For Apple Pay to really improve our lives, Apple needs to improve loyalty card support
Macworld|May 2020
You’re not saving any time paying with your phone if you have to pull a loyalty card out of your wallet.
JASON CROSS

Since getting an Apple Card (go.macworld.com/apcrd), I’ve tried to use Apple Pay as much as I possibly can (in order to get the higher 2 percent cash back rate). Forcing myself to pay with my phone as much as possible has taught me several things.

First, Apple Pay is very broadly supported now. I can use it in far more places than I could even two years ago. Second, a lot of vendors don’t know if their payments systems support paying by phone or not, nor how it works. As popular as Apple Pay and Google Pay are, they’re still used infrequently enough that many cashiers hardly ever see anyone try it. When it works, it’s great—it really is a faster, more convenient, and safer way to pay for stuff.

But the thing I learned most is that using Apple Pay rarely saves any time compared with using a credit or debit card. Half of the places I spend money have loyalty cards of one kind or another, and I always have to dig into my wallet to grab it.

If Apple is going to make the “just tap and go” vision of Apple Pay a reality, it will need to do a lot more to help vendors integrate their loyalty card programs.

People care about more than the benefits of their credit card, like cash back. For millions of users, loyalty cards are an essential part of shopping.

AN ESSENTIAL PART OF PAYMENT

Loyalty cards and programs are everywhere these days. Every major drug store chain, supermarket chain, hotel chain, as well as department stores, movie theaters, hardware stores (basically, probably any company at which you pay in person that has at least 50 locations) have some sort of loyalty card program.

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