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So we've seen the announcement yesterday that Apple are going to launch Apple Pay in the UK. It’s a contactless technology that allows you to make payments using your mobile phone.
In the last few years there’s been the introduction of contactless credit and debit cards where you can go into a store and present your card against the card reader. This allows a customer, for any purchase under £20, to make an instant payment without needing to enter their pin. It’s a much more efficient way of making small payments.
So, does this mark the end of cash? Probably not. But it could mean that you can leave the house without needing to take a wallet full of cards, receipts and other loose ends. Instead you’ll be able to use your mobile as a payment device for multiple payment sources. You'll be able to link your mobile phone with different payment cards and make payment using tools such as Apple Pay. The result should be a simpler, faster and easier in-store buying process for customers.
However, as with any new retail technology, it will inevitably present some challenges. There’ll be potential issues to consider around security. Equally, point of sale and retail technology companies will need to consider how this will be incorporated into their software and hardware. Customers using Apple Pay will expect a seamless experience, so extensive testing and staff training will be needed.
If implemented well, adding Apple Pay in store could enhance the customer experience by speeding up the checkout process and provide customers with an increased level of convenience. It could provide another vital point of difference for retailers in an ever competitive landscape.
Contactless and mobile payments won’t take over the retail payment scene overnight, but it is further progress in digital convergence agenda, connecting up online and offline customer experiences across all channels. Very few retailers have fully achieved this yet, but the possibilities are there. It’s an exciting time and one we’ll keep a close eye on.