Got Apple Pay for your iPhone and Watch? It’s great, right? You can also use Apple Pay online with your Mac, buy with your iPad, and feel safe and secure about your purchase because Apple made Apple Pay work the way all electronic transactions should work. Is it any wonder that most such transactions and payments take place on Apple Pay that on other smart wallets?
So, if you’ve used it, what’s the problem?
The problem is obvious. Apple Pay cannot be used everywhere you want to be. It’s here. It’s there. It’s just not everywhere. McDonald’s has it. A few other restaurants have it. Walgreens drugs stores take Apple Pay. So does Macy’s but not Target. See the problem? I do not recall running into a retailer that does not take Visa or MasterCard, and usually both, but Apple Pay– despite being used more frequently than all others combined– isn’t everywhere.
Here’s the problem. Fragmentation.
Target and CVS want their customers to remain sticky on their own platforms. Ditto for other major retailers who fear losing their customers like hotels and airlines lost their customers to online shopping sites that do room and flight price comparisons. All that has happened here is customer, user, and service fragmentation of the highest order and it’s getting worse.
Once you try Apple Pay– or, to be fair; any other smart wallet which works in a similar manner– you realize just how antiquated cash, credit cards, and debit cards are (and, seriously, who uses a debit card except people who don’t know how bad things become when they’re lost or stolen?). Unless you’re living off the grid and have disavowed anything that uses electricity, Apple Pay is the cat’s meow but it’s starving in a world run by growing fragmentation at every corner.
Way back in the day most cities of nominal size had a daily newspaper, a couple of radio stations, and were near larger markets with their own TV stations. Information came the old fashioned way and from a limited variety of sources.
Today, thanks to the misinformation superhighway, we have millions of sources for information; most of them wrong, thanks to the advent of fake news, forums, article comment sections, and social media. I’ve been around the block a few times and some of what I read online is absolutely shockingly stupid and misguided– yet people believe what they read to the point where most Americans cannot differentiate fake news from real news.
How will those same people fare as society’s fragmentation extends into electronic purchases? It’s too easy for the masses to be deceived so there’s a growing need for a positive curator.
Thank you, Apple.
I remember telling our middle-school aged children that we couldn’t afford to buy something because it was expensive and we didn’t have extra money. One responded, “Just write a check, Dad.” I fear too many of today’s customers have a similar view toward managing money in the electronic age. Credit card limit reached? Get another credit card.
Apple can’t fix the social fragmentation problem but Apple Pay points out that some customers are willing to go an extra mile to get transactions done right, and that explains why Apple’s customers usually are more educated, have more disposable income, and take time to make financial decisions.