Apple Pay's New Web Move Provides Needed Context to Payments

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Apple Pay's plans to expand to online retailers may seem as simple as a natural progression, but appearances can be deceiving.

It’s been mentioned that retailer and consumer education will be key in order for mobile payments to transform the way we do business. However, consumers all need to rethink the way they pay – in other words, “a wow moment.” What Apple has done has set the groundwork for mobile payments to transform consumers. Now comes context.

Apple Pay's plan, which would move it beyond in app purchases, is timed to be fully rolled out the holiday season, according to Re/code. The process would work via the Safari browser on models of iPhones and iPads that possess Apple’s TouchID fingerprint technology. That means all users of new hardware from iPhone 5s and the iPad Air 2 onward, a demographic of about 85 million Americans in 2015, will be able to use their Apple Pay for Black Friday shopping in 2016.

As a starting point, Goldman Sachs currently projects that mobile commerce will be approximately half of online commerce by 2018. That’s approximately 1.09 billion people spending $626 billion via their phones and (mostly) their tablets. Americans spend $800+ billion on holiday spending. This means that they’re spending big bucks at a hectic time, one where ease of payment can mean the difference between serenity and public meltdowns.

Even if it’s hard for the average consumer to use Apple Pay at your average retail location, it’s relatively simple to jump online, press your fingerprint on your mobile device, and authorize payment for holiday gifts. Suddenly, a stressful ordeal will have been reduced to a digital experience for a basic function, a convenient tool used to pay for purchases, and a sterling customer service experience.

The takeaway is that this represents a massive deal for the mobile payments industry. Similar to how eBay and PayPal taught an entire generation how to easily shop online, come January 2017, Apple Pay will have taught millions of consumers how easy mobile payments can make their lives.

Once they become used to this, they will want to continue using it. If a retail location isn’t able to provide them with the experience they want, the consumer will go for the alternative that provides them what they’re looking for. Retailers, in order to compete, will adapt to the new reality. Change drives business evolution and Apple Pay to online retailers cause great change for the mobile payments industry.

Toffer Grant is CEO and Founder of PEX.

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