So How’s Apple Pay in Australia?

So we finally got Apple Pay in Australia the week before last. Well, a lite version anyway. Apple Pay Lite provides the choice of one provider. American Express. A card that forever reminds me of the 80s. Not just because that’s the last time I had one, but the logo triggering an inner Rorschach response of besuited business men and long long lunches.

In fact, I didn’t know that Amex could even be used in the ubiquitous Tap & Go, Pay Wave/Pass terminals. These little wonders are so fast and now so common across Australia that being behind someone paying with cash feels a lot like being stuck behind the proverbial Grannie with a bag of pennies.

Australia’s big four banks, a mega profitable cartel predicted to collectively take in $30 billion in profits this year has so far given Apple Pay a resounding “up yours”. My bank, Westpac, even pointed to their own consumer banking software as a reason that Apple Pay isn’t needed. Now, I extensively use Westpac’s software. It makes me swear. A lot. It is classic turn of the century stuff. If Amex reminds me of 80s lunches, Westpac’s software reminds of Auguste Rodin. I believe he may have sculpted “The Thinker” after observing the bodily position of a typical Westpac customer using their software.

Of course, the real reason is about profit, control and of course “the shareholder”. The banks regularly annouce the importance of “the shareholder” over the customer. In a free market with competition this may not be the best strategy. However, a four pillared cartel isn’t really a free market. Hence, stuff you customer… evil laugh.

Anyway. All that aside, the week before last I was on Amex’s website applying for one of their cards. Something only a few weeks ago I would never have imagined doing. A few days ago I was holding it in front of my iPhone so that it could be magically sucked into “Wallet” an icon until this moment stood unused on page three of my home screen. Once occupying a space there, the card teleported itself onto my wrist. How very un-80s.

Now, today, Saturday, I needed to get some stuff from the shops. My inner nerd experiencing mild arousal I gathered the kids and headed to one of the smaller malls in my area.

The first stop was Woolworths. A gigantic supermarket chain. As I hit the checkout I noticed the human manned lanes were clogged with overflowing trollies and associated depravity. So it meant self checkout. Scan. Beep. Scan. Beep. Time to pay. I double pressed the Watch’s button, looked at the portrait of what seems to be Alexander the Great the 80s business icon and put his face near the terminal. Nothing happened. Arse. Tried again. Double Arse. Tried again. this time almost touching his lips to the glass. Eureka. The machine vomited a receipt and my first purchase succeeded. One from one.

So it turned out the self checkout was fortuitous as it prevented me from looking like “that guy” in front of an actual human. Phew.

Now on to a pharmacy. This shop was undergoing rather extensive renovations so I didn’t go in with a lot of hope. After ten minutes of shuffling leg to leg waiting for someone in a long white coat to do what people in long white coats do, it came time to pay. I asked the smiling counter girl if they accepted Amex. “Yes”. I double pressed the button to bring back Alexander and pressed his lips to the terminal. Double Eureka to the sound of “Oh. That’s so high tech. I haven’t seen one of those before.” Two from two.

Next stop K-Mart. They currently have 25% off iTunes cards. When they do this, I stock up. $200 worth of iTunes credit for $150 which makes Netflix & Stan an even bigger bargain. Now, Tap & Go normally has a $100 limit. Anything higher you need to key in your PIN. Like an animal. Let’s see how it goes. The young girl moved the terminal to me as I double pressed the button. I pressed Alexanders lips to the glass and… Triple Eureka, this time to the sound of “Oh! That is so cool. I didn’t know you could do that!”. Three from three.

Onto the final stop. McDonalds. After the disappointment of my 7yr old daughter discovering no more purple spiders were available but the excitement that they now have green ones it was time to pay. Time for Alexander to kiss the glass again. Quadruple Eureka… “Oh wow! That is so so cool. I’ve never seen that”. Four from four.

So there you go. Up yours Westpac. Super fast, super convenient and a hit with young ladies. OK.. the last bit was a joke to wind up my 10yr old son. It worked. He’s in that phase.

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