Mastercard’s Plans to Fully Eliminate Signature Requirement Next Year Will Speed Up Apple Pay

Mastercard today announced that cardholders will no longer have to provide a signature for any purchases in the United States and Canada after April 2018. The change will apply to both debit and credit cards.


Mastercard said removing the need to sign for card-present transactions will not have any impact on customer security due to modern safeguards.

"Our secure network and state-of-the art systems combined with new digital payment methods that include chip, tokenization, biometrics, and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity," said Linda Kirkpatrick, an Executive Vice President at Mastercard.

Mastercard's consumer research unsurprisingly found that a majority of people believe it would be easier to pay, and that checkout lines would move faster, if they didn't need to sign the receipt when making a purchase.

Already, more than 80 percent of in-store Mastercard transactions in North America today do not require a cardholder signature at checkout. Mastercard said both customers and merchants support the change.

The long-existing "signature required" clause is intended to verify that customers own the debit or credit card they are attempting to use. The process is supposed to involve the cashier verifying the signature on the receipt matches the one on the back of the card, but in reality, this process is often skipped.

The change should make Apple Pay transactions even quicker for Mastercard cardholders. Currently, even when using Apple Pay, sometimes a signature can be required for purchases over $50 in the United States.

The signature requirement is already very uncommon in Canada, where chip-and-PIN cards are the norm. At most merchants in Canada, customers insert a card into the payment terminal, enter a PIN, and the purchase is completed.

Mastercard removing the signature requirement won't speed up Apple Pay in Canada, however, as contactless payments aren't generally permitted for purchases above $100. Above this limit, customers must use chip-and-PIN.

Mastercard currently doesn't require a signature for purchases totaling $50 or less. Visa's no-signature limit is $25, but the amount is upped to $50 for purchases made at grocery stores and discount stores like Walmart.

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Rite Aid’s Website Now Accepts Apple Pay in Safari on Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Rite Aid today announced that it now accepts Apple Pay as a payment method on its desktop and mobile website.


iPhone, iPad, and Mac users accessing RiteAid.com through the Safari web browser will now see a "Buy with Apple Pay" option at checkout alongside existing credit card and PayPal payment options.

Rite Aid said it is the first pharmacy retailer to accept Apple Pay as a form of payment on the web, with nearly 12,000 items available in its online store.

Apple Pay on the web is a convenient and secure option for online payments, eliminating the need to repeatedly fill out account, shipping, and billing information for a more seamless checkout experience.

Checking out with Apple Pay on the web requires a Mac, iPhone, or iPad with Touch ID and Safari for macOS Sierra or iOS 10 or later.

Rite Aid began accepting Apple Pay at 4,600 of its retail stores across the United States in August 2015, nearly one year after the drug store chain initially disabled support for the mobile payments service nationwide.

At the time, Rite-Aid was a member of the Merchant Customer Exchange, a consortium of retailers that planned to launch their own mobile payments service called CurrentC, which was postponed indefinitely last year.

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Apple Pay May Launch in the Netherlands and Poland Later This Year

In addition to Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates, Apple Pay may launch in the Netherlands and Poland later this year.


Dutch blog One More Thing, citing multiple sources familiar with the matter, claims that ING will be the first bank to offer Apple Pay in the Netherlands. Virtual bank Bunq also supposedly plans to support Apple Pay.

Rabobank, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, reportedly hasn't yet taken any concrete steps towards Apple Pay.

Apple has translated Apple Pay support pages on its website to Dutch and French for the Netherlands and Belgium. Apple Pay was already rumored to launch in Belgium in May, but five months have passed and it has yet to happen.

The report cites one source who claims Apple Pay could launch in the Netherlands on November 2, but the blog could not confirm the date.

Apple's fourth quarter earnings results are scheduled for the same day, so it's possible that Apple will use the subsequent conference call as an opportunity to announce the next wave of Apple Pay launch countries.

MacRumors also received an anonymous tip today with an alleged screenshot of Apple Pay being tested on an iPhone in Poland.

The screenshot shows a Mastercard from PKO Bank Polski, suggesting that bank could be the first to support Apple Pay in the country. However, it could also be a placeholder card for Apple's internal testing only.


The tipster said Apple Pay should be ready to launch in Poland by the end of this year, but we're unable to confirm the authenticity of this information.

Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey has previously said Apple is "working rapidly" to expand Apple Pay to additional countries in Europe and Asia. According to Apple's services chief Eddy Cue, that could soon include India.

Apple Pay is currently available in the United States, Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Russia, New Zealand, Japan, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

(Thanks, Burak Polat!)

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Apple Pay in Spain Now Supported by CaixaBank and ImaginBank

Apple Pay support in Spain has been extended to CaixaBank and ImaginBank, according to reports out of the country this morning.

