Apple Pay is a springboard for content about money and security

Apple Pay is coming to Europe. When it launched in the US two weeks ago, more than a million credit cards were registered in three days. Amy Wilson looks at content marketing to exploit the endless interest in spending money.

By Amy Wilson

Using your mobile phone to pay for things is not new – Google Wallet has been around since 2011, and as Wired magazine points out, Starbucks is already taking 7 million payments a week by mobile phone in the US. But as is often the case, Apple seems to have come up with a system that is easier to use, and in many ways just better.

For businesses, the costs of transactions are hugely reduced when there is less cash involved, and customers benefit from the speed of simply tapping a smartphone. Businesses therefore should be seizing the opportunity to use content marketing to convince customers to give mobile and online payments a chance. They could be sponsoring debate to give all the issues, including negative ones, a proper airing.

The pages of Apple’s website which explain Apple Pay, for example, devote the majority of their space to security concerns. That suggests a substantial part of people’s resistance to mobile and online payments and contactless card readers is down to fears of misuse. This is understandable because retailers have been hit by a number of substantial credit card frauds, such as the theft of 40 million card numbers from US chain Target, and theft at Home Depot.

A look at the top Google searches around Apple Pay returns + security, + stores, + demo and + vs Google Wallet, demonstrating that people want a bit more information before they blithely turn their mobile phone into a credit card.

Apple says it has worked with US banks and credit card companies to make Apple Pay as secure as possible: you register the card you want to use on your iPhone 6, but your credit card number and other details are not stored on your phone or on Apple’s servers. Payments also go through a touch-recognition button on the screen for your fingerprint only.

This all sounds great, but the fact is cash still accounts for about 85 per cent of global consumer transactions, according to MasterCard.

As a retailer, hotel company, restaurant chain, bank or any number of customer-facing businesses, you may well want to start offering Apple Pay next year, as well as the rival mobile systems which are bound to follow shortly behind. Your own website is a good place to start explaining why your mobile payment system is secure, and to calm fears about gangs of hackers stealing card details.

A good example of this is the simple list of information compiled by Apple for Apple Pay: how it works, what device you need to use it on, where you can use it, what shops accept it, what bank cards it works with.

Barclays has also created a good explainer page for its Pingit money transfer service, and illustrated the service using donations to Children in Need, the kind of transaction people want to do on the spur of the moment without a lot of fuss.

Money and how we spend it is also an interesting subject to share with your customers and readers, and for them to share with their networks. Stories about restaurant customers buying £10,000 bottles of wine, the cost of an average house in London or the amount women spend having their hair cut are perennial best-read articles for news sites. You can use your product, brand and associated topics to create this content on your own website. Add to this a new Apple product and fears over security, and you have lots of hooks from which to create great content.

Debit card brand Maestro had a very successful campaign a few years ago, producing monthly surveys of the cost of daily life eg the cost of graduating from university which came out in June, and the cost of going back to school in September. This is the kind of thing people love to read about and is likely to be shared via social media as well as picked up by newspapers. Any brand can join in – the cost of turkeys at Christmas, travel at half term, winter tyres for cars and so on.

Using your own website and social media channels gives your business the chance to inform customers, who hopefully trust you, about a mobile payment service which will bring down your costs and speed up their lives. You can also engage with them on the subject of how they spend their money. Social media gives readers the chance to pass it on to other customers, giving your advice the added word-of-mouth stamp of approval.

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