After unveiling its new credit-card reader at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, Square tested this newfangled contraption at a  Blue Bottle coffee shop in Mint Plaza, just down the street.

The reader doesn’t accept ordinary credit cards. It takes a newer breed of card equipped with an EMV chip for greater security, and it accepts Apple Pay, that much-hyped means of making card payments via the iPhone or the fledgling Apple Watch. With so many Apple faithful descending on the nearby Moscone Center for WWDC—the centerpiece of Apple’s year—Blue Bottle provided an unusually ripe proving ground for the new reader and the larger push towards Apple Pay and other “contactless” payments systems.

According to Jesse Dorogusker, who oversaw the creation of the new reader as Square’s head of hardware, the tests revealed some “weird” behavior among those paying for some mighty good coffee with their personal Apple gadgets. Some people touched their wrists to the reader with their Apple Watches facing up, before realizing that the Watch doesn’t send a payment unless it’s facing down. “I’ve seen it,” Dorogusker says, shrugging his shoulders. “The new ritual is something we have to fine tune.” And sometimes, when they positioned their phones and Watches in the correct way and a payment went through flawlessly, they’re weren’t quite sure that it had. By the time they looked at their phone or watch display, he says, the notification saying they had paid successfully was already gone. “You have to adapt to the experience being too fast.”

The Blue Bottle trial run was hardly a widespread test—Square kept its reader in the shop for only a week—and it may say more about the Apple Watch than Apple Pay. But it provides a nice metaphor for contactless mobile payments as a whole. Apple Pay and its ilk will take some getting used to. As Dorogusker says: “Changing buyer behavior is hard.”

In fact, many question whether such services are any more desirable than physical credit and debit cards in the first place. “So few people use Apple Pay, and merchant availability isn’t necessarily the reason.” says Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, an analyst with Boston-based research firm Forrester. “It’s just not that much easier.”


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One of Apple’s biggest bets may have been too optimistic – REUTERS JUN. 5, 2015, 2:10 AM

Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Service, introduces Apple Pay during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California, September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Thomson ReutersEddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Service, introduces Apple Pay during an Apple event at the Flint Center in Cupertino

CHICAGO (Reuters) – In a January earnings call with investors, Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook made a confident prediction: “2015 will be the year of Apple Pay,” he said.

Since then, the company has aggressively courted retailers — and claimed significant success. “We’ve spoken to all of the top 100 merchants in the U.S., and about half will accept Apple Pay this year, with many more the following year,” a company spokesperson recently told Reuters.

But interviews with analysts, merchants and others suggest that Apple’s forecast may be too optimistic and that many retailers remain skeptical about the payment system.

The service is one of Apple’s biggest bets, a chance to tie customers more tightly to its phones and its new smart watch, as well as to take a tiny bite from every retail transaction.

To assess Apple’s progress, Reuters worked from the National Retail Federation’s list of the top 100 U.S. retailers, surveying the 98 that had brick-and-mortar outlets (two of the top 100 sell only online). Eighty-five supplied detailed responses, and 11 others supplied information only about whether or not they accept Apple Pay. Two did not respond.

While some of the country’s top merchants said they use and like the mobile payment system, fewer than a quarter of the retailers said they currently accept Apple Pay, and nearly two-thirds of the chains said categorically they would not be accepting it this year. Only four companies said they have plans to join the program in the next year.

The top reasons retailers cited for not accepting Apple Pay were insufficient customer demand, a lack of access to data generated in Apple Pay transactions and the cost of technology to facilitate the payments. Some merchants said they were holding out because they plan to participate in a new mobile payment system to be launched by a coalition of retailers later this year.

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Apple Pay Is Now Blocked At CVS And Rite Aid – Amit Chowdhry Contributor TECH 10/27/2014 @ 2:12AM

This past weekend, Rite Aid RAD -2.06% Pharmacy and CVS Pharmacy blocked Apple AAPL +0.37% Pay. Apple Pay is a new digital wallet service that allows users to pay for goods using certain Apple devices that wirelessly communicate with point of sale systems using near field communication (NFC) antennas.

Why are some of the largest retailers across the country blocking Apple Pay? The most likely explanation is because they have formed a consortium called the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which is building a rival system next year called CurrentC. The MCX consortium has been developing the CurrentC system since 2012. Rite Aid and CVS are part of the MCX consortium. CurrentC enables merchants to monitor the shopping habits of its users, making it easier to target customers with loyalty programs using that kind of data. Apple Pay keeps transactions private, making it difficult for retailers to track purchasing history.

To help merchants save money on the fees incurred per transaction, CurrentC will be connected to customer debit accounts. NFC will not be required to use CurrentC because the user scans a QR code on the screen to complete the payment. Some of the other retailers that are a part of the MCX consortium include Walmart, Target, Kmart, Best Buy BBY -0.03%Gap GPS -0.67%, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Sears. CurrentC will be accepted at 110,000 merchant locations in the U.S.

Several Rite Aid and CVS customers said that they were able to pay for products using Apple Pay last week. This is because the two companies installed NFC payment point of sales systems to support Google Wallet and other mobile payment services a couple of years ago. Apple Pay essentially worked unofficially at CVS and Rite Aid stores until the two retail companies fully disabled it over the weekend.

Privacy in spotlight as Apple unveils new products – By ASHLEY GOLD and KATY BACHMAN | 9/9/14 1:41 PM EDT Updated: 9/9/14 10:21 PM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at Sep 10, 2014 12.40

A week after the nude celebrity photo hack, Apple launched new products focused on mobile payments and health and fitness with an underlying message: Trust us.

But serious questions about the privacy and security of such information are bound to crop up for the tech giant. Technology and the Internet are part of everyday habits like fitness and paying bills. With some tech companies collecting so much information these days, Apple is banking that it is on the right path.

“Security is at the core of Apple Pay,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said when he introduced a mobile payment system that could upend the decades-old credit card system.

The privacy questions, including the issue of mobile apps that store personal health information, are especially pertinent since last week, when a website published dozens of hacked nude celebrity photos from Apple phones. Apple contends that its iCloud was not hacked, but rather thieves individually hacked victims’ personal ID passwords.

(Also on POLITICO: Apple event charges up D.C. Twitter)

After rolling out Apple Pay, the company introduced the audience to the long-awaited Apple Watch and its set of sensors. They will allow consumers to monitor their mileage walking and running on flat and elevated surfaces. The device, which comes in three styles and various colors, can detect your heartbeat as well as set goals and reward fitness milestones.

“You can share something as personal as your own heartbeat,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s lead designer.

The device comes as the company seeks to redefine the market for “wearables” — devices that people use to track their fitness and health, and which eventually could become an integral and profitable part of the U.S. health care system.

With Apple Pay, the premise is easy: Hold your phone up to a retail sensor and put your thumb on the Touch ID to complete a transaction. “It is so cool,” Cook gushed.

Apple also sees that it can be profitable. The payment business is estimated to make about $12 billion a day and more than $4 trillion a year. Cook promised it is secure: “It doesn’t know what you bought, what you paid for it, and the clerk doesn’t see your name, credit card number or security code.”

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Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/apple-iwatch-privacy-concerns-110763.html#ixzz3CtdgQRmb