When the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were unveiled in September 2014, consumers were captivated by the many innovations contained in these new pieces of technology. They included larger displays, faster processors and improved LTE and WIFI connectivity. In addition, and perhaps most innovative of all, was the introduction of support for a near-fields communications-based mobile payment system called Apple Pay. At the time the new phone was released, many technology and business experts predicted that NFC would revolutionize the way consumers made their purchases. The ensuing months did much to prove them right, with an estimated 750,000 businesses as well as MasterCard, American Express and Visa, jumping on the bandwagon. Even so, you may still have plenty of questions about this technology, how it works and if it would be a good fit and ideal for your own small business to accept Apple Pay.

With Apple Pay, people’s phones are now more than just cameras, music players and communications devices; they have become digital wallets. Consumers can leave their Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards from major financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Citibank at home after setting up Apple Pay, since all of the information needed to make a secure transaction is safely stored within the phone’s Passbook or Wallet application.

How Consumers Use Apple Pay

How does a consumer use Apple Pay? It’s easy: Customers must have at least an iPhone 6 or an Apple Watch with a Near Field Communication antenna. At checkout, they simply hold the phone near a contactless reader with their finger on the phone’s touch ID. A beep and a subtle vibration will confirm that the payment has gone through. Customers with Apple watches should double-click the button below the watch’s Digital Crown while holding the watch near a contactless reader. The same sound and vibration will occur when the payment goes through. In addition, popular apps such as Groupon, Sephora, Starbucks, Target and Uber allow consumers to make payments through Apple Pay. All they need to do is verify that they want to make an in-app purchase by using the phone or watch’s touch ID feature.

Apple Pay isn’t just easy; it is secure. Both customer and merchant benefit from the fact that no sensitive credit card data is revealed to the seller. As a merchant, you have probably found that credit card fraud issues can take up a large amount of time and cause no small amount of stress. Those days are gone when you begin to accept Apple Pay. Moreover, Apple’s system creates a unique, encrypted token that replaces the consumer’s credit card details. Should a user’s iPhone or Apple Watch become lost or stolen, it is possible to remotely wipe the device of all data, minimizing the danger of a catastrophic data breach.

Considering that over three-quarters of a million U.S. businesses have already embraced Apple Pay, it seems quite clear that small and large companies alike have recognized the advantages of this contactless payment platform. First and foremost, using this technology speeds up the payment process and makes it more convenient for customers and staff. No longer do you have to limit the movements of one of your employees by stationing him or her behind the cash register. Instead, he or she can move freely throughout the sales floor, taking customer payments literally at the point of sale. The faster that buyers can pay for items and exit the store, the happier they generally are. There is also something quite cool and cutting-edge about getting receipts emailed in a flash. As a merchant, you can also use this vehicle to collect customer contact data that you can later use to make contact and pass on information about store promotions and loyalty programs.

Accepting Apple Pay At Your Business

Apple Pay might be innovative and easy for customers to use, but how easy is it to incorporate it into one’s business? Fortunately, the recent EMV credit card changes have indirectly worked to support the incorporation of contactless payments such as Apple Pay. This is because many of the new readers that are set up to take the chip smartcards accept NFC Apple Pay transactions as well. At the top of this class of devices is soon to be Terminal One, which interfaces with EMV chip cards, Apple Pay and other digital wallet solutions. If you already have a point of sale credit card system, you also have a relationship with the payment provider who furnished you with that system. Contact them to find out if your current POS equipment can accept contactless payments. If it does, you might be able to accept Apple Pay without any modifications whatsoever. If this is not the case, your payment provider can introduce you to the different options available to you as you upgrade your system. Note that doing so is also to your advantage in terms of the EMV changes that recently went into effect. Failing to have a system that reads the new EMV cards can leave you vulnerable to having to pay for credit card fraud. Recent regulations find you liable if you do not have a reader that works with the more secure smartcards.

For years now, Apple has been setting the standard when it comes to mobile phone technology. Now, it’s safe to say that it is doing the same thing for digital contactless payments. In the past, detractors scoffed at the idea that the iPhone would revolutionize all aspects of communications, and they are still struggling to recover from their mistake. While bringing Apple Pay into your business might not be for everyone, it is definitely worth your while to consider the pros and cons. Providing your customers with the ability to use contactless payments can increase your store’s efficiency, enable you to stay in contact with your customers and provide them with a fast and positive purchasing experience.