Apple Pay to Expand to Mobile and Desktop Websites

By Julian Thumm | 15 Jun 2016

Apple Pay will soon be available for use on desktop and mobile websites, but only for shoppers using Apple’s browser with Apple computers and mobile devices.

Apple has announced plans to expand its payment offering, Apple Pay, in an effort to compete with payment heavyweights like PayPal.

Apple will be bringing its payment system to mobile and desktop websites as part of the MacOS Sierra updates. Currently, Apple Pay enables shoppers to make contactless payments with their iPhone in participating stores. Shoppers can also use Apple Pay to make purchases in iPhone apps.

Apple’s focus on these payment areas has positioned it strongly in the mobile payments space. However, mobile website purchases still outpace in-app purchases, while the majority of e-commerce purchases still take place through desktop websites. This means that Apple’s payment system is currently unavailable for the vast majority of e-commerce transactions.

Once the new system is launched, Apple will reportedly integrate its fingerprint sensor to its mobile and desktop payments system. Customers shopping on a Mac computer who choose Apple Pay as the payment option will then receive a notification on their iPhone asking to confirm the transaction via fingerprint.

This means that shoppers wanting to use Apple Pay on a desktop will need to have an Apple computer and phone, which to be honest is a pretty classic Apple move.

And it gets better. The payment system will be exclusively available through Apple’s Safari browser. So, to summarise: to use Apple Pay through a desktop or mobile website you need an Apple computer, an Apple smartphone or tablet, and you need to be using an Apple browser. That creates a number of fairly obvious roadblocks for shoppers looking for a simple payment option.

While the company seems intent, at least initially, on rolling out the Apple Pay expansion to dedicated Apple acolytes, some major e-commerce platform providers have jumped on board to facilitate the launch.

Shopify and IBM (through its WebSphere and Commerce Cloud platforms) have both announced that they will support Apple Pay when the rollout happens later this year.

It’s unclear at this stage whether Apple has plans to expand its payment offering beyond its own operating systems. Regardless, Apple Pay’s availability across desktop and mobile websites will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the digital payments sector. However, limiting the rollout to dedicated Apple users will likely severely hamstring its efforts to compete more broadly in the global payments space.

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