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Local businesses waiting on new technology

BY NICK MOFFITT | OCTOBER 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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A tap to the payment terminal and a scan of the fingerprint, and payment is complete.

That’s what Apple is aiming to do through Apple Pay, enabled on the new iPhone 6, 6 plus, and the iWatch. However, some Iowa City business owners are holding off on adding the technology.

“If the opportunity knocks though, we would add it,” said Saf Ibrik, the owner of Aspen Leaf and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. “If it catches on we would [add it] to simplify things for the consumer.”

Businesses need to have a payment terminal capable of taking payments from an NFC chip to accept payments from Apple Pay and similar technology.

Ibrik said right now, though, with Apple Pay just beginning to take place, he hasn’t heard any requests or questions from customers about it, and for that reason, he wouldn’t add Apple Pay.

The main reason Ibrik said Aspen Leaf wouldn’t look into the technology right away is because the initial cost to add a payment terminal capable of accepting payment from mobile devices is too high.

Another issue related to the technology coming to Iowa City businesses is that many people are not capable of using the Apple Pay technology right now, University of Iowa entrepreneurship Lecturer Jeff Nock said.

“Apple Pay right now is only possible at about 220,000 stores right now,” he said. “Then you have to think about the number of people who have the iPhone 6 already.”

Nock said the technology in mobile payments is not new, and Google has developed its own version prior to Apple Pay, called Google Wallet, which can be used on Android Devices with a NFC chip installed.

Locally owned hotdog restaurant Swankie Frankie uses an iPad to handle transactions at its business on the Pedestrian Mall, but owner Clyde Guillaume said he doesn’t plan on moving toward the technology anytime soon.

“It is enough of a cost that it’s not something we’re looking into right now,” he said.

Guillaume said his business probably wouldn’t add the technology unless it really caught on and requests for it started coming in from customers.

Security is one thing that may drive customers to using technology such as Apple Pay, said Keith Chiavetta, an adjunct lecturer and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

He said credit-card technology hasn’t changed in quite a few years, and with all of the recent security breaches companies have had with stolen credit-card information, he believes Apple Pay and similar technology may be able to catch on relatively quickly.

Local businesses wouldn’t have the incentive or ability to change systems as quickly as large retailers, Chiavetta said, but security is probably the biggest reason it would catch on.

That’s why one UI student said he’s eager to start using Apple Pay.

UI senior Abhishek Dsouza said he’s glad his information wouldn’t be available to retailers through the technology.

“Right now, the fact that vendors won’t know the number of my card is a reason that I would,” he said.

On the other hand, Dsouza said, with recent security problems from Apple, he is hesitant about the technology.

“Recent iCloud hacks make me a bit worried about Apple Pay,” he said. “I’m kind of scared of someone using my card.”


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