Apple

Apple Pay to launch this week with mixed expectations

Apple is expected to launch its Apple Pay mobile payments initiative this week for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners, but not everyone is excited.

Apple Pay
Image: ZDNet

Apple will hold a media event on Thursday at its Cupertino headquarters. The company is expected to launch a new iMac, updated iPads, and announce the release of the latest version of its desktop operating system, OS X Yosemite.

It is also expected to launch iOS 8.1 with its Apple Pay mobile payments system, first unveiled last month alongside the introduction of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones, which are the only Apple devices equipped with the near-field communication (NFC) technology required to make Apple Pay work.

Apple has invested a lot of time and money in the Apple Pay program, and many customers and partners are very excited about the possibilities of the system — but not everyone.

There are a number of retailers eagerly on board with Apple Pay, which is really just an Apple implementation of industry-standard touchless payments that are already supported by a number of different devices and banks. Apple Pay is certainly the highest profile touchless payment program, however.

Apple has a long list of retailers supporting Apple Pay, including Macy's/Bloomingdale's, Disney, Toys 'R' Us, Nike, McDonalds, Panera, Petco, Sephora, Staples, Walgreens, and Whole Foods — but these make up but a fraction of retail outlets in the United States. There is an equally lengthy list of companies that have either outright said they will not support NFC payments or simply demurred, saying they have "no plans" to support touchless payments.

The Daily Dot spoke to a number of retailers who said they have no immediate plans to support Apple Pay, including: Best Buy; H&M; Coach; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Sears and Kmart; BP (in the next couple of years, at least); Publix; Pizza Hut; KFC; Chipotle; and Starbucks (in-store, at least). Walmart has also said it has no plans to adopt NFC payments.

Of course, if Apple Pay is successful, retailers will likely look to adopt NFC-powered touchless payments, because being able to take money from your customers in their preferred form is just good business.

On the other side of the partnership triangle, Apple's partner banks seem very excited to jump on board. A Chase spokesperson told The Daily Dot that Apple Pay is "extremely secure." A spokesperson for Navy Federal Credit Union said that risk and liability is reduced for everyone involved in the payment process, from the retailer to the consumer and all the banks.

Activist investor Carl Icahn, who is also a large investor in Apple, sent an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook this week. In it, he estimates that Apple could generate billions in added revenue from Apple Pay and is "unusually well positioned to succeed with Apple Pay where others could not."

A leaked memo from Walgreens suggests that Apple Pay will launch on this Saturday, October 18, with a separate report saying military-focused bank USAA will begin its support on November 7.

Are you excited for Apple Pay? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.

About Jordan Golson

Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.

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