Apple built a generic, almost foolproof device-level identity security system around TouchID, Secure Enclave, and custom secure element hardware at the lowest level of iOS that can be opened up to pretty much anyone Apple wants to let in. This is unique, and I don't see anyone else who can replicate this. Apple is merely renting this security service out to the banks for the price of a percentage of the transaction. They don't need to build a proprietary payment network, or even be a link in the payment chain.
And this system can work equally as well for health providers securing user identity to exchange HIPAA covered health data for Healthkit (for a modest fee, naturally). They can rent it to employers to secure their employee identity - not just for getting into corporate applications but add HomeKit into the mix and a company can put an NFC lock on a door, issue tokens to the iPhones of the 10 employees allowed into that room, and that gives them the ability to unlock the door with their iPhone following a positive fingerprint check. The employer can remotely revoke those tokens as needed.
This is effectively a way to replace username and passwords for anything from your iPhone or Apple Watch, if Apple builds it out to its full potential. It relieves the burden of choosing good passwords, remembering them, securing them, and puts all of the control on the agency that needs to control the security, rather than on the one being secured.
The recent partnership with IBM might make more sense now.
Shout-out to the people who said TouchID is boring, not innovative, and no different than any other fingerprint scanner out there.
Sources tell Bank Innovation that it will probably utilize Apple’s iBeacon program, which is why Apple started selling — and possibly giving away free to select merchants — the iBeacons a while ago. It can also pass richer data than an NFC connection, according to experts who asked to remain anonymous due to the secrecy of the development behind Apple Pay.
Here’s how a source described it back in August 2014:
One way they’ve [Apple] thought up is, say you’re in a Duane Reade, hypothetically. You get a push notification from Pepsi that they’ve worked out a deal with Duane Reade that you can get a free case of Pepsi. Just pick it up and use Apple Pay at the counter.
This is plausible and could be great for bringing consumers and retailers together. It will drive user adoption to Apple Pay while also paving the way for other NFC-based solutions, like Google Wallet. (Sources say that Apple initially pitched a BLE-based solution, but financial institutions shut that down quickly because it wasn’t precise or ubiquitous enough.)
2011: Bluetooth LE = "Bluetooth? That's nothing new."
2012: Passbook = "wtf is this?"
2013: TouchID, iBeacons = "A fingerprint scanner? Whoopty fucking doo."
2014: Apple Pay = “Kinda cool but it won't catch on.”
2015: Apple Pay Loyalty Programs = $$$$$$$ = "Yeah well, Google Wallet was first..."
Apple Pay has the better technology but they lack the retail support to dominate. If you can't use Apple Pay almost everywhere, it's doomed. Some say that consumers will look to change where they shop based on their support of mobile payments but I have a hard time believing that. If anyone can pull this upset off it's Apple, but it will need the surrender of the largest retailers in the world who are fighting tooth and nail against credit card fees.
Good luck gaining consumer awareness of CurrentC in the first place.
Good luck getting consumers to download the CurrentC app vs. Apple Pay which will be built into every new iPhone model from this point on.
Good luck convincing consumers that holding up their iPhone with their thumb on TouchID is less convenient than:
- Pulling out your smartphone from your pocket
- Unlocking your smartphone
- Opening your CurrentC application
- Entering your 4-digit passcode
- Pressing the Pay button
- Either scannig the Secure Paycode that the cashier presents (default) or pressing the Show button at the bottom of your screen to allow the cashier to scan your Secure Paycode
- Selecting the payment account that you would like to use
- Pressing the Pay Now button
That's great that CurrentC is backed by a lot of big name retailers. But for mobile payments to catch on in the U.S., you need to satisfy multiple groups of players: consumers, merchants, credit card companies, and banks. Apple has solid backing by all four at launch time. CurrentC doesn't even have two.
Good luck with that.
UPDATE: CurrentC has already been hacked. LOL.
You can't buy a latte with your iPhone 6. Starbucks is only supporting the in-app version of Apple Pay. It will be "primarily for loading and reloading" your Starbucks Card, says Maggie Jantzen, a Starbucks spokesperson. Starbucks stores don't currently have the NFC technology needed to make use of Apple's tap-to-pay feature. [...]
Apple Pay will save you from having to enter in your credit- or debit-card number if you need to reload your Starbucks Card. But you're far better off just using the Starbucks app and keeping your card on file for automatic reloads. And it changes nothing about how you actually pay for your latte.
This is rather disappointing. Apple Pay needs to become a habit before it can really catch on with consumers. I like how McDonald's, Subway, Petco, Whole Foods, and Chevron are on the list of launch partners, but how many people go to these places on the daily basis? Starbucks customers get coffee EVERY DAY.
I'm still bullish on Apple Pay and (US) mobile payments in general, but early adoption would be much stronger if Starbucks were on board completely.
Google did it first. Apple does it better. These are the important details that you'd never see in a tech spec sheet. These are subtle differences that separate an Android feature from an Apple solution.