At the end of October last year I made a commitment – if the first bank to launch Apple Pay in Australia wasn’t St George, I’d be switching banks and taking my accounts there. A few weeks ago ANZ became that first bank to launch here in Australia and I’ve made the switch – let me tell you, it was easy.
When it was first announced that Apple Pay was coming to Australia last year the immediate excitement among geeks like me was quickly tempered by the fact it was only going to be American Express issued AMEX cards that would work on Apple Pay. Fortunately for me, I am one such cardholder, so I was there on day one last year tapping my watch or phone at terminals paying for coke, petrol and groceries.
But I don’t just use my AMEX, I primarily pay for things with my debit card – force of habit, and keeping my debt limits low – St George though – being my bank, didn’t have the option.
So – fast forward about six months, and we’ve got one of the big-four banks ready to go. True to my word, it was time to walk into my local branch and setup an account.
— Trevor Long (@trevorlong) May 11, 2016
I was inside the branch for 15 minutes. The staff were quick and friendly, and advised that my card would arrive in 3-5 business days.
Well today, Friday – a letter arrived, it felt like a card, and inside – yep, my new ANZ was inside. After the normal online activation process, it was time to enable Apple Pay.
And that process is super simple. Open the Wallet App on your iPhone. Press the little “Plus” sign next to Pay and you’ll kick off the process.
The app uses your phone’s camera to “see” your ANZ (Or AMEX) card, and reads the numbers and expiry. You enter the security code from the back and then you’ll be prompted to get a verification code via SMS. Once entered, your card is added and it’s time to tap and go!
Seriously, the process couldn’t be easier.
Speaking to EFTM, Managing Director of Product and Marketing for ANZ Matt Boss was very positive about the impact Apple Pay had on the business since launch “We’ve absolutely seen incremental business, visits to our website ANZ.com, incremental account growth on both credit card and everyday banking side and we’re seeing volumes of traffic on the Apple Pay Micro Site”
While he couldn’t comment on the actual number of sign-ups there was no doubt the Apple Pay launch had seen new customers for ANZ – “All in all the result of this has been great on many many fronts across the board.”
And don’t discount the power of the people when it comes to forcing the hand of your financial institution. Matt Boss told EFTM “There’s a clear demand from customers”… “we’ve seen that throughout all kinds of engagement”… “if you just look at the amount of questions, the amount of asking for it, and as Shane our CEO said he’s gotten both social media inquiries and letters from customers – so there is absolutely demand, and some of the metrics we’ve talked about show the demand is very real.”
I spoke with Apple’s Vice President, Internet Services, Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey and asked her what Aussies who are customers of other banks can do to get their banks on board with Apple Pay:
“I think that our iPhone customers are passionate customers of Apple’s platform and our technologies, we do want to enable Apple Pay as much as possible on a global basis and on an in market basis, so we love to hear their feedback about their desire to use Apple Pay and their experiences with Apple Pay”
In other words, don’t hold back – don’t be quiet about it. ANZ clearly responded to their customers, and the other banks need to hear the same. And don’t be afraid to tell them you’ll take your business elsewhere.
For those who feel concerned about tap-and-go payments, you should know that Apple Pay creates a whole new level of security for you. As Jennifer Bailey told me “With Apple Pay, we don’t store your actual credit card numbers on the device, or on our servers. Instead we’re using a unique device account number which is stored encrypted on the secure element of your iPhone or iPad – the secure element is sort-of a walled off hardware vault for the payment information”
One of the common questions I get is “can someone use your card if they steal or find your phone? – and the answer is no – Jennifer explains “It’s super secure when you pay in store, because we require Touch ID or your passcode – so no payment is ever sent without your authentication, on an Apple Watch you authenticate when you put the watch on your wrist and enter your passcode.”
Apple Pay is the simplest and most secure payment process you’ll use, and it’s just the start. Android Pay will launch in Australia mid-year and we expect most banks to support that from the get-go. Soon we won’t need a wallet at all – and we’ll have the security of our smartphones to protect us.
Yes, some banks offer apps and tap and go compatibility – the problem is they are limited to specific devices, running certain versions of software.
If you’re not happy that your bank because they’re not offering a service that you want, you’ve got to vote with your money – shift banks. Sooner or later they’ll get the message.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.