Customer pays for a purchase using contactless payment at POS
The pandemic has accelerated interest in contactless payments, making Apple Pay an increasingly popular way for customers to pay for purchases. — Getty Images/ferrantraite

Apple Pay is becoming an increasingly popular way for consumers to pay at businesses. Data shows that 51% of iPhone users have activated Apple Pay, up from 48% in 2019. Mobile wallets have seen widespread adoption outside the U.S., but the pandemic has accelerated interest in contactless payments and made Apple Pay a more popular way to pay. If you’re interested in accepting Apple Pay at your enterprise, here’s what you need to know to get started.

[Read more: The Coronavirus is Pushing Wider Acceptance of Contactless Payments]

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is a contactless payment that’s available on Apple devices like the iPhone and Apple Watch. Users open the app and follow a series of prompts to load and verify their card information. Apple Pay then securely stores the card details, including the card number, expiration date and PIN code.

There are two ways in which a customer can use Apple Pay to complete a transaction. First, a customer can pay for a purchase in-person by simply holding the phone or watch over a contactless reader. The device’s NFC chip transmits an encrypted virtual account number to the POS.

Another way that Apple Pay can be used for purchases is online or in an app. If a customer is shopping on an iPhone, iPad or Mac while using the Safari browser, they can use the “Pay with Apple Pay” button on a vendor’s website to prompt the Apple Pay script. Then, the customer can verify their identity with a Face ID, Touch ID or passcode to complete the purchase without manually entering any card details.


[Read more: 5 Ways Your Business Can Accept Payments]

It’s best to discuss options with your merchant account provider or payment processor to determine what equipment will be the most efficient and cost-effective for your business.

POS provider Clover

How to accept Apple Pay

To accept Apple Pay at your premises, you’ll need a POS system that’s able to accept contactless payments. Most NFC-enabled terminals are able to accept Apple Pay, but the hardware isn’t the only cost you’ll need to consider.

“Prices for NFC terminals range, and depend on if you want to use a terminal that sits on your countertop or use a mobile card reader that pairs with a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, based on the hardware you select, you may also need to invest in software upgrades,” wrote POS provider Clover. “It’s best to discuss options with your merchant account provider or payment processor to determine what equipment will be the most efficient and cost-effective for your business.”

Luckily, once you have the right contactless payment-capable POS, there are no additional fees to the merchant for using Apple Pay. As a business owner, you will pay the same credit card rates and fees as you would for a card-present transaction.

And, once you have the right hardware and software in place, accepting Apple Pay is simple. A customer holds their Apple device near the reader until four green lights appear and the chime sounds. Your cashier will see a checkmark on the screen telling you the transaction has been successfully completed.

To accept Apple Pay on your e-commerce site, the process is slightly more involved. First, you may need to remind customers that they need to use the Safari web browser to complete their purchase using Apple Pay. Next, you’ll need to be using an authorized credit card payment provider such as Shopify Payments, Stripe or First Data Payeezy to add Apple Pay as a payment option. Work with your website developer to enable Apple Pay for your online store.

Finally, it’s a good idea to train your staff to understand how to accept Apple Pay. Many customers may actually be using this mobile wallet for the first time when they come to your store. Apple Pay is meant to make transactions easier and more convenient, but this goal can only be achieved if there’s someone who can guide the process and troubleshoot as needed.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published May 19, 2021