Slideshow 7 Things to Expect from Apple Pay's Launch

  • October 17 2014, 12:09pm EDT
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As Apple Pay launches Oct. 20, the new mobile wallet will be put to the test. It has the prestige of Apple and the participation of hundreds of card issuers, but it also faces several challenges that may be difficult to overcome. Pictured: Apple CEO Tim Cook (Image: Bloomberg News)

Big Customer Base

Apple may not have to worry about a lack of consumers with Apple Pay-compatible phones. Apple has sold 21 million of its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices. These are the first iPhones equipped with Near Field Communication chips, which are used to make contactless Apple Pay payments at the point of sale. (Image: Bloomberg News)

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Limited Payment Options

Discover and PayPal are conspicuously absent from Apple Pay's short list of supported funding options. Discover is working to sign on, but PayPal has said its participation "remains to be seen." Visa, MasterCard and American Express are on board with Apple Pay at its launch. (Image: Bloomberg News)

First Come, First Served

According to Apple, "the first card you add automatically becomes your default payment card," so the issuers that are first to support Apple Pay will have an advantage. Apple expects over 500 banks to support Apple Pay by early next year. (Image: Shutterstock)

Mixed Prep by Retailers

Apple and partners such as McDonald's are training their store employees to accept Apple Pay payments and troubleshoot issues. But some companies are not doing any special training. For example, Starbucks — which earlier had training-related issues with Square Wallet — is not doing any training to prep for Apple Pay. (Image: Bloomberg News)

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Biometrics' Big Day

Apple is making a gamble in its use of TouchID fingerprint authentication for Apple Pay. Earlier efforts to involve biometrics, such as Pay By Touch, required special hardware at the point of sale and fared poorly. But, given the recent string of big retailer breaches, consumers may be willing to try something new to protect their payment card data. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Picky About Partnerships

Even if consumers like Apple Pay, they will have to leave their phones in their pockets at some merchants. Notably, Walmart and Best Buy — two of the companies involved in the Merchant Customer Exchange mobile wallet initiative — have said they won't support Apple Pay. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Order Ahead

Companies like NCR are incorporating Apple Pay into their own services. NCR Silver merchants can enable Apple Pay users to place orders from their phones and pay remotely before visiting the merchant's location. (Image: Bloomberg News)