For years, tech companies like Google and Barclaycard have tried to get the world's consumers to adopt NFC-powered payment platforms, and the public take-up has been steady yet slow. But now that Apple Pay has graced millions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users in the US with NFC purchasing powers, things are beginning to change in a big way – and really everyone is a winner.
A report by The New York Times details how American consumer practices are slowly changing due to Apple Pay. Whole Foods recorded 150,000 iPhone transactions, Walgreens says NFC payments have doubled since Apple Pay debuted in October (thanks in no part to CurrentC), and McDonald's says Apple's payment service already accounts for 50 per cent of its tap-to-pay total.
Considering the service has only available three weeks on two iPhones compared to the big swathe of Android phones, that's pretty impressive. But as one analyst says, it's a slow-moving revolution:
"Quite frankly, a lot of it has to do with the strength of the Apple brand and how much merchants and customers love how easy the experience is... I'm not saying it's changing the landscape overnight. But this has never happened with other mobile wallets."
But Apple Pay isn't the only winner here. Google Wallet and Softcard, the US tap-to-pay alternatives for Android and Windows Phone, are also seeing spikes in downloads and user engagement, according to The New York Times. This has exciting possibilities for all of as rumours abound that Apple plans to extend its NFC offerings will further power all our mobiles.
In some ways, this is to be expected. While the comparatively small UK market has been ahead of the curve with the likes of EE Cash on Tap, a significant portion of the smartphone population in the US doesn't have access to NFC payments, so it's hard to make the argument to retailers to invest in the tech. With that worry now dissipating with each passing purchase of an iPhone 6, more and more companies are now more likely to take the plunge.
It's also possible we could see a similar adoption explosion when Apple finally releases the Apple Watch next spring. In fact, I'm almost certain this will be the case – after wearing Asus's ZenWatch the last couple of days, people keep asking me if it's an Apple one. But whether it's smartwatches or mobile payments, interest is already growing and that's a good thing for all of us. [The New York Times]