Attention Apple Users: Apple Pay Now Being Rolled Out Online

It's an exciting time for Apple Pay users: The mobile payment system originally unveiled in fall 2014 has now been released for use on select websites. This means that if you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac running the latest Apple software, you should have the option to select "checkout with Apple Pay" when purchasing an item or service on participating sites using the Safari web browser.

While it's a gradual rollout, several retailers have already announced their intentions to host Apple Pay. It was immediately available on more than 70 sites including Nike, Hotels.com, Sephora and even Kickstarter. Eventually, it’s projected that 200,000 merchants may enable the service, as it’s a platform that’s easy for online retailers to support. This could also promote the growth of mobile wallets—a phenomenon that is used by less than a quarter of eligible shoppers.

How Apple Pay Works

If you’ve yet to use Apple Pay, of course you’ll need to set it up first. That involves heading to the “settings” feature on your iPhone, selecting Wallet, then Apple Pay and adding your debit or credit card to complete the process. If using debit, some banks may require that you call them to complete the process. Once that’s finished, scroll down to Transaction Details and add your shipping address, email and phone number in order to enable autocomplete each time you shop.

When you shop, you simply choose the Apple Pay option and select the iPhone’s home button for confirming the purchase. When paying via desktop, you’ll need to ensure you have the continuity feature enabled in order to transfer the payment to your phone, tablet or Apple Watch.

What Separates Apple Pay from Other Services?

Yes, you can buy items online by using PayPal One Touch or Visa Checkout and this process can be smooth and easy. But with Apple Pay, it’s basically a service built into your iPhone that can be used online or in person. It makes paying for purchases a quick and efficient process regardless of where you are situated. This new expansion to web services could threaten other online payment systems.

Personally, I opened Apple Wallet last November and was wowed by how amazing and convenient the user experience was at the time. It recorded all my recent transactions—something that’s extremely helpful when paying your bills—and I even impressed the barista at the local Starbucks. Since then, I’ve installed Apple Pay on my Apple Watch and prefer to shop at retailers who support the payment technology.

However, Apple Pay may soon have competition on its hands. Last month, Google announced plans to bring its payment platform—Android Pay—to the mobile web. While there’s no timeframe yet, this service would be similar to Apple Pay in that it would only be supported by its own Google Browser—Chrome—at least to start.

Is My Data Safe and Secure?

Apple Pay for web is subject to the same security standards as its in-store counterpart. The service uses tokenization—such as card numbers and CVV codes—to ensure that data is never actually revealed to the merchants. As a result, this may end up limiting theft and fraud that takes place during point-of-purchase sales. So yes, your payment information is safe and secure with Apple Pay.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions, though. As with anything, practice safe purchasing habits: keep your credit and debit card numbers to yourself, keep your phone with you at all times and change your passwords often.

More of Canada’s Banks on Board with Apple Pay

Canada’s big five banks already offer Apple Pay, and have been joined by Tangerine, ATB Financial and Canadian Tire Financial Services along the way. In a recent Tweet, Desjardins has announced it will support the payment method as well.

It seems more Canadians are embracing the technology, but there are still individuals who are happy sticking to traditional payment methods. A report from Business Insider UK cites surveys that indicate that some of these people show little enthusiasm for picking up new habits. There’s some thought that once more loyalty programs and other add-ons are integrated into Apple Pay, the mobile payment system will gain popularity and usage will begin to surge.

Are you excited for this new rollout? Does the future of the wallet lie in Apple Pay? Leave your comments below.