The company, USA Technologies, announced today that it’s beginning a nationwide rollout of self-serve payment points that will allow consumers to do things like buy snacks and sodas, add money to a parking meter, buy a hot cup of coffee, or do some laundry without fumbling for cash or pulling out their credit card.
Even if you don’t mind using your credit card for vending machines and similar purchases, these devices are the biggest targets for scammers who install card-skimming devices that steal your information as you swipe. A system like Apple Pay means that your card never gets swiped, making ID theft much more difficult. Additionally, frequent use of credit and debit cards for small purchases can send up red fraud alert flags with your bank. While it’s a good thing that your bank is trying to protect you from going bankrupt, it means you now have to talk to the bank to tell them that yes, you did pay $3.50 for a soda at the hotel vending machine.
As 9to5mac points out, this news comes on the heels of an announcement from Chevron that it plans to make Apple Pay an option at its gas stations.
What remains to be seen is how Apple Pay will fare after the launch of CurrentC, the competing system being developed by a Walmart-led coalition of some of the country’s biggest retailers. The stores waiting for CurrentC to launch say it will have an exclusivity period of “months, not years.”
CurrentC or some other subsequent competitor could ultimately steal Apple Pay’s fire if it can include all retailers and be available on both Android and iOS.