With the launch of Apple Pay on the 14th of July, one of the early adopters was Transit for London (TfL) which operates the city’s network of buses, subways and other methods of transit. Since September 2014, the system has allowed individuals to use contactless cards to pay for fares instead of the iconic Oyster card and so opening up to Apple Pay and mobile payment s more generally was a logical next step.
However Apple Pay users have been warned that risk paying costly fares for their journeys if their iPhone batteries run flat. If the device runs out of battery in the middle of a rail journey, travelers will not be able to exit and could be charged a maximum fare. In addition, flat batteries could see penalty fares levied against individuals if approached by inspectors and they are unable to demonstrate their payment.
While the launch of Apple Pay was always going to see some reports of glitches and slow service, the issue of phone batteries has been a less discussed issue. Though consumers have gotten better about carrying additional chargers, batteries falling flat, especially as phones get older will become a more important issue and with contactless cards having no such issues, the adoption of mobile payment services like Apple Pay may be slower than expected.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group.