Spanish tech blog AppleSfera first reported that cards issued by the banks were working with Apple's mobile payment system as of Tuesday, and CaixaBank has now officially confirmed the support.


Apple Pay integration with Caixabank had been promised "before the end of the year". Previously the biggest financial entities in Spain to support Apple Pay were American Express and Banco Santander (Mastercard cards), so the addition of CaixaBank and ImaginBank (CaixaBank's mobile arm) should see the digital payment platform get a lot more coverage in the country.

Apple Pay is expected to be introduced in the near future to several more countries including Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

(Thanks, Eduardo!)


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ANZ Eftpos Access Cards Now Support Apple Pay in Australia

Eftpos, a debit payments network in Australia, today announced that ANZ eftpos Access cards now feature support for Apple Pay.

ANZ is the first bank in Australia to make in-store eftpos mobile payments available to 1.6 million ANZ eftpos Access cardholders through Apple Pay.

Visa, American Express, and MasterCard credit and debit cards issued in Australia by participating banks already supported Apple Pay, but the addition of eftpos is notable as it's widely used in the country.
"Today marks a significant milestone for eftpos as we move from our traditional card based payment method into mobile, enabling consumers with an iPhone or Apple Watch to choose the eftpos account they wish their mobile payment to be made from, being either their eftpos CHQ/SAV account. Customers can set their account preference out of CHQ/SAV and then save themselves entering their account each time they pay. After providing trusted, secure card-based payments for 30 years, eftpos can now also be used to make mobile payments," Mr Jennings said.

"About 1.6 million ANZ eftpos Access cardholders now have the opportunity to make payments on an iPhone or Apple Watch, many of whom may not have had the opportunity to make in store mobile payments before. As Australia's most used debit card network, we are thrilled to be providing ANZ eftpos Access customers with more payment choice, with added benefits of enhanced security and comfort."
As Business Insider points out, support for eftpos reduces fees for both customers and retailers compared to other payment methods.

Support for eftpos is now listed on Apple's Australian Apple Pay website and Apple Pay is available to ANZ Access card customers in Australia immediately.

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Tags: Australia, ANZ

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New Rumor Suggests Apple Pay Will Launch in Sweden Next Week [Updated]

Apple is gearing up to launch Apple Pay in Sweden next week, according to a report by Swedish site MacPro [Google Translate]. The site stated that the first financial partner with Apple Pay in Sweden will be the bank Nordea, and that the two companies will jointly announce the mobile wallet collaboration one week from today, on October 24.


During its third quarter earnings call in August, Apple confirmed that Apple Pay would be expanding to Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and United Arab Emirates before the end of 2017. So far, the mobile payments service hasn't yet appeared in any of these areas, and a rumor about Germany gaining Apple Pay functionality by September has also failed to materialize.

Currently, Apple Pay is available in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Taiwan, and Ireland. In a future update to iOS 11, Apple Pay will also gain a new person-to-person payments feature -- Apple Pay Cash -- so that users can transfer money to one another within Messages. This feature will only be available in the U.S. at launch.

Update: MacPro has reported that Finland and Denmark could see the debut of Apple Pay next week as well.


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Eddy Cue Says He ‘Disagrees Vehemently’ With Those Who Believe Apple’s Pace of Innovation Has Slowed

Just over a decade after the iPhone launched, and six years after Steve Jobs passed, some critics believe that Apple's pace of innovation has slowed. Unsurprisingly, Apple's services chief Eddy Cue doesn't share that opinion.


"I disagree vehemently with that and I think we've been incredibly innovative," said Cue, in a recent interview with Indian publication Livemint.

Cue pointed out that both the iPad and Apple Watch launched after the iPhone, while noting that revolutionary products take time. He also believes that Apple's work on Mac, macOS, and iOS has led the market.
Apple historically has a track record of coming out with industry-defining products, whether it's the Mac or iPhone or iPod. But over the past decade, there's a been perception that the pace of innovation and the pace at which Apple has come out with game-changing, breakthrough products has slowed somewhat. What do you have to say about that?

No way! First of all, the iPhone is 10 years old. That is the last decade. The iPad came after that and the Watch came after that. So, I disagree vehemently with that and I think we’ve been incredibly innovative. That doesn’t even take into account the work that has been done on the Mac, iOS and MacOS, from that standpoint where I think we’ve led the market. When you think of the products that we’ve built over time, you own a lot of them. And you just assume that every year was a new product. But it wasn’t. You can’t do revolutionary new products, every two months or six months or whatever. They take time.
The rest of the interview was primarily focused on Apple's roadmap for India, which Cue described as a "very long-term opportunity."

Cue said Apple is focused on three areas in India, including the App Store, Apple Maps, and a bundle of other services such as iCloud and Apple Music. Of note, he said Apple is "working on" bringing Apple Pay to India.
The digital payments business is widely being seen as the biggest battleground in India now and in the near future. What are Apple's plans on that front?

