Trending December 2023 # Opinion: Apple Pay Is Easier Than Swiping A Card … Until It’s Not # Suggested January 2024 # Top 16 Popular

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Apple unveiled its mobile payment service Apple Pay last September alongside the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch later rolling it out to new iPhone users in October through the free iOS 8.1 software update. Dozens of banks and credit unions have flipped the switch on Apple Pay since then as more merchants have announced support or plans to accept the new payment method.

Apple Pay, which allows users to securely pay in stores using the latest models of the iPhone simply by placing the smartphone near a special terminal, uses your existing credit or debit card without revealing personal information like your name or card number to merchants.

In practice, Apple Pay is a real delight to use as a payment method as it feels a bit like you’re skipping the payment process altogether; I imagine moving from cash and checks to debit and credit cards years ago felt similar. There’s still a social oddity about paying with your phone in many parts of the United States in 2023, though, which I’m not sure happened with the transition to using cards.

This sort of social awareness experience doesn’t stretch overseas in parts of Europe and Asia where mobile-based payments have existed for years, and using Apple Pay in San Francisco or New York City probably only felt novel for a few days before becoming completely normal.

Paying for a cab by tapping my iPhone on a terminal from the backseat in NYC last year felt more futuristic than summoning an Uber from an app and paying with my thumbprint, almost like the cab was more tech-savvy than me.

In other parts of the country, though, the short-but-growing list of Apple Pay merchants and the feature being limited to one model of iPhone sometimes makes paying with your iPhone an awkward experience.

My best case scenario happened over the weekend when I picked up chocolates and an orchid from a local Winn-Dixie with self-checkout; almost like using Apple Pay in a social vacuum.

My worst case scenario followed the next day at Walgreens: terminal is picky at picking up the iPhone, still requests PIN input with my debit card, asks for an optional donation to an organization, presents cash back options, asks to confirm total. Four or so screens to get through all while a line builds up behind me. Had I paid by swiping my card I wouldn’t have noticed, but it crossed my mind that the process started by me waving my phone at the terminal.

What’s worse is the whole CurrentC episode that played out late last year causing problems even in big cities. Apple Pay worked at some non-official partners as expected, but later some of those merchants disabled support breaking expectations for shoppers.

Other merchants like CVS Pharmacy and Best Buy have terminals that display the contactless payment logo but manually disable support to block Apple Pay and other mobile payment solutions in favor of the upcoming CurrentC service.

Unless you follow technology news closely and know the backstory with Mobile Customer Exchange, you may attempt to use Apple Pay at one of these locations without success and be turned off by the experience. Hopefully this issue is resolved in the future.

Even some Apple Pay partners aren’t 100% prepared for accepting mobile payment services which makes using the service tricky.

Apple Pay worked flawlessly for me at Walgreens and McDonalds on the day of its launch, but the payment method did not work at my neighborhood Subway (an Apple Pay partner with terminals that support contactless payments) when I tried it a few weeks later. I also tried using Apple Pay at a local drug store with terminals displaying the contactless payment logo without luck.

In both instances the iPhone 6 knew something with Apple Pay was happening as it activated Passbook and displayed a message saying “Hold Near Reader to Pay”, but hiccups somewhere along the way (not distance!) couldn’t close the deal.

This is really where the way it feels to use Apple Pay comes in.

Swiping a card is largely the norm; paying with cash is acceptable; paying with a check is inconvenient, last decade, and increasingly not accepted by merchants, but not completely foreign. Paying with other methods are different. Despite contactless payments and mobile payment services existing years ahead of Apple Pay, the whole concept hasn’t become the new norm yet in the United States.

Apple also hasn’t actively marketed Apple Pay with the iPhone 6 using TV ad spots like it has other features like the Health app on iOS 8, sending voice messages, and using the camera. Not found in Apple’s recent TV spots for the iPhone: anything about Apple Pay.

There’s certainly no shortage of Apple Pay compatible iPhones out in the wild with over 74 million iPhones (a mix of old and new models) sold around the world last quarter.

Once the Apple Watch hits the market in April, even more people will be able to use Apple Pay as pairing the Watch with the older iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s models lets you use the mobile payment service in stores, according to Apple.

As ready for the Apple Watch as I am, though, I imagine paying with Apple Pay and the Apple Watch will have the social side effects of feeling like an early technology adopter even at official partner merchants like Walgreens and Whole Foods.

This is not to say that Apple Pay isn’t a winner, but that whole experience is more nuanced than that. In general, I use Apple Pay at least once a week around town. I’d love to use it everywhere for the security benefits alone, and I’m confident we’ll see more merchants accept the payment type over time.

