Apple announced during its Worldwide Developers Conference Monday that it is expanding Apple Pay to mobile and desktop websites.
The technology will only be available on devices running Apple's Mac and iOS operating systems, and is also exclusive to Apple’s Safari browser. "Just look for the Apple Pay button at checkout on many of your favorite shopping sites and complete your purchase with Touch ID on your iPhone or by using your Apple Watch," Apple explained in a press release. "Strong encryption protects all communication between your devices and Apple Pay servers, and Apple Pay does not track your purchases."
Target, Lululemon and Etsy have all signed up to host the Apple Pay feature on their sites.
Apple Pay is widely seen as the leader in mobile payments, accepted at more than 1.5 million locations across the United States and handling some two-thirds of all contactless payments.
This move, though limited to its own ecosystem, could help solidify Apple’s place in consumers minds and go further in replacing the “top of wallet” card they use to checkout, both online and in-store. Avoiding the need to type in credit card information is a big plus for retailers, who are always on the hunt for processes that will speed up and simplify online checkout times and decrease the number of abandoned shopping carts online. Reducing the buying process to one click, as PayPal has done, places Apple in direct competition with the payment company.
Introducing Apple's fingerprint sensor to the online checkout process also helps increase payment security on the web, according to CreditCards.com senior industry analyst Matt Schulz. While EMV chip-enabled cards have boosted security in at stores’ point of sales systems, security experts expect cyber-thieves to move to the web.
“Banks, retailers and consumers desperately want a way to make online shopping safer, and integrating Apple Pay's fingerprint sensor technology is an important step toward doing just that,” Schulz told Retail Dive in an email. “This is a great thing for Apple because it's going to drive more interest in Apple Pay. However, it's also a great thing for consumers because it will help make online shopping much safer.”
Apple Pay's limit to Safari might come at a disadvantage though, as it omits it from Google's Chrome browser, the largest in the world with more than a billion mobile users and 59% of the browser market. In a challenge to PayPal, and now Apple Pay, Google and Amazon have also been working on expanding their payment systems to work on retail sites.