Apple wants to make you pay – literally.
The company’s new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch may getting most of the attention today, but its Apple Pay system may have a more immediate impact on your everyday life.
Simply put, Apple wants to replace the credit cards in your wallet – heck, the wallet itself – with an iPhone or a A-Watch. Apple Pay is how the company plans to do it, using the Near Field Communications (NFC) radio built into both devices.
Here’s how it works.
a) Walk into an Apple-Pay friendly retailer.
b) Buy some swag and bring it to the checkout counter.
c) Tap your phone against the NFC scanner in the store holding your finger against the phone’s Touch ID finger print reader or a button on the Watch.
d) Go home.
The purchase price is automatically deducted from your account. Better yet, neither Apple nor the retailer get their hands on your credit card information. That’s because the only data Apple Pay transmits is a unique device ID, along with a single-use security code. That unique ID is stored inside the encrypted Secure Element built into the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.
This could theoretically prevent things like the massive data breaches at Target or Home Depot, where millions of credit card numbers and other customer data were siphoned off the store’s networks by cyber crooks.
Apple says it won’t store details of any transactions on its servers, though you will be able to view receipt inside your device’s Passbook.
How do you transfer your existing credit cards to Apple Pay? Easy. Take a photo of them. The information is stored in the Apple Passbook, alongside your boarding passes, coupons, and other digital data. Or you can go old school and enter your numbers manually.
If you lose your phone, you can use Apple’s Find My iPhone to put the device in Lost Mode or wipe it completely. Details on how you might cancel or dispute purchases made via Apple Pay were not available at press time.
Apple Pay is supported by a half dozen large banks such as Citi and Wells Fargo, with more to come. The company says it can be used in more than 220,000 retail locations, including Bloomingdales, McDonalds, Subway, Walgreens, and Apple Stores (natch). You can also use Apple Pay inside a store’s mobile apps, such as Target’s or Starbucks’.
Apple Pay will be available as a free update to iOS8 starting in October. You’ll need an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or Apple Watch (due out next year) to take advantage of it.
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