Over 6 months since the Apple Pay launch, US customers are becoming used to approving transactions by a swipe of their handset on a payment terminal. With acceptance in the US, other countries are scheduled to follow during 2015. Questions about security will be forgotten as more people see others using it (just like chip and pin from signature or card from cash) and systems such as Apple Pay show users just how simple things can be (the same as they have done with purchasing digital content through iTunes)
The launch of the Apple watch will usher in a new era of wearable devices (manufactures like Samsung, LG and Motorola already have ‘chunky’ systems in the market which will be on their second generation this year) which will mean quick and convenient payments will start to shift the ‘wallet’ from the pocket to the handset.
Of course the wallet will never disappear just like the CD continues to enjoy a healthy market years after digital content has reached tipping point, but it does mean that people are familiar and understand the alternatives.
All this means the event industry needs to prepare for contactless payment; finding a partner who can meet their requirements either with a system in house or brought in as and when required (just as many do today for chip and pin terminals). A key consideration is ensuring that whichever direction is taken, connecting the systems back to the internet to process their transactions is considered at the early stages. Transaction data requirements are very small (less than an email) it’s more about getting the connections to whichever stand or bar will host the terminal. Those relying on the cellular network (GPRS etc) need to be very sure that the local infrastructure will be capable of hosting the system when the crowds arrive.
A good article from the New York Times documented the current experience of Apple Pay http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/02/a-day-with-apple-pay/?_r=1