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Bonking with Apple is no fun 'cos it's too hard to pay, say punters

Strong start but service is losing its lucre lustre

Apple Pay users find bonking unsatisfying, and once they've tried it many don’t want to do it again, according to a new study.

The overall trends appear promising for the fruity firm's foray into personal finance, with 66 per cent of iPhone 6 users having signed up for the service since it launched less than six months ago, and of those, 88 per cent have actually tried using it.

These are impressive numbers, way higher than we’ve seen with other mobile wallets where only a tiny proportion of customers have signed up, and then only around half went on to actually try it. Last week, Vodafone politely declined to give us figures for its wallet.

Unfortunately, it’s all downhill thereafter for the Apple Pay numbers from Phoenix Marketing International's study, with over two thirds of users having at least one problem at the check-out.

Nearly half said that the merchant terminal took too long to record the transaction, and nearly as many found that the sales staff were unfamiliar with Apple Pay and unable to help.

Worryingly, more than a third said that “transactions were posted incorrectly or double posted”.

The traditional problem with new payment methods is the lack of acceptance. It’s the key to Samsung’s LoopPay which works with magnetic stripe readers.

The concern over this barrier to acceptance is well-founded, with 59 per cent of the 302 Apple Pay users Phoenix surveyed online saying that they had asked shops if they took Apple Pay, with 47 per cent finding that shops which were listed as accepting phone bonking did not actually do so.

However, the report also notes that “merchant acceptance or technical issues were cited very infrequently as reasons for not using Apple Pay”.

Phoenix is recommending that Apple works harder on the Passbook application, detailing specifically which shops use the Apple Pay system on a store-by-store basis, rather than at a corporate level.

Apple Pay isn’t make or break for NFC payments: it’s just break. If Apple gets Apple Pay to work it doesn’t guarantee that other schemes will succeed - but if Apple Pay fails, it becomes very hard to see anyone else succeeding. ®


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