Our head of Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey, is here with me. And Apple Pay is something that we definitely want in India. The challenge with payment mechanisms is that there isn't really a lot of global scale. You deal with individual markets at a time … but India is one of those markets where we hope to bring Apple Pay to.
Cue said Apple doesn't have an exact launch date to announce for Apple Pay in India at this point since it's not "a 100 percent" yet.

In the full-length interview, Cue also reflects upon the leadership styles of past and present Apple CEOs Tim Cook and Steve Jobs, and on Apple's increasing efforts to produce original content.

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Apple Extends Internal iOS 11.1 Apple Pay Cash Testing to Retail Employees

Starting in early October, Apple corporate employees in the United States began testing Apple Pay Cash internally in the iOS 11.1 beta, suggesting the person-to-person Apple Pay feature could be introduced in iOS 11.1 despite its current absence from the iOS 11.1 developer beta.

Apple has now expanded its internal Apple Pay Cash feature to its retail employees, making it available to a much wider range of people for testing purposes.


Retail employees gained access to the feature today and have been asked to install both the iOS 11.1 beta and an additional internal-only beta profile to unlock the Apple Pay Cash feature. According to the retail employee who spoke to MacRumors, Apple is also requiring iCloud accounts to be whitelisted to use Apple Pay Cash.

The Apple Pay Cash setup process can be seen in the screenshot below -- it asks customers to verify their identity with name, address, and social security number.


Apple Pay Cash works through the Messages app and is designed to allow for quick person-to-person money transfers, much like Square Cash or Venmo. It's available as a dedicated iMessage app in the built-in Messages app, with cash transferred through iMessage transactions. Though most Apple Pay Cash coverage has focused on the iPhone, money can also be sent using an Apple Watch.


When sending cash, it can be sent from a linked debit or credit card, while received cash is stored in an Apple Pay Cash card in Wallet that can be used for purchases or sent to a bank account. Sending cash through a credit card incurs a 3% fee, while sending cash from a debit card is free.

The Apple Pay Cash card available in Wallet is being made available through a partnership with Green Dot, a company that offers prepaid Discover cards.

Apple first announced person-to-person Apple Pay as an iOS 11 feature at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but it was not implemented in any of the iOS 11 betas and towards the end of the beta testing period, Apple confirmed it would be coming in a future iOS 11 update.

Apple Pay Cash is not present in the current iOS 11.1 beta available to developers and public beta testers, but given the expanded internal beta test, it appears Apple is nearly finished with the feature and is gearing up to release it as part of the iOS 11.1 update.

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Yelp for iOS Gains Support for Apple Pay

Yelp's iOS app received a major update today, introducing support for Apple Pay for the first time.

With Apple Pay support, Apple's payments service can be used to make purchases from local businesses through Yelp for things like delivery or takeout food.


When you make a purchase and then go to the checkout and payment process, Apple Pay is now listed as an available purchase option in the Yelp app alongside credit card and Paypal. Apple Pay is a purchase option for a wide range of items within the Yelp app, including food, concert tickets, and more.
Big news. You can now use Apple Pay to make purchases from local businesses on Yelp. So go ahead -- book an oceanside couples massage, get tickets to that John Mayer concert, or get those lobster rolls delivered.
The Apple Pay update became available in an update released this morning. Yelp can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Tag: Yelp

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Discover Now Lets Apple Pay Users Redeem Cashback Bonuses for Purchases

Discover today announced the launch of a new Apple Pay feature that will let Discover cardholders use their Cashback Bonus rewards to pay for Apple Pay purchases.

To use the feature, customers make a qualifying purchase with Apple Pay using a Discover card, select "Tap for Details" in the Wallet app and then tap "Redeem" to add the Cashback Bonus as a statement credit in the amount of the purchase.

"Cashback Bonus redemption through Apple Pay can happen in just two touches for Discover cardmembers," said Szabolcs Paldy, vice president of e-business for Discover. "We are committed to providing simple and valuable solutions to our customers wherever and whenever they need them. Customer experience hinges on embracing mobile-first technologies like Apple Pay, and this new ability will make Cashback Bonus redemption even easier and more convenient for our cardmembers."
Using the new Cashback Bonus feature requires a Discover card added to Apple Pay, the Discover Mobile app, and a rewards balance higher than the purchase amount. Discover, like many credit card companies, offers points with qualifying purchases that can be redeemed for rewards or cash back bonuses.

Discover card users can already redeem their Cashback Bonus points for statement credits or as deposits into a bank account, so technically it was already possible to pay for Apple Pay purchases with Discover points.

It's not entirely clear what the benefit of the new feature is, but with the two-tap redemption method, it may be easier for users to redeem rewards using this method.

Qualifying purchases include those over $1 made with Apple Pay. Discover says that T-Mobile customers will not be able to use the feature unless connected to a Wi-Fi network.

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