My current Apple Pay use is at the same few locations each time, and I’m reluctant to try Apple Pay again at places where it hasn’t worked in the past. There are even a few mom-and-pop shops that recently added terminals with the contactless payment logo, but I’m about as comfortable asking if they accept checks as I am trying to hover my iPhone over that reader at those places.  Explaining the abstract concept of mobile payments to a cashier after a failed attempt isn’t a great experience, and trying again time and again inconveniences both the cashier and the person checking out.

Even without a marketing campaign in people’s living rooms led by Apple, mobile payment services like Apple Pay will become more common in the US—even helping services like Google Wallet—but I would love to see a bigger push from Apple to make Apple Pay feel as normal as swiping a credit card.

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When Pay Per Click Is Not Right For You

One of my main job functions is recommending online marketing strategy for specific client situations. Over the last five years, I’ve looked at a lot of different client situations in a variety of verticals.

Often, we provide a comprehensive proposal and suggest the whole package: PPC, SEO, Call Tracking, Social Media, Email Marketing, and Omniture Analytics.

But some clients have too limited a budget, or have an offering where not all of these strategies make sense.

1. You need traffic immediately.

2. You have a crystal clear conversion goal.

If you’re selling something they can buy online, or trying to get a lead generation form filled out, that’s a pretty clear goal. The more goals you have, the vaguer they are, and the less they can be achieved online, the more trouble you’ll have optimizing. You should use call tracking when the lead or sale happens on the phone.

3. You have a product or service people are already looking for online.

4. You want the opportunity to warm up prospects.

Certainly, you can test meta descriptions and their effects on natural search visitors, but you’d have to create the system – especially if you want to split test them during the same time period – whereas one already is set up for you in AdGroups.

1. You sell clowns

Studies have shown that not many people buy or sell clowns. And what clown sales there are usually happen in the real life black market, not online. OK, that one was a joke (but more to come on this market).

2. You have very small profit margins.

3. You’re trying to sell something so new that no one is searching for it.

If you’ve created a new product or service, chances are there will not be enough searches to justify the effort. Let’s say you start a service of clowns who sing songs for kids with cancer (I thought I’d use a really common business example). I’m guessing that the number of searches for singing clowns is not high. And of those searching for clowns, how many searchers need them for kids with cancer?

You might try to go for a related, more general niche like entertainment, but “entertainment for kids with cancer” may not be something people look for online. Your target would be hospital administrators or nurses. It’s probably better to just call them on the phone.

5. Your target market isn’t internet savvy or does most of their business offline.

They won’t be searching for what you’re offering online. Go back to the 80’s and do not pass go, do not collect $200.

A Brief Look At The Strengths of Other Strategies

As you can see, you should prioritize other strategies more highly when:

You don’t need most of your traffic right away- you have time to wait for SEO traffic or to create and run a social media campaign

Your niche’s competition and CPC is prohibitively high- in this case, SEO can be very expensive as well, so I’d think Social Media first)

You’re offering something so new that you first need to raise awareness- I’d use social media for this, not keyword/search-based marketing

If you can gain some profits from a house email list, you might be able to funnel that to PPC later

Facebook Archived More Than A Billion User Faces. Now It’s Deleting Them.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it was ending its Face Recognition system on the app and rolling back the technology in the coming weeks. In a press release, Jerome Pesenti, VP of artificial intelligence at Meta (the new name for Facebook’s parent company), said that the shutting down of the Face Recognition system and the imminent deletion of Facebook’s library of facial recognition templates is “a company-wide move away from this kind of broad identification, and toward narrower forms of personal authentication.” 

Soon, Facebook will no longer automatically recognize people’s faces in Memories, photos or videos uploaded to the app, or give suggestions for tagging who’s in a photo or video. It will also not be able to notify users if they appear in other photos or videos across the site. However, users can still manually tag friends in photos. 

This change also means that the Automatic Alt Text (AAT) technology that creates image descriptions for people who are blind or visually impaired will be turned off. The company noted that AAT is currently used to identify people in about 4 percent of photos. Other ATT functions that are not image-identification related will operate as normal. 

According to the company, more than a third of Facebook’s daily active users opt into the Face Recognition setting, so removing the system will mean that more than a billion people’s individual facial recognition templates will be deleted. Users who opted out of this setting do not have a stored face recognition template, and will not be impacted. 

[Related: One of Facebook’s first moves as Meta: Teaching robots to touch and feel]

“We still see facial recognition technology as a powerful tool, for example, for people needing to verify their identity, or to prevent fraud and impersonation,” Pesenti said. “But the many specific instances where facial recognition can be helpful need to be weighed against growing concerns about the use of this technology as a whole.” 

