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Posts tagged with "apple pay"

Apple Pay Debuts in Italy

Apple Pay continued its global expansion today adding three Italian banks, Carrefour Banca, Unicredit, and Boon. Each financial institution’s credit and debit cards can be added to Apple Pay and used in a variety of retail shops and with online retailers. The addition of Italy to the list of countries with Apple Pay support had been widely anticipated since March when the payment service was first listed as ‘Coming Soon’ to Italy. In total, Apple Pay is now available in 16 countries worldwide.

Later this year, more financial institutions will be added to Apple Pay in Italy. According to Apple’s Italian Apple Pay website, American Express, CartaBCC, ExpendiaSmart, Fineco Bank, Hype, Mediolanum Bank, N26, and Widiba will be adding Apple Pay support. The site also lists some of the major retailers that have signed up to accept Apple Pay in Italy, including H&M, Eataly, Auchan, Carrefour, Simply Market, OVS, Limoni, Sephora, Esselunga, and others.


Dispelling the Apple Services Myth

Apple is known for its quality hardware and software, but services are another story.

Cloud-based services are the future – there's no denying that. And Apple historically has struggled with its cloud offerings. From MobileMe, to the early growing pains of iCloud, to the Apple Maps fiasco, the company gained a poor reputation in the area of services.

Only in the last two years has Apple publicly touted services as a core part of its business. Company press releases as recent as May 2015 ended with the following self-definition:

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

There's a lot that feels outdated here, including the fact that both Mac and iPod are highlighted before the iPhone. But one major way this paragraph fails to describe the Apple of today is that the word 'services' is nowhere to be found.

Amid a variety of other changes, Apple's current self-definition includes the following:

Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud.

Services are a key component of modern Apple. The way the company defines itself, along with the numerous services shoutouts in quarterly earnings calls, prove that.

Despite Apple's increased focus on services, the common narrative that the company "can't do services" still hangs around – in online tech circles at least.

But is that narrative still true, or has it grown outdated?

I want to share how I use Apple services in my everyday life across three important contexts of life:

  • As I work,
  • On the go, and
  • Around the house.

My aim is not to perform an in-depth comparison of Apple's cloud offerings and competing products. Though competitors and their features will come up occasionally, the focus here is on my experiences in everyday living – my experiences, not yours. I understand that just because something does or doesn't work for me, the same isn't necessarily true for you. The point of this piece is not to try proving anything; instead, I simply want to assess and share my current experiences with Apple's services.

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Apple Pay Launches in Ireland, Coming Soon to Italy

Benjamin Mayo, writing for 9to5Mac:

As we reported exclusively last night, Apple Pay is now live in Ireland. The service allows iPhone and Apple Watch owners to use the NFC chips in their devices to pay for their shopping at contactless terminals in retail stores across the country.

Apple Pay requires iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, or any Apple Watch, and is launching with support for Ulster Bank and KBC in Ireland. Apple has also announced that the service is coming soon to Italy.

I've been waiting for Apple Pay to launch in Italy, and I'm glad to see Apple has confirmed the service will roll out "soon". However, as I feared, my bank – despite being one of the largest banking groups in Italy – is not going to be supported at launch. This has happened with 14 other countries (including Ireland) before, though, and I hope Apple will quickly get other major Italian banks on board.

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Apple Pay Arrives on Safari

Apple Pay started with point of sale terminals and iOS apps. With iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, Apple has extended Apple Pay to include web-based purchases made with its Safari browser. Despite being limited to Safari, Apple Pay's combination of simplicity and security has the potential to make it a de facto requirement for online retailers.

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Apple Responds to Australian Banks’ Request to Collectively Boycott and Negotiate Over Apple Pay

Late last week Apple made a preliminary submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to the request for permission from various Australian banks to boycott Apple Pay and collectively negotiate with Apple. Apple's submission is comparatively brief at just three pages, but it clearly highlights the approach Apple will take in opposing the banks' request.

In its submission, Apple is quick to highlight the collective dominance of the banks in Australia which account for 66% of credit card balances in Australia, whilst characterising itself as the "new entrant to the Australian market" having only launched Apple Pay in November 2015.

The other angle of attack from Apple is more surprising, and in the submission it appears quite clear that Apple is asserting that the closed nature of the NFC antenna in the iPhone is pivotal to maintaining the security of its users.

Now they ask the ACCC for explicit permission to negotiate with Apple as a collective group. The goal of which is to force Apple and other third party providers to accept their terms, allow them to charge consumers that choose to use Apple Pay, and force Apple to undermine the security of its mobile payment service by opening access to the NFC antenna, placing at risk the consumer experience of a simple, secure, and private way to make payments in store, within, applications, or on the web.

Apple notes that it will make a further, more comprehensive submission, at a later date. But a key purpose of this prelimary submission was to persuade the ACCC that the banks should not be given any interim approval, and that the ACCC should take the "normal 6 month statutory period for assessment".

A few other interesting tidbits from Apple's submission:

  • Apple's discussions with Australian banks in relation to Apple Pay began in "late 2014". Apple Pay launched in the US in October 2014.
  • One of the applicant banks "has refused to even enter into a confidentiality agreement with Apple to allow for preliminary discussions about the terms under which it would participate in Apple Pay".
  • Apple argues that "interim authorisation of a collective boycott will have a lasting and irreversible impact on the adoption of Apple Pay and other third party wallets, and the Australian payment market".
  • Apple suggests that Apple Pay is not a competitive threat to the banks; "Unfortunately, and based on their limited understanding of the offering, the applicants perceive Apple Pay as a competitive threat".
  • Apple writes "These banks want to maintain complete control over their customers", I would wager the banks would say the exact same thing about Apple.

