Apple Pay is magic – except in the U.S.

M.G. Siegler for 500ish:

Sometimes I feel like in the U.S. it’s hard to recognize just how profound of an experience Apple Pay is, as a consumer. That’s because while the numbers suggest a fairly high level of retail penetration, and usage seems to be increasing nicely, it’s not ubiquitous. To fully understand the magic of Apple Pay, you have to go to a country where it is truly everywhere.

Over the summer, my family spent a couple weeks in Denmark. The only time I think I recall pulling out my credit card was at a hotel to check-in. And, to be honest, I’m not even sure I did it then! I’m just stretching my brain to try to think about when I would have used one. Every single place, from restaurants, to bars, to cafes, to shops, to taxis, accept mobile payments.

Your phone becomes a magic wand; the invisible magic is paying people. Again, you only truly realize this in places where mobile pay is ubiquitous. Because you realize how often you actually execute the process of paying for something in a given day. And once you’re a few days into using mobile pay and gliding through life, you only realize how insane the “old way” of doing things is when you are forced to pull out your wallet. Like an animal.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s an issue of infrastructure and education. Even some places in the U.S. that take Apple Pay still demand that you sign! Nope, they don’t get it. Apple can’t do too much except wait when it come to the infrastructure issue, but the company has only themselves to blame for not educating everyone, retailers and shoppers, about what Apple Pay is and how it should work. Eventually, the U.S. will catch up.


  1. It’s ubiquitous in the US, if you only patronize places that take ApplePay. After a while, you figure it out, which grocery stores, which pharmacies, which restaurants, which fast-food restaurants, etc.

    1. I live in Silicon Valley and use Apple Pay nearly everywhere I shop. But I can’t imagine the transition for restaurants here. Unlike in Europe, our sit-down restaurants don’t have portable card terminals—they take your card to the back and swipe it. Apple Pay obviously doesn’t work with a setup like that. How would/will this change?

  2. The most ridiculous thing in the US is when I have to sign in addition! Really, this is such nonsense! And nobody even checks the signature. I just sign something that does not come near my real signature. So what is the signature good for? As a Process Manager this gives me the creeps!

    1. A couple of years ago I was visiting the USA with my wife and I managed to leave my wallet at home, so had no credit cards with me. Fortunately my wife had all of hers and she lent me one of her cards to keep with me for our trip.

      I know her PIN and paying at terminals worked as usual, but what really surprised me was that I was often being required to sign payment slips and I forgot that I was using her card instead of mine. My signature isn’t remotely like my wife’s signature. Furthermore, as we were relatively recently married at that time, the surname on her card was different to mine and of course the first name was the wrong gender anyway. She writes a fairly legible signature while I do a rather graphic scrawl. At no point did anybody ever check my signature against the one in her card.

      1. Bugs Bunny works just fine. Try it.

        I think the earlier commenter is right, it’s an artifact of the software/hardware/firmware in older terminals even though the credit card companies aren’t interested in the signatures anymore.

  3. I love Apple Pay and Apple Card. It’s all we use when we can. Stupid stores ask8ng me to sign when I use Apple Pay, whew, I’m a true geezer, but most of these whippersnappers have no clue. Now, Tokyo Olympics in less than a year. Forget Apple Pay, you can hardly get wifi access in Japan! And if you don’t have T-Mobile for cell, it’s almost too wet to plough. ホラ、日本の皆さん、もうすぐだよ!やれ、やれ、やれね。日本はハイテックによって、やっぱり第三世界に似ていますよ!

  4. It’s great, but I feel like it will never be everywhere in the US. POS here are so messed up its a joke. Some merchants take apple pay, some take mobile pay but apple pay doesn’t work. Some won’t take anything but cash (chinese donut shops). Some won’t take a card or mobile pay unless you spend at least 10 dollars. It’s all a clusterfuck and if you think it will straighten out soon, Orange monkey Trump will be elected the new dictator for life next year……

    1. Quite a few gas stations and walk up/takeout food places are cash only. And there’s a major line of grocery stores in my home area that will only accept debit cards not credit cards (or the other way around I forget since I’m not around there the last few months). and another which dropped either Visa or MasterCard I don’t remember which.

      So no cashless Nirvana yet….

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