Taking Out Apple Pay for a (Slightly Rocky) Spin

By Ashley Feinberg on at

Apple's iOS 8.1 has gone live and that means that over in that US Apple Pay has been let loose. We won't be seeing the service in the UK until next year, but as a heads up read on for the Gizmodo US team's experience. The results were... mixed.

Setting it Up

Setting it up was the easy part — alarmingly easy, in fact. Considering the trouble people have been having with other new features like Continuity and Handoff, we were prepared for some hassle. But everything worked as promised.

To set up Apple Pay, open Passbook and you'll see a screen prompting you to set up Apple Pay. You can either use the credit card already attached to your iTunes account or choose a new card to add.

If you do decide to go with a new card, after entering your name, just take a picture of your card, and your phone will suck up all the data and spit it back onto the form for you. And that's it. Easy.

Taking Apple Pay Out for a (Slightly Rocky) Spin

Taking Apple Pay to the Streets

Then things started to get a little bumpy. Since Apple Pay is currently partnered with mostly bigger-name brands, there are only so many options as far as stores are concerned. Deciding to try our luck at Subway, we were met with a few "ums" and some confused looks when we asked about contactless payment.

The store had just received the hardware that day, it seemed, and they were still getting the hang of things. After some discussion and deep study of the machine's new instructions, the furthest we were able to get was bringing up a screen with a QR code — which is to say, not very far at all.

Next, we hit up a Duane Reade [pharmacy] (owned by Walgreens). Here, the system actually worked flawlessly — unfortunately, the store wouldn't let us record the transaction, so you'll have to take our word for it. It was just as fast as paying with a credit card, and the process was almost identical. Just instead of swiping a card, I flashed my computer next to the following symbol on the reader while holding onto Touch ID.

Taking Apple Pay Out for a (Slightly Rocky) Spin

So even though it is Apple Pay's first day of life, you might run into a few problems as stores get situated. Once the new locations are outfitted and trained, though, it actually is a wildly convenient and easy way to buy things. Of course, the other problem you might run into is actually finding partners. For now the list is (relatively) small, but will be constantly growing.

Not a bad start, but the real test will be getting more chains to hop on board. When and if that happens, Apple Pay might actually become the mobile payment golden child it so badly wants to be.

All the Places You Can Use Apple Pay [in the US]

  • Aeropostale
  • BJ's Wholesale Club
  • Champs, Chevron
  • ExtraMile
  • Champs
  • Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • House of Hoops
  • Kids Foot Locker
  • Ladies Foot Locker
  • Office Depot
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Sports Authority
  • RadioShack
  • SIX:02
  • RUN by Foot Locker
  • Texaco
  • Wegmans
  • Apple
  • Babies"R"Us
  • Bloomingdales
  • Macy's
  • McDonalds
  • Petco
  • Panera Bread
  • Subway
  • Toys"R"Us
  • Unleashed
  • Whole Foods
  • Nike
  • Walgreens
  • Duanereade
  • Disney Store
  • PetSmart