Why Apple Pay isn’t taking off: A UX perspective.

Only 1.5% of payments are via Apple / Android Pay. Usage is growing but not quickly.

The Drum asks Why isn’t Apple Pay taking off? in the UK and attempts to answer the question why only 1 – 2% of card payments are through Apple / Android Pay.

The article quotes the following reason:

As Scott Thompson, insights director at Publicis Media, says: “If you use a card (Oyster or credit/debit) and it doesn’t work, it looks like there is a problem with the card or the reader. Everyone has experienced it, so you get some degree of sympathy. >But if you use a phone (or worse, a watch) and it doesn’t work, you just look like an idiot playing with technology that doesn’t work and getting in everyone’s way.”

Which is probably part of the reason, but not the full reason.

When it comes to improving a user experience you find at the barriers and look at how to overcome them. If your product offsets the setup effort involved with either a reward or removal of pain, then it’s more likely to succeed.

So for Apple pay:

  1. Set up on the phone takes time to do, only a few minutes per card but it takes time and effort.
  2. There are very few contexts or situations when you’d think “I’ll set up Apple pay” or “This would be easier if I could pay on my phone”.
  3. There is no compelling reason to set up Apple pay. After all contactless payment in the UK work really well. As does the US quick signature.

For Apple Pay to gain greater traction there need to be a reason to overcome that setup friction. Think discounts, competitions or rewards (not very Apple things to do). Apple only prompts you to add Apple Pay at phone set up, and Apple ask you a lot at phone set up.

So in conclusion, the current contactless system works well, it’s an effort to set up Apple pay and for no real reward or removal of a pain point.


Also published on Medium.

One Response to “Why Apple Pay isn’t taking off: A UX perspective.”

  1. Luke

    Hi! Firstly, I recently saw a video of one of your talks and loved it! Great stuff indeed, and I learned a lot!

    Though this might not help with adoption rates, I think there are some pain points that Apple-pay removes. You mention contactless cards being just as easy to use, but…

    1. A pain-point that Apple pay alleviates is the £30 limit for contactless payments. You don’t have to worry about keeping it below £30.

    2. Some people don’t like contactless cards because of security concerns – you don’t need any user input to spend up to £30, so people can use readers to digitally pick-pocket. Whereas phones need fingerprints to use.

    3. Payments on device or in-app can use apple pay without manual card entry, which is what you’d have to do if you don’t have Apple pay.

    One of the main concerns I hear in a retail environment is that contactless payments take longer to show up on a statement, and therefore people forget what they have spent, then a large amount of their funds disappears in one go.

    Anyways, I’m off to buy your book and quote Hick’s Law 😀

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