It is a bit odd that New Zealand, which really is miles ahead of many other countries when it comes to digital payments and financial services, didn't get Apple Pay until today.

Apple Pay was announced two years ago, and the Australian's have had it since December last year for American Express, April this year for Visa and August for MasterCard, both via ANZ.

There is evidence that the Australian banks weren't happy with what was on the table from Apple which could explain why this part of the world didn't get the digital payments service until late.

Either way, it's here, through ANZ. Let's look at why you might want Apple Pay.

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First, yes, the whole thing is designed very well in typical Apple fashion and just works.

Setting up Apple pay is very easy. Just use the credit card registered with iTunes, or scan in the plastic and click a few times in the Wallet app on your iPhone or iPad, and you're done. We'll it'll have to be ANZ cards of course, at least for now.

If you have a Watch, this too can be used for contactless payments and it's equally easy to set up.

Using Apple Pay is very simple: just hover your iPhone over any Paywave-enabled terminal that can do contactless payments, and put a finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

That's it, you've just paid for your coffee or something else, with no need to wake up the phone, fire up an app, or enter a PIN (as long as the transaction is below $80).

Payments with the Watch are done by a double-tap on its side button, again very simple.

The Wallet can store loyalty and other cards too, and include them with your card transactions. This is a great feature, as it means you no longer have to bloat your wallet with increasing amounts of plastic - or having left them at home, when you need to use them. In theory at least: Apple Pay is new, and it'll take a while before loyalty schemes cotton on to this.

Another reason for ANZ iPhone owners to use Apple Pay - there's no setup, fees or application required to get it going - is that you pay for stuff in the US, UK, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries, with more coming onstream.

You don't need internet access to buy stuff either, as the terminal records the transaction, and the Apple devices provide the authentication for it, so nothing has to be sent networks to cloud servers.

The caveat here being ANZ's fees for overseas card transactions, and I hope the bank thinks hard about charges, and makes the minimal and transparent.


One feature that was definitely worth waiting for is the ability to use Apple Pay with the macOS Safari web browser for purchases. No need to create an account and login, just click the Apple Pay button on participating sites, put a finger on the iPhone's Touch ID sensor, and you're away. Web purchases are PIN-less until $80, ANZ's Liz MaGuire who worked on bringing Apple Pay to New Zealand, and the bank's mobile apps, said.

Apple reckons that Pay is more secure than standard plastic, and I can see what they mean: credit and debit card numbers are not stored in Apple Pay and not visible to anyone; the card verification value (CVV) security number is generated anew for each transaction, and it's not static like on plastic.

Ergo, a shoulder surfer isn't going to find out your credit card details from Apple Pay. As the FBI found out, getting into iPhones is very difficult. If you lose your phone, it's very unlikely that anyone will be able to use Apple Pay fraudulently. Whereas if your normal wallet goes astray, you have to be quick to contact the bank to cancel cards as the information for payments authorisation is totally visible on them.

i-Devices use a special chip, the Secure Element to store payment information safely from malware and hackers - it's out of reach of the iOS operating system even.

Tim Cook who runs Apple has come out publicly to say that your data is not the business model for the company, and they'll only sell hardware and software and not people. So far that statement has held true, and Apple is at pains to explain that it collects no information about what you buy, where and when with Pay. That makes total sense to me, not having to give up your privacy for shopping convenience.

All the above notwithstanding, my favourite Apple Pay feature has to do with accessibility.

We live in a cashless society, yet credit and debit cards are almost unusable if you're blind or partially sighted. There's no Braille on them, so you have to ask sighted friends and family to order them in your wallet for you, to get the right one. Even then, they usually get mixed up, so you never know which one you give out at the cafe or supermarket.

When it's time to pay, hi-tech terminals often use touch screens for PIN entry. This means you have the option of cancelling the transaction or giving your PIN to the cashier to enter, neither which is acceptable.

Worse, shameless people can rip off the blind and partially sighted by increasing the transaction value because... they can't see how much is being charged. Appalling.

Apple Pay fixes many of those issues by reading out which card is being used, the transaction amounts, and other information. You can also go back and forth, and have your iPhone read out transactions to you. Full marks to Apple for that.

Why would you not want Apple Pay? Well, you're an Android user, or baulk at the paying the price for iPhones and Watches, and it's kind of annoying it's only ANZ doing it at the moment.

Taking the bigger view, I wish Apple had teamed up with the local guys, EFTPOS, and other smaller payments providers, and not just the big banks and credit card issuers. Guess that one went out of the window when smartphones became a hit and those Paywave contactless credit/debit cards appeared and EFTPOS carried on with a magnetic stripe. Anyway, it's uncomfortable having basic stuff like payments being controlled by massive overseas conglomerates.