Putting Apple Pay to the test

Putting Apple Pay to the test

Cash, credit or smartphone? Apple has promised that its Apple Pay service can revolutionize the way we shop, replacing the normal credit card swipe with a tap of the phone and a fingerprint scan. But we wanted to see if Apple Pay would work as promised by using it in a tough real-life situation: McDonald’s during the lunch rush.

The fast food joint in question was in the food court at Arlington, Va.’s Pentagon Fashion Centre. With a tour group of middle schoolers in front of me and retail workers on half-hour lunch breaks in back, it was the ultimate test for a payment method that’s supposed to cut down on time spent at the register.

It worked like a charm. I ordered two things off the dollar menu and was done paying by the time the cashier had repeated my order back to me. And with nothing to slide back into my wallet, I was able to move to the pickup counter so fast that the impatient man behind me hadn’t yet figured out his order.

In the interest of being thorough, we also ran tests at a few other places. Participating stores list Apple Pay, which launched this week, as an option alongside accepted credit cards. Apple has said the process is simple: Consumers only need to load a credit or debit card into the Apple’s wallet app called “Passbook” by entering the numbers or taking a picture of the card. In general, we found the experience was indeed pretty easy, though it had some key limitations, particularly which cards you could choose (sorry, no Amazon card yet). And, ironically, Apple Pay wasn’t great when it came to buying stuff through apps on your smartphone.

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