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How to accept Apple Pay

7 January 2019 Product Information

Apple project that Apple Pay will account for half of mobile wallet users by 2020.

When it comes to loyalty, few brands have such a fanatical following around the world.

In the UK Brand Loyalty Index 2017, Apple was ranked as the number two brand UK consumers are most loyal to. Surprisingly, Samsung was first, but Apple beat a host of others, including: Dyson, Marmite, Amazon, Dove, Sony…

So, if you’re thinking about accepting mobile payments you have to take a closer look at Apple Pay.


What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is a mobile payment from Apple that enables customers to pay for goods and services by holding the device near a card reader, just as they would a contactless debit card.

In addition, it is also a digital wallet, so-called, because it stores the user’s card details to make online purchases. Once a card is set up, there’s no need to enter card details again.


How does it work?

Apple Pay uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to make contactless mobile payments. What is NFC? Simply, NFC uses wireless technology to enable different devices to communicate with each other. So, instead of physically swiping a card through a reader, the phone and reader communicate remotely.

NFC has a very short-range, but you don’t actually have to tap the reader, but simply pass the phone within a couple of inches of the terminal. But most people feel happier with a tap or two, so why not?  The phone transmits a unique transaction code to you, the merchant’s system. You don’t get details of the user’s actual card or account number. That data is stored separately and securely and the system gives it a single unique code. So, it’s even more secure than the average credit card.


Is it safe to accept Apple Pay?

Apple Pay uses a security payment method called tokenization, which replaces sensitive card data on the mobile phone with something called a token. The token is a series of numbers or symbols that are used to represent the card data and are meaningless on their own.

The only parties that can decrypt, or detokenize the token are the card networks that have access to the tool to do so, under strict security protocols.

Sales assistants and employees do not see a user’s credit card at any point, so they don’t  have access to any personal information.

Using Apple Pay in an app or on a website bypasses all of the steps that are usually required when making an online purchase, including entering shipping and payment information.

If an iPhone is lost, the owner can use ‘Find My iPhone’ to suspend all payments from the device, without needing to go through the hassle of canceling credit cards.

Banks are so confident in Apple Pay’s security, they have opted to assume liability for any fraudulent purchases made both in retail stores and online using the system.


What are the benefits of accepting Apple Pay for merchants?

  1. You can reward loyal customers

Apple Pay users can store any card with a barcode. So, you can offer them vouchers, coupons, or certificates with barcodes. This way, they can earn points even when they don’t have their physical card with them.

  1. Online Security

Instead of inputting card details for every transaction, Apple Pay customers can authorise the transaction with Face ID, Touch ID, or passcodes for the authentication process.

  1. Give your customers a choice.

Accept Apple Pay and you’re giving your customers a choice of payment. You might also attract new customers who are loyal to Apple.


How much does it cost to accept Apple Pay?

Assuming you have a fairly new POS system, the short answer is – nothing. All you have to do is call your provider and have them turn on the feature for you.

As a small business owner who accepts credit cards and debit cards, you know about the fees for processing them.

With Apple Pay, your processing fees remain the same. There’s no additional charge for an Apple payment versus a traditional credit card payment.


How to find out if you already accept Apple Pay?

You may already be equipped to accept Apple Pay and just don’t know it.

If you already accept credit and debit cards, check your merchant account statement and terminal for the payment account details. Then ask your credit card processor or terminal provider to confirm if your card machine has an NFC reader. Ask if you can accept Apple Pay.

You may then have four options:


  1. Your terminal is NFC capable, and it has the correct software.

If this is the case, double check to make sure that it works for all payment networks such as: Visa, Mastercard, Amex, credit cards and debit cards.

  1. Your terminal is NFC capable, but it needs to be updated.

Your merchant account provider might update your terminal automatically, or you might need to update from your terminal. Your provider should be able to help upgrade your terminal for each of the major payment networks.

  1. Your terminal isn’t NFC capable, and you need to replace it.

Ask if your merchant provider offers a free terminal upgrade. You might have to extend your agreement or contract to lease or purchase a new terminal. This should come with the latest software.

  1. Your provider can’t update your terminals or get new ones.

In this worst-case scenario, you might have to change your current merchant account provider.

If in doubt about how to accept Apple Pay as a small business, visit ‘About Apple Pay for Merchants’ to get more information, or contact Apple merchant support.


How to process refunds with Apple Pay.

Use the customer’s Device Account Number to find the purchase and process the return, just as you would with a plastic credit, debit, or prepaid card payment.

Match the information on the receipt to the last four digits of their digital card number in Apple Pay, not their physical card.

Then ask them to hold the device within a few centimeters of the reader and authorise the return with Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode. That’s it. Fast and simple.


What is the spending limit?

When Apple Pay first launched in the UK, there was a transaction limit of £30. But many outlets have now set their terminals to allow much higher amounts to be paid.


Does it work with all bank cards?

Most banks and card providers accept Apple Pay including:

  • American Express
  • Barclays
  • First Direct
  • HSBC
  • Halifax
  • Lloyds
  • MBNA
  • M&S
  • NatWest
  • Nationwide Building Society
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Santander
  • Tesco Bank
  • TSB
  • Ulster Bank
  • Co-operative bank
  • Transport For London accepts Apple Pay for users to set a payment card as a ‘transport card’ to use on all TfL services and most National Rail services in London. They can simply tap their phone against the card reader, without needing to wake it or verify the transaction.


Why you should accept Apple Pay now.

Your business may be small now, but by keeping up with advances like Apple Pay, you could help it grow bigger. You could increase sales and attract more customers.

If you’re tempted to try it out, just ask a few of your customers if they use Apple Pay. If some say they do, try it out. You’ve nothing to lose. And you may be very pleasantly surprised.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.