The preparations for Apple Pay's launch are in motion, with a Walgreens memo saying that it will launch Saturday (Oct. 18).
"Customers that participate in Apple Pay will immediately be able to use the service," said the Walgreens memo to store managers, according to a copy posted by Venture Beat. The memo underscored how alien the technology might appear to Walgreens managers, as it referred to NFC as "aka the upper portion of the PIN pad."
Tracking Apple Pay's launch is an art of tracking various dates, many of which are soft. We start with Oct. 20, which is when the version of iOS that supports Apple Pay will reportedly be released to iPhone users. That date might easily change, as OS release dates often do.
Then there's Oct. 16, which is when Apple will hold a news conference to unveil new and larger iPads, devices popular with retailers as demonstration units and possibly future payment devices. Apple is also expected to discuss Apple Pay at that time.
USAA said it will start provisioning its payment cards to support Apple Wallet on Nov. 7, according to Daily Dot, but has since backed off that date.
And Apple itself has started training its retail store employees, according to 9to5 Mac, telling associates that Apple Pay can be set up via the Passbook application via both the initial iOS 8 setup process or in a new Settings.app tab called Passbook & Apple Pay and that it will be limited to eight payment cards.
"For each connected credit card/bank, users will have a simple list of recent transactions, quick access to download an accompanying App Store app, the ability to contact their bank, the option to receive push notifications, and a display of both their credit card’s number and the unique device account number," the 9to5 Mac story reported. "Another cool tidbit is that if a credit card expires, Passbook will automatically update the card with the new expiration date from the credit card company. Users will not need to delete and re-add the card; they will simply receive a push notification alerting them that the changed occurred."
It also reported that Apple Pay is hoping to facilitate easy returns, at least within Apple's own stores. "A customer who wants to return an item can simply touch their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus against the Apple Store EasyPay machine to populate their recent transaction history in the store," the story said.
The story also detailed in-store tech support procedures. "What happens if Apple Pay is not working properly for a customer? At least in Apple Stores, retail employees will have access to special software called Apple Pay Demo that can troubleshoot an iPhone to determine if Apple Pay is not working due to an iPhone hardware issue," the story said. "If it is not a hardware issue, retail employees will refer customers to their bank and/or credit card provider. The Apple Pay Demo service can be conducted by any retail employee so that Genius Bars are not bothered with Apple Pay issues."