Recently, I was having a discussion with a colleague regarding my latest “genius idea”. After another instance of misplacing a credit card, I posed the question of why there isn’t a single card that could encompass all of the components of one’s wallet, from a driver’s license to a debit or credit card. After taking a moment to digest this, my coworker responded, “sounds a lot like Apple Pay”. From there, many others jumped in explaining their recent experiences where Apple Pay came in handy, forgetting a wallet at home or being in a pinch situation.
Though Apple Pay may not be as comprehensive as my original pitch, it did open my eyes to the relevancy, especially as I have not fully explored the possibilities or what the future withholds with such technology. With Apple Pay, it is possible to upload card information, and by using near-field communication (NFC) chips embedded in the phone, customers can make payments by holding the device to a sensor. Multiple cards can be added and available at the user’s fingertips, instantly accessible without needing to dig through a purse or wallet.
After being introduced to this, I was very impressed and could foresee the implications for the future with this mobile technology. Could this span beyond at some point, for example, with a license or business card? I can recall a number of occasions where my I.D. or business card was requested, and I didn’t have this on hand. Will mobile devices replace the need for a physical wallet completely? Could there be a way to simple upload gift card information without the prerequisite of downloading an app?
This question leads to the biggest foreseeable hurdle: Laziness. It is the same reason that QR Codes originally failed – the requirement to download a QR Code scanner app to access the requested information. The process was tedious, and would likely consume the same amount of time as typing a URL into a web browser. In a second example, I can attest to this personally, as even after being scolded on all of this valuable information, I still have yet to implement Apple Pay. Without a true need, my motivation has not been strong enough to go through the process. This begs the question, will people always be given the option of a tangible alternative or will mobile payment take over and force users to adopt and adapt?