My First Day with Apple Pay

Not wanting to be someone who gets delayed more than 27 hours when there’s something shiny and new to try, I was all over Apple Pay! I wasn’t going to let my disappointing Google Glass experience kill the early adopter in me—plus, Apple Pay doesn’t cost $1,500 to try out. And I could use it at the World Series!

Prelude to a Kiss

Apple Pay: Credit and Debit Cards

Apple Pay

Apple does make it easy; the download and install of new iOS8 update was without issue. It seemed to take 382 years, but that might be an exaggeration stemming from my impatience. Anyway, eventually I saw the happy “Hello” prompts in more languages than I can speak.

Setup was a breeze, once I found the app. I had buried Passbook in an Entertainment folder because prior to today, all I did was use it for event tickets. Once it was located, I loaded it, logged in and grabbed my wallet to add a credit card. Not necessary! “Would you like to use a new card or use the card on file?” was the question I received at login. What? Yes, on file! One short security code away (which I know by heart, along with my credit card number and all its details—don’t judge me) and I was set. It took a minute or so to activate and I was ready for my first foray into the land of Apple Pay. Once it had activated, I saw a summary of my recent charges for the card going back at least a few days (maybe more, didn’t check).

Just a Light Peck on the Cheek

For my first use, I decided to head over to Mickey D’s and get some Monopoly tokens and try out Apple Pay at the same time. I know a lot of people think McDonald’s food is terrible, but I actually like it. So I set out to get a yummy lunch and (as I later discovered) I won a free breakfast sandwich. Score! Anyway, back to Apple Pay. I actually parked the car and got out to use Apple Pay, figuring it wouldn’t work in the drive thru lane (I later learned it does—nice). Unlike the Starbucks app, there’s no “Pay” button or any instruction whatsoever on the screen, just a photo of my credit card. So when the cashier gave me my total, I just waved my phone—which was unlocked and in the Passbook app—over the little sideways Wi-Fi icon above the card swiper machine thingy (can you tell I don’t work in retail?).

Then, like magic, my phone asked me to confirm my identity with my thumbprint. Okay. I see it sort of scanning with an animation sequence similar to the fingerprint animations when you first set up your digits. My phone gave a reassuring buzz vibration in my hand and the woman behind the counter said, “It went through. Thanks!” And just like that, I was hooked.

While waiting for my food I was creating a mental checklist of all the other cards I can add—could I add store cards too? What about insurance? Driver’s license? Could I stop carrying my wallet altogether? Probably not. But I could go digging in the spare bedroom for that smaller purple wallet I had to give up because it was too small. With all of the cards I could ditch, it’s not anymore!

The (Royal) Blues

Kauffman Stadium during Game 1 of the 2014 World Series

My next attempts to use Apple Pay were at Kauffman Stadium during Game 1 of the World Series! In case anyone missed the George Brett commercials airing throughout the MLB post-season, Kauffman is the first stadium in the nation to accept Apple Pay (and if you use it with a MasterCard you can win some #pricelessmemories).

Apple Pay: AMEX payment

Apple Pay with AMEX

Apple Pay Round 2 was not as smooth as my Round 1. When my friend and I arrived at the stadium, he was prodding me to try it, try it, try it! He’s “Android” you see, so he wanted to find out how Apple Pay worked, since this technology, as he put it, “Has been available on Android for a long time.” So when it came time to grab two soft drinks, peanuts and a hot dog—for the low price of $27.05—I offered to get this round and try out Apple Pay. The transaction total came up on the screen. I waved my phone across the scanner-thingy (seriously, what is that thing called?) and it buzzed and said I was done. But the concession stand worker said, “It didn’t work.” What?  I see the entry in the list, but the amount is blank. Hmm…let’s try again. Wait, wave, thumbprint, buzz. Again, “It didn’t work.” Now I see both entries are there, but they’re blank. Not wanting to hold up the line, I paid with cash and called this test done for now.

Later during the game, when it was clear that someone forgot to tell the Kansas City Royals this was a World Series game (sob), we took a walk and wanted more drinks and snacks. We were both going to use our digital payment systems. The friendly woman at the concession stand rang up my total and when she saw I wanted to use Apple Pay, she said, “Hang on. I have to send it. Okay, go.” I’m not sure what “I have to send it” really means in Apple Pay/retail speak, but this time, it worked without a hitch. I’d like to say the previous concession stand worker didn’t know how Apple Pay worked, but I can’t be sure. Google Wallet worked, as well. Drinks and snacks in hand, we meandered for another half inning before returning to our seats to watch Salvador Perez put the only run on the board for the Kansas City Royals that night. (Madison Bumgarner, you’re not half bad.)

The Royals fell 7-1 at their first World Series appearance in 29 years. And Apple Pay was two for three that day.

Extra Germ-Free Goodness

Another perk is the cleanliness of it all. I love not having to swipe. I love not having to hand over my card to some random cashier to swipe so I can put it back in my wallet and then use a germ-ridden pen or wand to sign for something. We don’t know where their hands have been and they handle the merchandise everyone else handles. OMG where is my Purell? Just thinking about this makes me feel ill.

Success, Failure, Success and 324 questions

I still have a few dozen questions about Apple Pay and Passbook: Will I need to carry around receipts from Homegoods and IKEA for returns? Can I pull up receipts later for past Apple Pay purchases? I’ve noticed other charges when I swipe my card appear in the list of transactions, so I’m guessing yes. Will my beloved Costco finally add its card to Passbook? Will Sephora let me add my VIB Rouge card to Passbook? How about Macy’s? My local grocery store? Could I add my license and insurance card?

Overall, I love the simplicity (and cleanliness) of it. I’ve downsized to a smaller wallet (yaaay!) and this could absolutely replace my wallet quite nicely, provided that I keep my phone charged (I have 18 or so chargers all over the place), and everyone—including insurance company and the DMV—gets on board and gets on Passbook.

About the Author

Kim McReynolds

Kim’s been an internet addict since Yahoo! was at Stanford. From website design to creating banner ads featuring fast-moving monkeys to project management she’s done it all - and much of it at Adknowledge or its predecessors. Today she helps lead the corporate marketing team. When she’s not throwing a party at Alcatraz or the Empire State Building she’s engrossed in event planning, brand management and corporate messaging.

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