Even though I upgraded to an iPhone® 6 about six months ago and have noticed more of the places I shop at were starting to offer Apple Pay, the truth is I’ve just been lazy about setting it up on my phone. And with Apple Pay being available for well over a year, plus a recent spike in its users, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. As a newbie, here’s my 24-hour adventure in using Apple Pay.
How to Get Started
To get started, you’ll need to input your card info through iPhone’s Wallet. You can do this either manually or by scanning the front of your card. If you opt for the latter, your phone will scan your card number, name, and expiration date. It was super simple to do and kind of fun, almost like digital “magic.” I got a little eager and proceeded to add any card it would accept. So with three cards stored in my Apple Pay digital wallet, I ventured out in the streets of Los Angeles to try it at some of my favorite retailers.
American Eagle Outfitters – Burbank
Time: Saturday, 7:42 p.m.
Battery juice left: 85 Percent
It’s Saturday night and I’m at the Burbank Town Center mall in the Valley. After scouring the clearance racks for end-of-the-year bargains, I get in line to buy a pair of fuzzy cotton socks. I tell the sales associate I’ll be using Apple Pay. She replies, “Umm..okay.” I don’t think she knew what I was talking about. I use Touch ID to activate the reader. A message pops up that prompts me to hold your phone near the reader to pay. For fellow newbies, the reader is an add-on that rests on top of the payment terminal. After my transaction was denied twice, I gave up. It turns out I made a rookie mistake: Even though AEO is an official Apple Pay retailer, this specific store location didn’t have the reader installed. Womp.
McDonald’s – Burbank
Time: Saturday, 7:50 p.m.
Battery juice left: 82 Percent
Before I leave the Burbank mall I grab a bite to eat at the food court. Although I don’t eat at Mickey D’s as much as I used to, it’s one of my defaults for the late-night munchies and mall food. I order my usual Number 2. This time there was a reader in clear view. With a quick wave of my phone the transaction went through. It was pretty much seamless. Success!
Walgreens – El Segundo
Time: Sunday, 8:13 a.m.
Battery juice left: 96 Percent
After dropping off my brother at LAX in the morning I stop by a Walgreens to pick up a few sundry items. I decide to take just my car keys and phone and leave my bag in the car. It feels kind of liberating. As a bargain bin rummager, I try not to spend too much like I normally do at the clearance section and make a beeline toward the cashier. When I am accidentally overcharged for a sale item, the cashier tells me I’ll need the physical card to transfer the difference back into my account. Otherwise I’d be given the difference in cash. I don’t feel like going back to my car for my card, so opted for the cash.
I ask the cashier if a lot of people were using Apple Pay and she nodded and said, “Yes. It’s easier and faster.” And I agree. It’s quicker than using a card, especially ones with an EMV chip, where you insert your card into the terminal and wait.
Lyft – West Hollywood
Time: Sunday, 2:50 p.m.
Battery juice left: 74 Percent
I request a Lyft ride to meet up with my friend for an afternoon hike at Runyon Canyon. The cool thing about linking Apple Pay to your Lyft account (and to any online retailers such as, say, Etsy for that matter) is that you don’t need to separately link up several cards to your account. Your cards will be linked through a single source.
My driver Jennifer pulls up and although I had opted for Lyft Line, which is where you share a ride with fellow rideshare passengers, I ride alone. I add a tip and complete the transaction like I normally do, and receive a pop-up notification with details about the transaction, such as the merchant, date, approximate time, and amount. Cool beans.
After spending 24 hours using Apple Pay, I was hooked. While not 100 percent perfect, it was really easy to use, almost too easy. I’ll still carry around a card or two with me just in case, but I’m definitely an Apple Pay convert.