Apple's long-rumored push into the online checkout world became a reality today when it announced Apple Pay payments will come to the web this fall as part of an update to the Mac operating system the company has dubbed macOS Sierra.
What's even more impactful about Apple's move into online checkout is that shoppers can confirm Apple Pay Safari browser purchases through their Touch ID-compatible devices. Such a system is seen as an efficient way for retailers to combat online fraud, which has exploded worldwide in recent years as countries migrated to EMV payment cards.
"Banks, retailers and consumers desparately want a way to make online shopping safer, and integrating Apple Pay's fingerprint sensor technology is an important step toward doing just that," Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com senior industry analyst, said in an email to Mobile Payments Today.
Apple made the announcement Monday in San Francisco as part of its World Wide Developers Conference.
An initial downside to Apple Pay Safari payments is that it's only available within Apple's universe. Potential users must use a Mac computer with the Sierra upgrade, visit a participating retailer's website through the Safari browser, and own an Apple device with Touch ID. While those restrictions might seem counterproductive to widespread adoption, millions of consumers worldwide have bought into Apple's ecosystem of products and services.
"This is not about payments, it is about making the shopping experience as simple as possible for consumers," Ajay Kapur, CEO and founder of e-commerce services provider Moovweb, told Mobile Payments Today in an email. "We feel this innovation will change the game for retailers and give them the weapon they need to compete with Amazon."
Moovweb recently announced a $10 million investment in its own platform to help its retail partners get ready for Apple Pay web payments.
Shopify also announced it will help its 275,000 small and medium-sized business partners become eligible for Apple Pay web payments.
To recap, let's take a quick look at three Apple Pay/mobile payments-related news to come out of WWDC today in San Francisco.
- We've already discussed Apple Pay via the Safari browser. This future capability comes at a time when the online checkout world is bursting at the seams with different paths retailers can take to increase online conversion rates. In addition to Apple Pay, retailers can choose from Visa Checkout, MasterCard's MasterPass, PayPal, Pay with Amazon and slew of smaller players. And don't forget Android Pay is coming to retail websites in the future as well. "From our perspective, stored credentials like this are one of the best ways to solve checkout abandonment," Scott Fitzgerald, senior vice president of marketing for e-commerce services provider BlueSnap, told Mobile Payments Today in an email. "It helps drive up payment conversions and reduces the steps at checkout – each of these can be worth anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of an improvement in checkout conversion rates."
- While Apple is rumored to be working on a P2P payments system within iMessage, the company today announced third-party apps for the messaging service that will include efforts from Square Cash and Venmo. Come this fall, when the iOS update is available, iMessage will become a way to send money to friends and family via the Apple ecosystem. Many payments observers noted today that Apple's new iMessage capbilities make the system more like Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, which already have P2P functionality. Snapchat actually rides Square Cash's rails for such payments.
- Apple also announced today Apple Pay is coming to in-app purchases on the Apple Watch via an OS update this fall. Users already can make tap-and-pay Apple Pay payments at the physical point-of-sale, but this forthcoming capability will give consumers yet another way to make remote in-app mobile payments.
Apple also expects to roll out Apple Pay this summer in three more countries: France, Hong Kong and Switzerland.
Will Hernandez / Will Hernandez has 14 years of experience ranging from newspapers to wire services and trade publications. Before becoming Editor of MobilePaymentsToday.com, he spent two years as the content manager for PaymentsJournal.com, a leading payments industry news aggregator and information hub published by Mercator Advisory Group. Will spent four years covering the payments industry as an associate editor for multiple publications in SourceMedia's Payments Group based in Chicago.