maintain PayPal as my payment method). The nasty change in Apple’s Account interface outright refused to allow my using PayPal. Apple’s Accounts Support was utterly ignorant of the problem and inexplicably attempted to pass me over to tech support. It’s not a tech support problem! It’s a deliberate Accounts interface change problem! Happily, I’m used my out-think-the-geek skills to work around the change by killing my account payment setting entirely then starting from scratch, avoiding Apple’s insistence that I use a charge card.

    I hate customer abuse. I rant about customer abuse in order that its perpetrators get burned for their bad attitude. That’s as it should be.

  6. In the small city that I live in, I am now using Apple Pay almost everywhere. I started in early 2015 with a couple of places and has spread that much now. Why are some so resistant to this. Apple Pay is the most important product release since the iPhone. And even more delightful to use. People don’t know what they want. Who else said something like that? Stop resisting.

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