The tech world has been talking about Apple Pay for months, a mobile pay system, where all you need is your phone. Apple Pay appears to be no different from other mobile payment systems. However Apple Pay has been able to secure several major retailers and financial institutions that other mobile payment products have not been able to accomplish. So what does one need to know about Apple Pay and why is it a good option for consumers? We review 5 basics below:

What exactly is Apple Pay?

According to Macworld, Apple Pay is a wireless payment system that lets owners of Apple iPhone 6 and 6 plus pay for products at participating retailers that use wi-fi enabled terminals. Consumers put their phones up to the payment terminals and their chosen form of Apple Pay appears.  Once they put their thumbs on the Touch ID button the transaction is complete.

Apple Pay does require some set-up. Before you can use Apple Pay, you must upgrade your operating system to iOS v8.1.  It must be installed prior to setting up Apple Pay. Once you install Apple Pay you simply take a photo of your credit card and your iPhone stores it virtually on a special chip inside. Allowing you to pay with your chosen default card at specified retailers.

Credit Card Vs. Apple Pay

Quite simply, Apple Pay is all about convenience. Allowing you to leave your wallet at home, and carry different forms of payment in phone. These are some of major credit cards that are Apple Pay compatible:

  • MasterCards
  • Visa Cards
  • American Express
  • Major institutions offering credit and/or debit cards

Apple has also promised a number of other financial institutions that will be Apple Pay compatible later this year.

What Retailers Accept Apple Pay?

Over 200,000 retailers are now accepting Apple Pay. Review a full list of all Apple Pay retailers here.

Is it Secure?

We already know that hackers have been able to steal consumer information, including credit cards via retail sale terminals. Apple Pay has the security advantage of not storing customer credit card information on any retail servers. Apple Pay stores the credit card information in encrypted form on a chip inside the phone. However that doesn’t mean that Apple Pay can’t be hacked, but it decreases ones overall risk.

In the event your phone is stolen, you can shut off Apple Pay remotely via find my phone.

Are people using it?

Yes, in the first 72 hours Apple Pay had over 1 million credit cards activated. Beating out other mobile pay systems within the first week of their launch. A number of tech experts have been testing out this system, echoing that this mobile pay app is easy and fast (most of the time). As of yet, there have been no reports of major glitches. Credit cards aren’t going anywhere, but Apple Pay may enable a more streamlined approach for consumers.