Adam Schwartz, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that this move reflects a growing awareness around the country and the world that face recognition technology is dangerous, harmful, privacy-invading, and biased.   

“There are cities in the United States that are banning their police from using it. There’s a strong law on the books in Illinois that bans companies from using it unless they first get permission from consumers,” Schwartz says. “There are efforts to pass a law just like that in Congress and around the country.”

Face recognition, which was first introduced by Facebook in 2010, has historically been a controversial feature on the app, and the use of the technology has been challenged legally. 

Facebook was sued under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act and agreed to settle a case for $650 million earlier this year for using faceprints and other biometric identifiers without permission. 

In 2023, Facebook paid the Federal Trade Commission a $5 billion fine for making misleading statements about who was going to be face printed. 

[Related: Congress is coming for big tech—here’s how and why]

“Facebook misrepresented users’ ability to control the use of facial recognition technology with their accounts,” the FTC wrote in a statement two years ago. “According to the complaint, Facebook’s data policy, updated in April 2023, was deceptive to tens of millions of users who have Facebook’s facial recognition setting called ‘Tag Suggestions’ because that setting was turned on by default, and the updated data policy suggested that users would need to opt-in to having facial recognition enabled for their accounts.”

In response to these events, Facebook changed its face print system to one requiring opt-in consent, Schwartz says. But, even with permission, he notes that it’s still a dangerous technology. “These images could be diverted to other uses, they can be stolen by data thieves, they can be seized by the police with a warrant,” he says. 

Facial recognition is a common technology. “Unfortunately it’s not hard to get,” Schwartz says. It’s usually comprised of sophisticated computer algorithms that are able to take images of two faces, make a mathematical representation of each face, and then compare the two mathematical representations and see if they’re similar enough to be a match. 

After that, it would need human confirmation, which is why Facebook only suggests a tag or why police are supposed to look at the computer’s suggestions of a match and decide whether there actually is a match, Schwartz explains.  

[Related: Facebook changes its name as it pushes toward a digital reality future]

Even if Facebook obliterated every one of its algorithms that powers face recognition, “it could get another one,” Schwartz says. But since they’re no longer screening uploaded images and destroying their library of a billion faceprints, “if they were to restart their program, they would have to start again from zero on recreating their database of faceprints.” 

Pesenti said in the release that Facebook still thinks that facial recognition technology could be useful in a narrow set of cases, like helping people gain access to a locked account or verifying the user’s identity to access a financial product or other types of personal data. 

“Facial recognition can be particularly valuable when the technology operates privately on a person’s own devices,” and sends no face data to an external server, Pesenti wrote. “We believe this has the potential to enable positive use cases in the future that maintain privacy, control and transparency, and it’s an approach we’ll continue to explore as we consider how our future computing platforms and devices can best serve people’s needs.”

It’s Not About The Data…

It’s all about the story…

It’s a jungle out there, dog eat dog, and unstructured data is proliferating at an exponential rate. As a marketer you have to be careful, you don’t want to get sucked into this digital Wild West, even the quickest out there could get stung.

Yet, there are opportunities to be had, little nuggets of 24-carat gold that can provide your business with a cutting edge worth millions. Sounds like an opportunity, right?

However, just as the prospectors found it tough trying to make a buck during the 19th century Alaskan gold rush so businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to make sense of how to make big data pay. So even at this early stage of its evolution businesses are asking, what does the future of big data look like?

There isn’t an easy answer but as Shawn O’Neal, VP of Global Marketing Data and Analytics at Unilever, put it at the HAVAS chúng tôi data festival in London recently: ‘The number one lesson I’ve learned in 20 years of working in data and analytics and trying to convince people that the data is saying something is that it’s not about the data. It’s about how you tell the story and translate’.

‘No matter how good the data is, if you can’t portray it in a human, connected way to business decision makers, it never has an impact. It’s about story-telling. The data could be 1% but it is the nugget that stimulates everything.’

How will data tell an engaging story?

In today’s social and mobile world, businesses need to move faster and share knowledge more broadly than ever before. So they need to move quickly but also translate huge amounts of data, which can take time.

Nobel Prize winner and behavioural psychologist Daniel Kahneman explored the notion that we have two ways of processing data in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. He theorised that we have two basic systems of thought, ‘Thinking Fast’ is unconscious, intuitive and effort-free. ‘Thinking Slow’ is conscious, uses deductive reasoning and is high-effort.

