Apple Pay launches today. It’s the tech giant’s proprietary mobile payment system that’s available on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. More than 500 financial institutions and retailers are on board, including the big credit card companies. Consumers can use it to pay at brick-and-mortar stores and online purchases alike. It basically lets users store card data on their phones, and they simply wave their phones in front of a reader to pay for something. Because credit card information is encrypted during the entire payment process, the reasoning goes that it’s more also secure.
The technology Apple Pay uses is called Near Field Communication (NFC), a kind of short-range wireless communication. The technology isn’t new, but with Apple Pay’s vote of confidence, it’s certainly going to go mainstream. Because NFC transmit information within a very short range, many security experts believe that the technology is fundamentally safe. Someone who wants to steal your information would have to stand very, very close to you, for instance.
But Apple Pay is entering a crowded mobile payment space. Would Apple Pay become the dominant player in this market? How safe is it? Can Apple revolutionize mobile payment the way it did to the cellphone? Would you use Apple Pay?
Menekse Gencer, founder and owner of mPay Connect, a mobile payment consultancy based in San Francisco. She has written extensively on mobile money on behalf of such organizations as The World Economic Forum and The InterAmerican Development Bank.
Maria Aspan, senior editor at Inc. magazine who’s been covering the digital wallet space. Her latest piece for the magazine looks at why Apple Pay might not take off.
Chris Carlis, security researcher and expert. He specializes in penetration testing, where he deliberately breaks into a device or software to identify vulnerabilities.