Apple Pay Arrives In Australia, Drives Users To Switch Banks
ANZ became the first bank in Australia to offer Apple Pay to its customers and as a result the bank is seeing significant churn of account holders from other banks looking to make use of the service. Retail staff were inundated with iPhone owners seeking to open accounts even before the announcement went public.
What can we tell from this news? Australian Apple owners are more loyal to their phone than their bank, that's for sure. Also Apple has done a very good job of building up expectations of the phone based payment service. However we can also surmise that there are going to be an awful lot of underwhelmed Aussies in a couple of months as the reality of the service sets in.
Paywave terminals are becoming more common, however there are far from ubiquitous. As a result those iPhone users will still need to carry their cards with them. And for transactions under the PIN-requirement cap it's far easier to use a card than a phone. The Apple Watch may work a little better, but to be honest it's neither a particularly graceful nor reliable way of making a payment.
The problem is that smartphone payments aren't transformative. If Paywave machines were everywhere it would be reasonable to leave physical cards at home and travel equipped only with an iPhone. They aren't and therefore it isn't.
The only technology which comes close to resolving this would be Samsung's LoopPay, which manages to cover both NFC and plain old magnetic stripe authentication at the same time. It comes close because these two technologies cover almost all the payment card readers out there. However with some stores using non-NFC, smart chip only machines without stripe readers, almost isn't quite good enough.
For ANZ being the first Australian Bank with Apple Pay may win it some customers thanks to kudos, however I suspect that those customers will also become quickly disillusioned with the process when they realise its limitation. Which means ANZ is going to have to work hard to persuade retailers to upgrade their payment machines before all parties can benefit from this little breakthrough.