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Apple Pay Is Here But Most People Won't Be Able To Use It

We're stuck using cash like a bunch of fools.

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The contactless payment system has been in place in the US for a year now, with more than 700,000 merchant locations now accepting payments via iPhone or the Apple Watch.

But in Australia, only American Express has so far signed up to the system.

That means that in order to use Apple Pay, you'll need to find a retailer that accepts contacless payments from Amex.

Just less than 20% of Australian consumers have an AmEx card, and many retailers refuse to accept it in Australia due to the high fees involved.

But many of Australia's largest retailers, including David Jones, Myer, McDonald's, K-Mart, Harvey Norman, Telstra, Coles, Woolworths, Target, Harris Farm, Starbucks, Officeworks, Hoyts, Zara, Bunnings and Shell will accept the payments, according to Fairfax, but only if you have an American Express card.

"Now Apple Pay is forever changing the way we pay for things," Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this year.

And while there is no great data on how many transactions are actually done through Apple, there is some indication that it's most widely used among younger consumers, who use it to make large purchases, mostly through their credit cards. In January, Tim Cook said that $2 out of every $3 in contactless payments on the Visa, MasterCard, and American Express networks were through Apple Pay.

And if you can use it, it's a pretty simple system. Once you've uploaded your credit card details to the Wallet app, all you need to do is hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near the credit card machine when it's time to make a purchase.

And, Apple insists, the system is more secure than a regular credit card payment.

"Apple decrypts the data, determines your card's payment network, and re-encrypts the data with a key that only your payment network (or any providers authorized by your card issuer for provisioning and token services) can unlock. Then it sends the encrypted data, along with other information about your iTunes and App Store account activity," Apple says.

If you're paying on your phone, you'll be asked to provide your fingerprint ID, and if you lose your phone or watch, you can remotely wipe your credit card details so no one else can access them.

Unfortunately for Australians, without any Australian banks on board, we won't be able to use Apple Pay with our Visas or Mastercards any time in the near future. But Apple says its hopeful Aussie banks will get on board quickly once they see how the system can be used.

Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Rob Stott at rob.stott@buzzfeed.com.

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