‘Slow’ likes to think it is in charge, but it’s really the irrepressible ‘fast’ that runs the show, making thousands of decisions and judgements every second.

The problem with analytics is that it’s all about ‘thinking slow’, it requires focus and laborious analysis.

The challenge is to move data analytics from ‘slow’ to ‘fast’, intuitive thinking. Going straight for the gold but armed with the knowledge of 100 geography professors.

In thinking about ‘it’s not about the data’ Adoreboard aims to do is to make it possible for the most sophisticated thinking system in the world to make a decision based on information presented by the best man-made computers in the world.

Copernicus changed the world when he came up with On the Revolutions of Celestial Orbis, yet he only had a limited amount of data available to him in 1543, it was intuitive insight that allowed him to make the imaginative leap and place the sun at the centre of our solar system.

And, we agree with O’Neal, that’s the future of data analytics, presenting the data in such an innately human way that it allows decision makers to make that all important imaginative leap and turn insight into opportunity.

But what does this look like? One of the biggest challenges for digital marketers in the next five years will be to create a bridge for people to understand what the data is saying.

Decision makers need the ability to digest and understand data quickly, often on the move, often through a mobile and definitely within a very short time window.

What if the prospectors of 19th century Alaska had the geographical knowledge that we have now and they could just point a mobile phone at a mountain and the phone translated the data and presented a picture of where the gold was? Maybe that is the future of data analytics.

Let’s look to the future

If the future is not about the data, how can we switch data analysis from thinking slow to thinking fast? Here at Adoreboard we’ve been experimenting with different ways of analysing data to tell stories. In doing so we’ve collaborated with world renowned innovators from Havas helia to Ministry of Sound, here are 3 examples…

Three campaign examples of experiencing and interpreting data

Data visual experience

We analysed how the media and public viewed the highs and lows of golfer Rory McIlroy’s eventful year and presented our findings in a full-blown brand sponsorship report (download it for free here) from which we produced an audio-visual data interpretation. From the break-up of his relationship with tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki through to a Ryder Cup victory in September and beyond, we charted and expressed publicly expressed emotion through a 2 minute music and data visualisation.

Data music experience:

What if your brand had a beat, how would it sound and what would you change? Adoreboard teamed up with Ministry of Sound and Havas helia to create a house music interpretation of what Twitter users think about certain individuals and brand names. We used mathematical algorithms for 20 emotions expressed in tweets that turn them into melodies and rhythms. So feelings such as love, hate, anger, surprise, annoyance and trust each create their own individual sounds.

Data avatar experience:

Through collaboration with Cantoche, a French base specialist in avatars, we created a virtual media assistant who could process the emotions expressed online and convert this into a facial expression. Facial expressions are something we, as people, have a natural ability to instantly interpret – it’s amazing how quickly we can understand something without communicating through words.

It’s not all about the data 

As a wise man once said, it’s not all about the data. If you can’t portray it in a human, connected way to business decision makers it never has an impact.

What are your thoughts? How can we move data understanding from thinking slow to thinking fast, so as to speed up the process of data understanding? How can data be portrayed in a more meaningful, humanistic way, appealing to the visual, auditory and kinesthetic communicators?

Opinion: Has Apple Finally Promoted Icloud From A Hobby To A Serious Service?

I wrote a piece last month arguing that it was time for Apple to up its iCloud game, showing that the company is serious about cloud storage by focusing more on fast, reliable syncing, and by matching the functionality, storage capacities, and pricing of Google Drive.

In the WWDC keynote, Apple did exactly that. MobileMe may not, in Steve Jobs’ words, have been Apple’s finest hour, but it did at least include iDisk – an online drive we could access directly to store anything we liked – not just documents created in Apple’s own apps. It’s been a long time coming, but iDisk is finally back in the form of iCloud Drive.

The new iCloud pricing, too, looks set to be exactly what I asked for – comparable to Google Drive… 

Apple previously gave us 5GB free, then 15GB for $20/year, 25GB for $40/year and maxed-out at a paltry 55GB for $100/year. I pointed out that Google Drive, in contrast, gave us 15GB free, 100GB for $24/year and 1TB for $120/year.

What Apple has so far announced is this:

We still only get 5GB free, but 200GB for $48/year is exactly in line with Google’s 100GB for $24/year. That suggests the 1TB tier will also be comparable.

Apple maxes out at 1TB in contrast with Google’s 30TB, but to be honest, 1TB is likely to be enough for any individual or one-person business – and it’s of course possible to have one account per person in larger businesses. I’m happy enough with that.