(via AFR)


Australian Banks Ask Competition Regulator to Allow Collective Boycott of Apple Pay

In a rather extraordinary move, four of Australia's largest banks have written to Australia's competition regulator requesting permission to join together in a collective boycott whilst they negotiate with third-party mobile wallet services including Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. The banks seeking permission include 3 of the 'Big 4' banks in Australia, being the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and Westpac Banking Corporation, but it also includes Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Notably, the fourth bank in the 'Big 4' absent from this request is ANZ which reached an agreement with Apple earlier this year to launch Apple Pay for its customers.

In a lengthy, 121-page submission, the four banks have written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) requesting such permission for a period of three years. The banks also flag the possibility that the arrangement could be extended to other card issuers in Australia who wish to participate in the collective negotiation and boycott. The banks argue that the collective negotiations will be limited so as to encourage the introduction of mobile wallet and mobile payment services in Australia that best promotes competition, best practice standards, and efficiency and transparency.

At the heart of their request is the claim that third party wallet providers have the power to "impose highly restrictive terms and conditions". The banks point out that 90% of smartphones sold in Australia run iOS or Android, and Samsung is the leading manufacturer of Android phones. Therefore, they claim, Google has significant bargaining power over Android, Samsung over Galaxy phones, and Apple over iPhones. But it is Apple that the banks say "has particularly significant bargaining power in negotiations relating to Apple Pay due to its control of both a key operating system and key mobile hardware". They point out that in Australia the iPhone has a share of 41.2% of the market and Apple sells the two most popular phones on the market.

The banks also make the argument that Apple has refused to permit third-party apps from accessing the NFC functionality contained in recent iPhones, unlike other manufacturers. They argue that it is inconsistent with other hardware and software features Apple has introduced such as the iPhone camera, accelerometer, and Touch ID sensor which are available to third-parties. Unfortunately, the banks also cite concerns over high rates of fraud which have since been debunked as spurious and unrelated to Apple Pay. The final key arguments from the banks relate to regulatory asymmetry - the fact that banks are faced with regulatory obligations in relation to fees and charges, but third-party wallet providers are not.

The objective of the banks here is to reach a deal with Apple that would allow them to use their own mobile payment solution on top of the NFC technology in iPhones and other smartphones. That seems to me to be highly unlikely given Apple's desire to control its platform, grow its services revenue and protect the privacy of its users. Besides, Apple has already been willing to negotiate for nearly 2 years since Apple Pay launched, it seems likely that they are content with playing the long game. Nonetheless, this submission from the Australian banks will likely concern Apple if it is approved as it may inspire banks in other regions to undertake similar actions.

You can read the banks' full submission to the ACCC here.

[via @TapDownUnder]


Apple Pay Launches in France

Starting today, Apple Pay is now available in France for credit and debit cards issued by Banque Populaire, Ticket Restaurant, Carrefour Banque, and Caisse d'Epargne. Apple's website also notes that support will soon be added for cards issued by Boon and Orange.

Out of the 4 big banks in France, just BPCE is supported (Banque Populaire and Caisse d'Epargne merged to become BPCE in 2009). There is no word on when cards issued by the other three big banks (BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole or Société Générale) will be supported by Apple Pay.

The international expansion of Apple Pay is slowly but surely gaining momentum, with France now the eighth country which has some level of Apple Pay support. Today's launch in France comes after Apple Pay launched in Switzerland earlier this month, and all 5 of Canada's big banks signed up for Apple Pay in early May. The other 5 countries with support for Apple Pay are the US, UK, Australia, China and Singapore.


Apple Pay Now Supported by ANZ in Australia

ANZ has become the first Australian bank to support Apple Pay, turning on support today for most customers with ANZ Visa credit or debit card and ANZ American Express cards. Although Apple Pay technically launched in Australia in November 2015, until today support was extremely limited to just those with an American Express issued card (a similar situation exists in Canada and Singapore).

ANZ is one of the "big four banks" in Australia, and as ANZ gleefully (I assume) point out in their Apple Pay terms and conditions, the other three do not support Apple Pay:

Apple Pay is not currently available at NAB, CommBank or Westpac.

The full list of supported ANZ cards are listed here.

It is interesting to note that most of ANZ Visa cards are supported, but no ANZ MasterCard cards are supported. Interestingly, last week's launch of Apple Pay in Singapore revealed that Visa support for Apple Pay in Singapore is coming soon to three of their domestic banks.

However, Apple's Australian website does note that MasterCard support is "coming soon".


Apple Pay Expands to Singapore Through American Express Partnership

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors, reports that Apple Pay has today launched in Singapore:

Apple today updated its website and its Apple Pay support document to note the expansion of the Apple Pay payment service to Singapore. With the addition of Singapore, Apple Pay is now available in six countries, including Canada, China, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Apple Pay is available in Singapore through a partnership with American Express, first announced by Apple in October of 2015. By partnering with American Express, Apple has brought Apple Pay to Singapore, Canada, and Australia and will expand it to Hong Kong and Spain later this year.

Unfortunately, Apple's partnership with American Express is once again limited to those who have a credit card issued by American Express for now. Those with an American Express card issued by their local bank will not be able to use Apple Pay – it is the same situation to Apple Pay in Australia and Canada. However, things may soon change, as Apple has listed on the Singaporean Apple Pay website that Visa support is "coming soon", as well as support for DBS, UOB and Standard Chartered.

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