Last weekend, it happened again. I used Apple Pay to buy dinner for my son and a couple of his friends in my favorite nationwide sandwich shop, and the sandwich artist behind the counter gazed up at me in amazement and said, “Wow.”
Wow, indeed. I regularly watch store clerks go all googly-eyed when they see their first Apple Pay transaction. Even I still feel a little bit of a thrill every time I nonchalantly stick my phone next to the card terminal and hear the familiar “ding” that means my transaction has been approved. It’s been out for more than a year, but Apple Pay still spawns a sense of wonder in those who see it and those who use it.
Unfortunately, this sense of wonder in payers seems to generate a corresponding feeling of foreboding in many bankers. And why not? For years, we industry experts have been warning financial institutions that third parties like Apple were going to “disintermediate” them and take away their payments franchise. But the last two years have shed some light on mobile proximity payments, and the Apple Pay monster hiding in the corner now looks more like a friend than a fiend.