The launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s NFC and Touch ID-based mobile payment solution, is upon us. Apple has begun preparing for the launch by kicking off Apple Pay training programs for its own group of retail store employees and by working with retailers to prepare for the debut later this month. The training materials, shared by a reliable source, for the Apple Pay launch at Apple retail stores have also detailed some new specifics regarding the Apple Pay setup and transaction processes both on customer iPhones and in Apple retail stores…
As can be seen in the image above, Apple Pay can be set up via the Passbook application through both the initial iOS 8 setup process or in a new Settings.app tab called Passbook & Apple Pay. Some of these details were previously revealed by internal settings in the latest iOS 8.1 beta seed for developers.
Credit cards can be added to Passbook via an iTunes account or by using the iPhone’s camera to scan in details. Passbook will be able to store up to 8 credit/debit cards, according to the training materials.
Interestingly, the Passbook/Apple Pay settings will have deep ties to the credit card companies and banks involved in the service. For each connected credit card/bank, users will have a simple list of recent transactions, quick access to download an accompanying App Store app, the ability to contact their bank, the option to receive push notifications, and a display of both their credit card’s number and the unique device account number. Another cool tidbit is that if a credit card expires, Passbook will automatically update the card with the new expiration date from the credit card company. Users will not need to delete and re-add the card; they will simply receive a push notification alerting them that the changed occurred.
According to the Apple Store Apple Pay training materials, Apple will push the service in its stores with both ease of use and security as the main talking points. As we reported in September, Apple will be using NFC-capable EasyPay sleds to be able to conduct Apple Pay transactions throughout its stores.
Apple has also informed employees how product returns can be handled if transactions were initially processed via Apple Pay. According to the training materials, a customer who wants to return an item can simply touch their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus against the Apple Store EasyPay machine to populate their recent transaction history in the store.
For security purposes, Apple Store receipts for items purchased with Apple Pay will no longer show the customer’s contact information or credit card number. Solely the last four digits of their iPhone’s unique Apple Pay device ID will be shown. This can be seen in the mockup receipt shown above. Another change: customers will not be required to provide their name or email address at checkout to receive a receipt, unless they’re buying a service like AppleCare.
Another interesting topic for Apple Pay is customer service: what happens if Apple Pay is not working properly for a customer? At least in Apple Stores, retail employees will have access to special software called “Apple Pay Demo” that can troubleshoot an iPhone to determine if Apple Pay is not working due to an iPhone hardware issue. If it is not a hardware issue, retail employees will refer customers to their bank and/or credit card provider. The Apple Pay Demo service can be conducted by any retail employee so that Genius Bars are not bothered with Apple Pay issues.
All Apple Store employees will be required to take part in one hour of mandatory Apple Pay training within the coming days. The fact that Apple has begun Apple Pay training in its stores indicates that a launch is quickly approaching. Apple will be holding a media event on October 16th, and the company is likely to discuss final launch details for the new service at that event. An internal memo sent to Walgreens managers indicates that a launch can come as soon as Saturday, October 18th while at least one second tier bank expects its support to launch in early November.
Besides preparing its own stores for the launch, Apple has actually kicked off the service at its Caffe’ Macs restaurant at its 1 Infinite Loop headquarters in the past few days, according to multiple Apple employees. The images above show what a full Apple Pay transaction looks like at a retailer; in this case, Caffe’ Macs.
Besides discussion of Apple Pay at its October 16th event, Apple is planning to introduce a pair of faster iPad models with Touch ID (that hook into the Apple Pay in-app-purchase feature), and a higher-resolution version of the iMac alongside OS X Yosemite.