How Apple play affects The Digital Money Game

Now that Apple Pay is here, how does it affect the projects in your pipeline? Which should you drop, where should you invest more and who should you look to partner next? We are at the cusp of the creation of a new ecosystem. But will Apple Pay fare better than Google Wallet did when it first launched in May 2011? There is a feeling of Déjà vu and Let’s Wait and See. For Apple as well, Apple Watch was No. 1 – payments was No. 2.

So is this going to ignite NFC payments? How will things change? The short answer is I don’t think anyone knows yet. We’ll what are the mobile operators thinking now – we all know Verizon was not a cheer leader for the Google Wallet. What is PayPal thinking? What if Walmart does not come around?

Why is this important?


The major factor for any new payment service is adoption. So far adoption of NFC has been a 10-year war between the banks and the mobile operators and has struggled to gain traction.

Then in 2011 we had the entry of the Google wallet, and each of the card schemes with their own wallets. Still consumers and merchants failed to adopt. While contactless cards have gradually crept into use, paying by phone continues to prove elusive, for a variety of reasons, with one of the main ones claimed to be lack of handsets, customer security concerns and business model.

Apple has 800 million customers as “card on file”. Additionally the API will be available to developers. Merchant support has already been announced: Integration with Uber, a food app from Panera, Major League Baseball's app to order tickets from your phone, and Open Table to pay your bill from your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Apple API to be offered in iOS 8 to allow app developers to integrate Apple Pay into their applications.

Apple has a following, so is not dependant on mobile operators to push their phones, however operator subsidies that could be as high as $500 help make them affordable. The rapid adoption of smartphones across the world has changed the balance of power. Certainly in the US, Apple is Top Dog as a smartphone manufacturer, with 42.1% OEM market share as of June 2014 according to comScore reports.

However while in the US and Europe Samsung and Apple dominate, the share of both providers has been dropping in emerging markets where we see a fragmentation emerging. In urban China, Xiaomi with its affordable RedMi model continues to go from strength to strength, securing a 27% share of smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2014, compared with 21.1% for Samsung. And payments by watch + iPhone cannot be a top priority for the masses in emerging markets.

Too little too late?

So far Apple was a late starter where contactless payments are concerned. Like a swan, the movement seemed to be more “under-water”, as news of patents obtained for motion based payments got out in January 2013. Apple obtained a US Patent for a digital wallet and virtual currency. It described a system of managing credits via mobile device. Mobile users would be able to receive credits or coupons stored in their account. Check out Patently Apple for the whole background.

Back in June 2013 Apple released its first mobile commerce platform, called the iCloud Keychain: consumers could an store a variety of information, such as passwords and financial details for use across several Apple devices (Mac, iPhone or iPad) to log into websites or make purchases online. The platform did not support NFC and existed as an application rather than a physical device.

Earlier in June 2012, the Apple bar-code-based Passbook mobile wallet was launched, as a basic mobile wallet without payment functions, using barcodes to store and represent multiple boarding passes, store cards, and movie tickets. It had location-enabled alerts, and real-time updates and it displayed passes based on a specific time or location. When consumers walk into a participating shop the loyalty card appears and can be scanned to pay or check balance. It was expected that this could evolve into a mobile payment service by linking the Passbook to customer credit cards and iTunes accounts.

Effect on the Digital Money Game

Contactless payments that Apple Pay now propose to offer comes as a reinforcement

A word about the format of The Digital Money Game

Thanks very much for your kind support and interest in The Digital Money Game. I am deeply touched.

A number of you have asked whether you could have a printed copy. I wanted to explain why we chose to publish an e-book, how to get it no matter where you are worldwide, and how to use it and get updates.

First of all I do strongly empathize with your sentiments. I myself love to have a physical book to hand. But…

  • I could hardly write a book that advocates the ‘7C’s of digital money and then ignore those when publishing the book. That would be inconsistent.
  • I want the book to be available at a price point that is accessible to everyone across the world as I want this to be a resource that people pick up when they are making life choices about their career.
  • I want to be able to update it frequently as this is such a fast changing space, and have the new version made available to existing customers. So don’t be surprised when you get an e-mail from Amazon notifying you that an update is available. It is FREE and all you will need to do is enable updates on your reader.
  • And most important of all, I had to get it out fast to every part of the world. That is where Amazon Kindle really comes into its own. You should be able to download it in minutes, no matter where you are.

You do not need to have a Kindle device. Just download the free Kindle reading app. The Kindle for PC supports you in reading the book on your computer.


Some of you felt that they were unable to buy on Amazon. I have received an assurance from the Amazon team that customers living in countries without a localized Amazon website can order it on No matter where you are it should be accessible to you.

When you get to Amazon, if it says “Pricing information not available” , please look to the right of the page. You should see a box similar to the one below. This will direct you to the appropriate website for you.


We are not ruling out the possibility of offering printed copies. Once we have a few more books in the series out, if there is sufficient demand and we can find a way of making it affordable we shall certainly consider this.

Meanwhile thanks again, and please don’t hesitate to write to me or drop us an email at  in case you have any questions. I hope you enjoy the book and greatly look forward to your feedback.

We will discuss your questions and feedback at The Digital Money Group on LinkedIn and you are all very welcome to join us there.

For background on this post please see Why I wrote The Digital Money Game.