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How long will it take Apple Pay to succeed?


Reaching for your iPhone 6 and expecting to be able to pay for all of your purchases, at every restaurant, or store you walk into won’t be a realistic expectation right off the bat.

Apple Pay will be something that takes a considerable amount of time to catch on and really become mainstream. While Apple on Friday celebrated the official launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, users who are eager to start using Apple Pay should be weary.

It’s going to take time, but more importantly, it’s going to take time to become mainstream.

Here are just a few reasons:

  • Cards aren’t just going to disappear. It’s going to take years potentially for customers who have paid with cards, for literally decades, to switch to paying without a physical payment method – like a card, cash, or check – and even then, they aren’t going to disappear entirely unless something even more major than Apple Pay happens.
  • Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices are expected to sell incredibly well, and given the number of iPhone 4’s on the market – and the fact that this is the first upgrade period where a certain device has actually become obsolete – is going to mean more upgrades, for more people. That’s a good thing for Apple, but again, don’t expect those users to be the ones that immediately jump on Apple Pay. After all, they turned down 4 previous iPhone models before finally upgrading, and they did so by force, not all by desire. The numbers actually indicate that just 25% of customers will use Apple Pay, right off the bat.
  • Security and privacy are going to be a concern for all customers, not just the ones mentioned in the bullet above. Apple has been under some intense scrutiny recently, with their cloud breach, and just because the glitz and glam of the iPhone 6 has dulled that roar temporarily – at the first sight of issue or problem, you can bet that will be coming back out.
  • Apple did a lot of things well with the launch of iPhone 6, Apple Pay, and Apple Watch, but what they didn’t do was leave the competitors with no chance to catch up, or even pass them. Right now, it looks like Apple is safe, with getting banks involved, card issuers, and everything else associated with the launch of Apple Pay – but don’t forget about Google – who hasn’t even entered the market – or PayPal who are already in the market – and not doing too badly, either.
  • Cash will be the real thing Apple Pay works to get out of the way. The truth is that the cash is the single-biggest factor in terms of derailing Apple Pay because card companies are already working with Apple – and really their only goal is to drive more transactions. They realize this is a unique opportunity to seize more transactions, and that’s something that previously hasn’t been seen.

Of course, there are serious benefits to using Apple Pay – like tokenization, but even with the best of features – which could completely secure your transaction, and literally eliminate credit card numbers in the long run – it’s going to be challenging getting skeptical users on board.

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Going forward it will be interesting to see who, or what challenges, or eventually dominates the market – but for now, no one should expect that domination to start happening this month – or this year.

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