When you add a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on your device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique code called a Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your iPhone or Apple Watch. Each transaction is then authorised with a one-time unique number using your Device Account Number. Instead of using the security code from the back of your card, Apple Pay creates a dynamic security code to securely validate each transaction.
Online shopping in apps with iPhone is also as simple as the touch of a finger. Users can pay for physical goods and services including apparel, electronics, health and beauty products, tickets and more with Touch ID. Checkout can happen with a single touch, so there’s no need to manually fill out account forms or repeatedly type in shipping and billing information. Most importantly, card details are kept private and are not shared with the online merchant.
Sadly, it’s rare for Ireland to be at the front of the queue for many new technology releases, and the US is usually the place to be for first dibs on Apple’s new toys. Apple Pay is no exception, and Apple has – at the time of writing, at least – no announcements regarding the roll-out of the new payment system outside of the United States. Similarly, Irish banks are keeping tight lipped about their expectations for mobile payment systems, whether in the form of Apple Pay or any competitor (keep reading for more on a potential rival).
However, all hope is not lost. The video below is a fascinating clip from TechSmartt reporter Matt, who managed to use Apple Pay in Ontario, Canada. That being said, Matt warns that certain ‘hacks’ need to be done before this is possible (e.g. changing your format settings to United States) and its use is also dependent on some conditions.
There is a very valid point that needs to be made as regards Apple Pay, or indeed, any other online or mobile payment system that involves a credit card.
You cannot use it without owning a credit card.
Whether in the US, the UK, Ireland or anywhere else, a credit card is not exactly something everyone owns. On top of that, Apple Pay has only partnered with a specific group of credit card companies and banks: American Express, Bank of America, CapitalOne, Chase, Citi, MasterCard, Visa, and Wells Fargo. Thankfully, Visa and MasterCard are by far the largest credit card companies in Ireland, with banks like Bank of Ireland and AIB using both.
If you don’t have a credit card, or happen to have one that isn’t on this list, fear not. All Irish ATM cards are now either Visa or MasterCard debit cards, which means that they will be suitable for use with Apple Pay. In short, Ireland is already prepared for the arrival of this new system.
Credit card requirements aside, the development of mobile payment systems is still a new – albeit expected – development. Speaking on Bloomberg Television, Visa President Ryan McInerney explained that Apple Pay was the first “partner” in a new project run by the credit card giants called ‘Tokenisation’, but that Apple wasn’t the only one on the list:
“We are working with issuers and partners in the US to bring to market a whole bunch of payment experiences…[which] allows merchants and partners to do things with a lot of flexibility that will be exciting for consumers”.
That said, not every company is willing to bow down to Apple’s new system. Unsurprisingly, a group of major American names – such as Walmart, Sears, Gap and ExxonMobil – have come together to form MCX: Merchant Customer Exchange. Their goal is to create a form of online mobile payment, similar to Apple Pay, called CurrentC.
Officially, us Irish will have to wait roughly as long as our neighbours in the UK, before we see Apple Pay become accepted in everyday transactions (and it’s not clear if CurrentC will be expanded outside the US). In the meantime, if you’re in possession of the suitable iPhones or Apple Watch, you could easily carry out the hacks advised by Matt in the above TechSmartt video.
What do you make of the new Apple Pay system? Have you tried using it in Ireland yet? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!