Is Apple Pay popular in China

Apple Pay in Germany: Pay like in China

The start of Apple Pay in Germany is considered a breakthrough for smart payments. But to use it, you have to overcome various hurdles.

Paying with the smartphone: Up until now, Germany was still lagging behind. Photo: Jonas Leupe / Unsplash

BERLINtaz | In the Far East, paying by mobile phone is already part of everyday life. The development has advanced furthest in China, where cash is already considered a thing of the past. Young and old simply pull out their smartphones at the cash register. Even beggars and street musicians set up barcodes with payment information in front of them - otherwise they would no longer receive any gifts. Because everyone has their cell phone with them anyway, they save themselves having to carry a wallet with them. In Japan it has even been possible since the beginning of the century to travel the subway or go shopping with a cell phone simply by touching payment terminals.

Germany, on the other hand, has so far looked backward. But the mobile payment revolution has also been in preparation here for years - and could now affect broad sections of the population. The long-awaited launch of Apple Pay on Tuesday is considered a breakthrough for new procedures that can make debit and credit cards superfluous.

“There are more and more opportunities for customers to use mobile payment services at the checkout,” says Julian Grigo, an expert in banking services at the Bitkom digital association. According to a study by the association, only one in five Germans expects to still primarily use cash in 20 years' time. In the reality of 2018, however, according to the survey, security concerns still predominate. But the advocates of digital technology such as Bitcom expert Grigo expect that people will quickly get used to the new payment method.

Customers in Germany can now choose between numerous systems. There is Google Pay, which is available for phones with the Android operating system. To do this, users have to download the app of the same name from the store and connect it to a payment method. The savings banks, Deutsche Bank, the Payback discount program, the US financial service PayPal and several smaller competitors also offer money apps.

Not all iPhone owners are automatically included from the start. Only those who have an account with a participating bank at the same time can use the function

Nevertheless, the variety of providers has so far been seen by experts as a problem for developments in Germany. There are a lot of acceptance points - after all, the discounters Lidl and Aldi, the supermarket chain Rewe, the dm drugstores, the department stores Karstadt and Kaufhof, the electrical chains Media Markt and Saturn or the Thalia bookstores have appropriately equipped tills. But not all accept all systems. Some rely on the Payback app, others only on Google or Apple.

Not all iPhone owners are automatically included from the start. Only those who have an account with a participating bank at the same time can use the function. These include the digital banks N26, Fidor and Comdirect as well as Deutsche Bank, Hypo-Vereinsbank and Santander. One way out is to use an American Express credit card. You order a credit card and connect it to your account. For example, customers of the Sparkasse or other banks who do not participate in Apple Pay can also use the payment service.

Ultimately, however, German users also have advantages over technology-loving Chinese. Because of the late introduction, they get more modern technology. Customers also enjoy more privacy. While the Chinese WeChat group Tencent is hoarding the details of its customers in detail, Apple only saves the information that is really necessary for the payment.