I’ve been using Apple Wallet for about 5 years now and as an early adopter of the Watch, I’m really invested in trying to avoid carrying a physical wallet around with me if at all possible. The convenience of paying with your watch is great, especially in the summer when you aren’t wearing a coat and may not want to be saddled down with a wallet.
ApplePay and the prevalence of tap in Canada makes this a near reality on the payments front. There are times though when I need to carry around a slimmed down wallet for transactions that exceed $100 or for government issued identification etc. That’s virtually unavoidable.
The Costanza Wallet
What is avoidable is carrying around a bunch of other cards that you don’t want or need to be saddled with. Those of us old enough to remember Seinfeld are well aware of the Costanza wallet, George’s perpetually exploding vault of receipts, cards and photos.
Photos are easily handled by your phone. In fact, so are paper receipts; a quick snap and you’ve archived that receipt for future use.
But what about the bevy of loyalty cards and other tickets? Are you using the Apple Wallet to it’s fullest capacity? I’ll address some gripes about the current state of the union and what could be better.
So in my estimation, airlines are probably the best at this to-date. All the major airlines support both adding a their Miles program cards to the Wallet. As well, everybody (that I use anyways: Air Canada, American, Delta, United, Porter, WestJet) supports the dynamic ticketing for boarding passes that update with gate changes, note TSA-pre indications and indicate all other boarding details like the class of entry onto the flight. It would be nice however if they would support scanning the Apple Watch versions of the Pass as handing a $1000 phone back and forth with a gate agent is not my idea of safe handling, especially when the device acts as TFA (two-factor authentication) device.
It’s nice too when Ticketmaster and EventBrite support distribution of event tickets to the Wallet. It’s one less thing to lose in your wallet. Combine that with the ability to share and transfer passes to other people and you can avoid having to meet in person before events to dole out the ducats.
Alternate Payment / Loyalty
The hybrid payment method/loyalty point trackers such as a Starbucks card are sheer genius. They provide the ability to ensure you collect points with the transaction, are automatically presented as an option when you are in proximity of a favourite location and make for a convenient choice for the lazy. Layer on top of that the extended app that allows ordering in advance and auto-card reload and you have probably the premiere implementation that ensures repeat business.
Our company recently switched benefits providers from Sun Life to Manulife. I heard the odd complaint or two about the mobile application for Manulife. Having installed it and seeing that they implemented the Benefits card as a wallet integration was enough innovation for me in being freed from carrying one more occasional use card.
The first question when being asked to sign up for a loyalty program is as to whether I need to carry a physical card. If so, I’m out. Offering an electronic version of the card is a much better alternative. A scan of my current Wallet reveals Indigo, Canadian Tire and PC Optimum.
I am going to pick on the last a little entry a little bit. While I had no issue merging my PC Plus and Shoppers Optimum program accounts, I found that the resulting Wallet card had a huge oversight. Under the previous programs, both cards had a scannable Apple Watch version of the card. Now the combined entity doesn’t have this. It’s a pain to have to remember to bring the phone as well.
Do you have other cards for say gym memberships that require a scan entry? It’s asking a lot of smaller entities to provide Wallet support. There are however good apps like Pass2U that address this. The app allows you to scan the bar code, style it and even add a logo. Once you’ve designed the card to can place it directly in Wallet. I’ve tried this with a few and it’s a nice integration.
Hall of Shame
No post would be complete without the opportunity to highlight some pretty noticeable absences. The biggest offender in my books is Costco. They have a pretty lame app to begin with that doesn’t really tie back to your membership. Digging around looking for a card when entering a store is a pain at the best of times. Their use case screams for a card that automatically pops up when arrive at their location. I’ve actually read some blog posts where people defend the existing photo ID card and somehow ascribe special status. When you couple this with their antiquated POS systems that don’t support tap AND their long-standing feud with Visa in Canada, I can’t help but think they don’t put customers first in reducing friction in the experience.
Apple Pay Cash
Not yet released in Canada but hopefully coming soon is Wallet support for Apple Pay Cash. Imagine being able to pay IOUs and receive money from friends right away instead of using Interac Money Transfers or hearing “I’ll get you some cash next week”? I imagine that amounts will be severely restricted for obvious reasons, but that could prove to be a pretty useful addition to the Wallet.
Ideally in the future, government agencies will support digital identification and render many of the other documents we carry physically a thing of the past. Driver’s licences, passports, health cards… the list of possibilities goes on. Repeat viewings of George Costanza’s wallet will seem quaint and dated by future generations.