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Touch to Pay

With the release of iOS 8.1, Apple didn’t just give us new operating system – it also gave us a new, revolutionary mobile payment technology that may just change the way we conduct our daily financial transactions in the future. Dubbed Apple Pay, the mobile payment service has attracted a lot of positive attention and praise from the general public so far.

Apple has even gotten several high profile banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, large retail partners like McDonalds, and Walgreen interested in Apple Pay. The USP of Apple Pay is that it will, theoretically, act as a replacement for your wallet and be more secure than your wallet ever could be.

How, you ask? Let’s find out.

How Does Apple Pay Work Exactly?

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Apple Pay, once you set it up, is very simple to use. All you have to do is place your finger on the Touch ID (which is a part of the most recently launched Apple devices) and hold your phone near a special contactless reader at a store. Your phone will transmit your Apple Pay data to an electronic reader by using NFC (near field communication) technology. Essentially, Apple Pay works as a replacement for your credit cards, debit cards and even your wallet. It connects a credit card or multiple credit cards, to itself. Think of it as an alternative to PayPal, but for your phone.

You can also make in-app purchases with Apple Pay though the amount of apps that support apple pay is limited at the moment. Expect that to change soon, though, as developers are starting to wake up to the potential of Apple Pay.

How Does Apple Pay Make your Credit Card Transactions More Secure?

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We’ve established that Apple Pay is convenient, but it’s certainly no more so than swiping your credit card on a card reader. What makes Apple Pay special, in fact, is that it guarantees you a secure as well as a convenient transaction, something that regular credit cards don’t. For instance, when you swipe a credit card at a store, there’s always a chance that the cashier could catch a glimpse of your personal details, like your address, your name and even your 16 digit credit card number. Some credit card readers have skimmers installed, so they could even store away a copy of your credit card when you swipe.

Apple Pay, however, is substantially more secure because it uses a Tokenization technology to transmit a one-time electronic security code to the reader through NFC. Tokenization technology assigns your credit card a unique token (a number). This unique token is stored on your iPhone (and not your card number) and is never uploaded to Apple’s servers.

The electronic machine to validate your payment reads this token, along with a unique, randomly generated security code. The machine then deducts the balance from your credit card connected to Apple Pay. Your 16 digit credit card number never comes into play during the entire process, which makes the transaction very secure. Even if someone intercepts and deciphers the token somehow, is useless because the security code with it is one-time use only.

And what if someone steals your iPhone? Apple Pay uses Touch ID (fingerprint scanner) for verification, so no one but you or another registered user can make use your device for payments. Sounds pretty secure, doesn’t it?

Setting up Apple Pay

Setting up Apple Pay is simple. Just go to the Passbook app and look for the “add a credit card” option. You can directly connect the card you use for iTunes to the Passbook app by entering the security code, or you can add a brand new card by using the iPhone’s iSight camera to take a snapshot of the card.

You can also add a card manually, if you so choose. Please note that Apple devices that contain the Touch ID scanner – namely the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6+ are the only ones which support Apple Pay currently. Apple Pay will also reportedly work with Apple Watch when the device releases next year.

Finally

Apple Pay never shares your credit card details with a merchant and ensures that only you can make payments with your phone. It is, perhaps, the most secure payment method on the planet at the moment, so don’t hesitate to try it out.

Also Read : First Impressions: The Google Wallet Debit Card