The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 announced on Thursday will be able to make online transactions linked to Apple Pay, though they won’t be able to make in-store payments. Apple’s new smartphone payment service, Apple Pay, will go live on Monday, allowing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users to make credit or debit card transactions at 220,000 checkout terminals around the country with a wave of the handset. The support of card-issuers is crucial to the payment platform’s success since it means consumers will be able to plug the cards they already have into Apple Pay instead of working with specific banking partners. At Thursday’s event (see our live blog here), Apple provided a brief update on Apple Pay’s status, announcing its launch date and that 500 more banks have signed up. The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will have Touch ID for authentication purposes, which will be used to trigger an Apple Pay payment on a website or in an app. Apple Pay won’t just work at the physical point of sale, though. But Apple Pay won’t just be confined to the new iPhones and forthcoming Apple Watch. The payment system can be used to buy goods and services on the mobile phone screen and now the iPad as well.
Once a debit or credit card is transferred to Apple Pay, Chase and other banks will substitute a unique account number in a kind of digital safe known as a secure element, and any transaction made with that virtual card will be verified by one-time security that changes every time it’s used. Once they load their first credit or debit cards into their phones, consumers will be able to make contactless payments at retail locations across the country, from Walgreens pharmacies and Whole Foods grocery stores to Chevron and Texaco gas stations, and of course at any Apple Store. Customers who buy the iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 will get Apple Pay right out of the box for online purchases in apps like HotelTonight, Houzz, Instacart, Lyft, OpenTable, Staples, Target and Uber.
The country’s largest bank, Chase, said Thursday that its Visa credit and debit cards will all be eligible for Apple Pay. Apple Pay will be enabled in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with a software update to iOS 8 going out on Monday, essentially turning on the NFC chips inside the phones. While the iPhone 5s actually has touched and will get the iOS 8 updates, it doesn’t look like as if it will support Apple Pay for online payments. Combined with Touch ID’s authentication features, these anti-fraud features are one of the key reasons the financial community has embraced Apple Pay. The card that winds up in Apple Pay, however, won’t carry the same digits as its plastic counterpart.