Apple Pay, the digital wallet that allows you to store your credit cards and debit cards and pay for things with near-field communication (NFC) technology, continues to gain momentum despite the fact that only 700,000 of more than 6 million retail stores accept it.
This mobile payment system recently cleared one of its last major hurdles for its domestic offering as Discover announced it will join Apple Pay’s ranks beginning this fall.
The last of the “big four” to join Apple Pay
Discover was the last major holdout from the service, as Apple Pay already supports Visa, MasterCard and American Express. In addition to supporting all four major credit and debit networks, Apple Pay also has the support of some 2,500 banks, it announced in March. The company has even tripled the number of locations that accept Apple Pay.
While this is all beneficial, the primary feature on people’s minds when discussing new payment methods is security.
As Apple Pay does with other providers, it will work with Discover cardmembers to make contactless payments in stores using various Apple devices. Whether it be an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch or one of the most recent iPads, Discover maintains their commitment to secure options for the card and mobile device system.
With the addition of Discover, Apple Pay will reach a large majority of U.S. cardholders, with the company planning on expansions to Canada this fall and possibly China in the future. Unfortunately, these deals are challenging because overseas banks are unwilling to comply with Apple’s transaction fees.
Another issue for Apple Pay is the potential competition from other companies that offer similar services. There is Samsung Pay, Android Pay and even the Merchant Customer Exchange, which are all competing for the spotlight.
A safer alternative to traditional credit cards
This new system is generally regarded as a more secure way to pay than the typical card-swiping, Apple says, because it doesn’t store any card data. Instead, a one-time code is exchanged with the company or retailer during checkout. Apple Pay also won’t be continuously susceptible to card skimming technology because it’s not “on” at all times and won’t respond unless the user engages with the system.
While it seems like security is guaranteed with Apple Pay, consumers should never assume they are in the clear. There is still an issue of jailbreaking and other technological viruses. By downloading apps not approved by Apple, a jailbroken phone can be exposed to decreased protections and manipulation of the software. Not to mention malware can register keystrokes.
451 Research noted in a survey that two in three people who tried Apple Pay were “very satisfied” with it, and 24 percent of those surveyed said they believe mobile payments are safer than traditional card-swiping.
At this rate, consumers can expect to keep seeing Apple Pay on the forefront of mobile payment technology.
Want to add a Discover credit card to your Apple Pay wallet? Check out our favorites here.
Photo credits: tekrevue.com, Reuters
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.