June 17, 2016
At WWDC, Apple announced that Apple Pay will be coming to the Web this fall. Articles are popping up all over the Web about this huge technology advancement. Some are even referring to it as a Really Big Deal. The same phenomenon happened when Apple Pay was originally announced back in 2014. The amount of press generated by the Apple Pay announcement was absurd and still continues now. But Android users see these announcements and chuckle. They see Apple touting huge advancements in mobile computing when truth be told, instead of innovating, they are actually playing catch up with old technology. Google was doing NFC payments long before Apple Pay made its debut. And now with the announcement of Apple Pay for the Web, it seems history is repeating itself. The ability to pay on a website with multifactor authentication using your mobile phone is not new. In fact, this technology has been available for over a year.
So What's Next for Apple Pay? Some technology writers believe Apple is trying to take on PayPal with this new Web payment feature. If this is true, then Apple has a long way to go. PayPal’s 180 million active accounts dwarf Apple Pay’s approximately 12 million active users. Additionally, PayPal can be used by anyone on any device anywhere in the world. Apple immediately reduces its market potential simply by limiting the use of Apple Pay to Apple devices and the Apple Safari browser. If Apple is going to have any chance of competing with PayPal, they are going to have to stop segmenting the market and create a universal solution that anyone can use.
The Future of Payments Apple’s ability to generate a huge amount of press about new features in payments can actually help accelerate the mobile payment movement. Using the phone to complete a payment on the Web is the first step toward creating more secure payments with multifactor authentication. The next step is to return privacy to the user and to eliminate the storage of personal and financial information in accounts that are held by big businesses. The enormous cloud databases created by these payment companies are simply unnecessary. The link from the Web to the phone has already been made. The time has come to take down the sensitive information stored in the cloud and place it locally and securely on the user’s device where it is safe from online hackers.