I also complained about the lag you sometimes got in syncing via iCloud, and the less-than-seamless handoff when working on the same document on multiple devices. The proof will be in the pudding, but the Handoff feature in Yosemite appears to be promising instantaneous syncing between the same document on OS X and iOS devices – and Apple is touting this as just one of a number of “continuity features.”

There’s one other thing Apple has to get right to make iCloud a true replacement for all other cloud storage services: app support.

Dropbox has succeeded in making itself the default cloud storage option for any data that an app needs to sync or transfer between devices. There are a vast number of apps out there with Dropbox support baked right into them. It’s the reason I still have a (free) Dropbox account in addition to my Google Drive.

Fortunately, it looks like Apple is on track with that too: third parties can hook right into the iCloud Drive APIs. So if developers support iCloud Drive, that automatically creates support for third-party services that hook into it – which Dropbox will surely do.

It may even be that iCloud Drive kills Dropbox. Dropbox gives even less space than Apple for free – just 2GB (though referrals can take that up to 16GB), and then charges $199/year for 200GB (vs $48 on Apple’s new iCloud pricing) and an absurd $499/year for 500GB (vs $120 for twice as much on Google Drive). If it doesn’t fix that, it may not be around for too much longer.

So has Apple finally given me what I wanted, and turned iCloud into a serious product that will allow me to stop messing around with an untidy mish-mash of iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive? Time will tell, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m optimistic.

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How Your Business Can Accept Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a fast, easy, secure digital payment method growing more popular with consumers and businesses. If you’re a small business interested in accepting Apple Pay, we’ll break down everything you need to know about its benefits and costs, how it works for your business, and how to start accepting Apple Pay.  

Editor’s note: Looking for the right credit card processor for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

If you don’t accept credit cards yet: 

If your business doesn’t already accept credit cards or your current processor doesn’t support Apple Pay, follow these steps:

Find a credit card processor that supports Apple Pay. Most top card processors enable Apple Pay for their clients. Check out our review of Helcim, our Square review, our Chase Payment Solutions review, and our review of Stax to learn more about credit card processors that support Apple Pay.

Sign up for an account with your credit card processor. After selecting a credit card processor with the pricing and features you need, set up your account. Ensure Apple Pay is enabled.

Order NFC-enabled credit card readers. Obtain your NFC-enabled credit card readers and set up and test your system.

Train your staff on accepting Apple Pay. Your staff must instruct customers to hold their phones near the NFC reader to pay. Your team must also know how to select Apple Pay as the payment type in your POS system.

Post signage about accepting Apple Pay. Signs letting customers know your business accepts Apple Pay can help boost sales, especially among younger customers.


If you need to accept credit card payments using your phone, you must ensure your credit card processor provides mobile card readers and supports mobile payments. Many mobile card readers are also NFC-enabled, so you can also accept Apple Pay.

How does Apple Pay work for businesses?

To implement Apple Pay, your business must already accept credit cards. You’ll need a credit card processor or facilitator to accept and process customer payments for online and in-person purchases made with Apple Pay. That processor or facilitator must also accept Apple Pay and enable Apple Pay on your account. For in-person payments, you’ll need a card reader that accepts NFC payments.  

When a customer purchases using Apple Pay, the credit card processor or facilitator processes the transaction and deposits the money into your account, minus any fees.  


If you’re looking for a payment facilitator, it’s easy to start accepting credit cards with PayPal, Square or Stripe.

Did You Know?

Online payment security tips include requiring two-factor authentication, verifying transactions and buying cyber-liability insurance.

How much does it cost to accept Apple Pay?

There is no cost to the buyer to use Apple Pay to make purchases. However, your credit card processor or facilitator will charge your business a fee for each Apple Pay transaction, just as it would for every credit card transaction. The transaction fee is a percentage of the purchase total plus a flat per-transaction amount.

Credit card processors don’t charge any additional fees for Apple Pay transactions, so there are no additional costs related to accepting Apple Pay beyond their standard credit card processing fees.

Credit card processors and facilitators that accept Apple Pay

Many of the best credit card processors and facilitators accept Apple Pay. Here’s a breakdown of top processors and their associated fees.


Apple Pay in-person transaction fee

Cost of NFC-enabled card reader






2.6% + $0.10



2.7% + $0.05


Processors (may also charge monthly fees)

Merchant One

0.29% to 1.55%

Free for new customers


2.6% + $0.10

$9.95 per month


Interchange + 0.5% + $0.15

Free for new customers


Read our review of Clover, our Merchant One review and our ProMerchant review to learn more about these credit card processors and their associated fees.

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