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Apple Pay: Ignore the hype

It wasn’t until Apple Pay was announced that mobile payments were first brought into the public spotlight. Let’s remember many companies before Apple, such as Google, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Square, O2 Wallet and Weve, had all made failed attempts at making payment relevant for mobile.

So, what makes everyone think that Apple will be different?  After many conversations, it seems most people’s answer is “because it’s Apple!” But what are they doing differently compared to their competitors?

The truth is, nothing – it’s the same innovation, just with the Apple polish.  So perhaps their disruptive streak is slowly toning down. Apple Pay is not adding further value as it is not capturing any transactional data.

Read more: Could Apple upset Britain’s mobile payment cart?

If not Apple, then who?

Which companies can rival Apple Pay? Companies like Swipii, Fidel and Tryum are all doing a great job of making in-store mobile activity interesting for consumers. This isn’t because of payments, but because of their focus on loyalty – the by-product of payment.

Zapp, the Vocalink initiative, is also doing something innovative in this space, by unlocking the value of real-time bank funded transactions. I should highlight I was involved with the creation of Zapp. However, 18 months later, there is still no launch date in sight.

Why mobile?

What is the incentive for retailers to adopt mobile enabled transactions? Simple – To generate more sales! In May 2013, we founded Yoyo.  Our vision was Starbucks app meets Tesco Clubcard, but better. We created a single destination app that is available for all retailers.  Our purpose was, and still is, to make mobile (IOS, Android and soon Windows) relevant for retail.

Yoyo combines super fast payment via a dynamic QR code scan with automated loyalty points/stamp collection. As we are integrated into point of sale, we can tailor to specific discount campaigns or redeemable offers at the time of purchase and deliver fully itemised digital receipts. The retailer can send customers relevant offers based on the better (than Google) data that we collect.

Our view is that payment is not the core of mobile. It’s communicating with the customer via mobile that is key.  Mobile can and should deliver more value both pre and post transaction. With this in mind, why the hype around Apple Pay?

Disclaimer: For the purpose of this blog I completely disregard the real value that Apple Pay could have in the digital world for mobile-based transactions (m-commerce).

Michael Rolph is cofounder and CCO of Yoyo

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