Is your organization ready to implement Apple Pay for In-App purchases?

applepayApple Pay can be a valuable tool for organizations to increase their conversion rates and ultimately drive revenue but there are some important factors to consider before making the Apple Pay leap.

Are your Merchant Services ready for Apple Pay?

 While Apple Pay adoption is on the rise, many of the merchant services providers have yet to implement a robust solution that includes the same functionality as their traditional card transaction services. A couple of the issues you may want to address with your merchant services provider are:

  • Does your provider support multiple authorizations  and settlements for Apple Pay transactions?

This factor may come into play if your organization has the need to modify the authorization amount based on shipping or tax deviations. If your merchant services provider doesn’t support this, it could mean having to write off any variations when settling your Apple Pay transactions. 

  • Does your provider support the same networks through Apple Pay that it supports in credit card transactions? (i.e. MasterCard, Visa, Discover, Amex etc.)

All major cards are supported by Apple for Apple Pay but that doesn’t mean that your processor or payment gateways support all cards. For many merchant services providers some traditional cards are not supported for Apple Pay

Is your workflow ready for Apple’s strict transaction flow?

Apple prides itself on providing a swift and simple experience for Apple Pay customers and enforces the Apple Pay experience by providing an API that developers can integrate with. This API provides integration points for a few events that occur when the user interacts with the Apple Pay dialogue. As each predefined event happens the Apple Pay dialogue sends information to your app about the transaction, i.e. shipping address, billing address, shipping method etc… The events that are triggered are as follows:

Collect all preliminary data from the user prior to even exposing the Apple Pay button

Wait is this an event? Well no, not in the traditional sense of the word but it is still something that has to be completed by your app. Once a user presses the “Pay with Apple Pay” button the Apple Pay dialogue should take over and Apple prohibits any more dialogue from within the app. This means that you can’t ask any more questions or collect any promotional codes once the user has decided to pay using Apple Pay. Because of this you will need to make sure that this information is collected before you even display the Apple Pay button to the user.

The user provides a shipping address and shipping contact information

Once the user presses the Apple Pay button an Apple provided dialogue appears. This dialogue collects shipping, billing and contact information depending on which fields your app has indicated are required. Once the user supplies the information it will be sent to your app. This is a good time to contact your servers to calculate shipping and tax information. It is important to note that only City, State and Postal Code are provided during this step, the complete shipping details will be provided at the end of the transaction. Apple believes that this should be sufficient enough to calculate shipping methods and costs while maintaining a certain degree of privacy for customers. It is also worth mentioning that Apple does not verify shipping addresses. This means that any address you receive may or may not be valid. After all calculations have been completed your app will send back the new list of line items, tax, and available shipping options as well as any validation issues that were encountered while calculating shipping. If your process is dependent on using a service that “suggests” addresses to your customers, you should think about this part of the process carefully. There is no opportunity to make address suggestions to customers once they have been validated. As far as the Apple Pay sheet is concerned, an address is either deemed valid by your servers or it is not.

The user chooses a shipping method

After Apple Pay receives the new shipping options and line items the user can select a shipping method. The key part of this is that the user is allowed to choose “a shipping method”. This means that there can only be one shipping method for a transaction regardless of multiple shipping origins etc… After the user selects the shipping method you have a chance to complete any back end work that is necessary and provide a new set of line items complete with tax, shipping and total.

The user chooses a payment method

Now that the user has entered their shipping address and selected a shipping method the next step is for the user to choose a payment method. This is pretty straight forward and can sometimes be ignored depending on whether or not your app needs to do anything specific for different payment networks. When your app initiates an Apple Pay transaction one of the parameters that you will provide is a list of the specific networks that you will accept through Apple Pay (Discover, Visa etc..). If the user has not added one of the cards that your app supports, then the Apple Pay button should not be shown to the user in order to avoid any confusion. Luckily, the Apple Pay API provides a way to determine if a device and user have Apple Pay enabled before you present the Apple Pay button.

The user authorizes the payment

This is the moment we have all been waiting for. Finally, the user has confirmed the purchase and you have sold a product! At this point Apple has created a token and sends a collection of all transaction details that includes all of the billing, shipping and contact information along with a unique Apple Pay token that will be used by your backend to complete processing through your merchant services.

The transaction is complete!

Once all events are complete, the API will notify your app and give it an opportunity to do any necessary cleanup. You can also use this opportunity to direct the user to a confirmation page in your app.

Overall, the Apple Pay experience is both simple and fast, and if implemented correctly, can be used as a tool to drive sales. However, if you fail to take all of the restrictions that Apple imposes into consideration you could end up stuck half way through implementation wondering what to do next. Hopefully, this information will help you determine if your organization is ready for Apple Pay.



Joshua Clounch
Technology Consultant for SystemwarePS