For many that know me, I think they’d say I am skeptical about personal “security.” That means randomly generating passwords for every site I sign up for, or generally avoiding putting any information on the “internet” that isn’t totally necessary. (I don’t pay bills manually, I’m not a caveman). But recently I have embraced the Information Age that we live in. With the newest iPhone now having face recognition, I think we can all agree there is no point in trying to hide anything. Everything that we do in a normal business day is in the palm of our hands. And before this post gets too political, what I’m referencing here is Apple Pay — and I want touch on my thoughts about what it means for the world of points and miles, and why I think I’m obsessed with it. Cause then again, millennial don’t just like something — they become obsessed with it.
The technology scares me, but at this point I’m all in.
For starters, the NFC, or near-field communications, that help power Apple Pay make me extremely skeptical. For those that aren’t aware how this all works– you basically upload the cards that you want to use Apple or Chase Pay with to your cell phone, then it is as simple as double (or triple) tapping the home button to bring the card up, holding it near the reader, and BAM, you’ve paid. The phone does read your fingerprint, but the whole NFC thing makes me wonder– if my phone is sending out my information that is captured by a reader “near” it, what else, or “who” else in that general vicinity can gain access to my information?The point of this post is not to deter you away from the technology, I just wanted to share how skeptical I was, and possibly sway anyone with a similar opinion. With the world we live in now, I know these issues are closely monitored and long addressed before the technology is introduced– so I am here to give you my very unprofessional opinion and assure you that it is safe (I think– can’t be certain).
Initially I was drawn to Apple Pay because of the points benefits Chase was offering to customers when they utilize the technology.
When it comes to points and rewards, I think Chase is far and away the leader when it comes to innovation and customer benefits. So it is no surprise that Chase introduced an offer to receive an extra bonus point for every dollar customers utilize Apple Pay, Chase Pay or Samsung Pay (the other brands utilizing this same technology) with one of their Sapphire cards.As you’ll notice, this promotion only runs for the month of October, so I am a bit late to the party. While the majority of this technology comes in the form of mobile payments at registers, you can also pay through apps, and even directly to your friends on iMessage. I for one could probably not hit that $1,500 spend in a month — that’s also taking into the fact that not all merchants I shop at have the capabilities for Apple Pay. But it got me thinking about a hypothetically lucrative points-building opportunity for my fellow enthusiasts out there.I unfortunately was not in a position to make any big spend on travel or dining, but for the sake of this scenario lets say you do have a Chase Sapphire product (we’ll say the Reserve for this scenario) and you have some upcoming travel you are looking to book (because a large expenditure on dining seems less likely — though not out of the realm). If you are able to book with the card using Apple Pay, you’d get 4x the points (3x from the Reserve’s bonus on travel and dining, and the extra 1x for the current promotion). So $1,500 turns into 6,000 Ultimate Rewards points. That’s $90 worth of travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal — and based on other valuations as high as $132. While not some crazy redemption opportunity, and maybe not the highest multiplier out there at one time, still a potentially very lucrative opportunity.So where does that leave me– do I just get some extra points on the little spend and hope for another bonus in the coming months, or do I find something big I maybe would be buying in the near future. I was in the market for an iPad, and I figured it was a better time than ever to cash in on the extra points while I could. Something I want to explore later is shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Apple usually offers some points bonuses when shopping through the portal–so could I have double dipped points in this scenario? Either way, I’ll be able to hit that $1,500 in spend and make at least 1,500 extra UR points on top of what I was already earning. A no-brainer when it’s ultimately just a more convenient way to shop.
The basic functionality and utility are an added bonus that has kept me as a believer
I think we will continue to see bonuses and perks to using Apple Pay in the near future, like we saw here. While a lot of people are still adjusting to the technology, Apple and other banks like Chase will continue to try and lure customers to this new way of making payments. With that being said, I think there are benefits beyond the points and rewards.The basic utility really intrigues me. As someone who really tries to keep his pockets as light as possible, this gives me even less incentive to carry around a wallet. Unfortunately there are too many merchants that haven’t adopted the technology, which makes me ditching the wallet a bit unrealistic. But to that point, I probably will have my phone out anyways (as a ‘typical’ millennial) so it makes the process seamless.
The millennial takeaways…
While I don’t expect everyone to hop on the bandwagon immediately, I think this is something that will become a norm in the next few years. I for one, hand up, had many many doubts. But the unfortunate reality of the situation is that Apple Pay is no more of a risk than what you are already doing. And like any other trend of the time, you’re destined to miss out if you don’t adapt. The millennial generation is looking for the next great thing, and this just might be it. If you’ve got some thoughts on Apple Pay and/or the future of mobile payments with NFC I’d love to hear ’em.