3 questions about Apple Pay for nonprofits

1 Oct


Predictably, Apple’s announcement of Apple Pay has kicked off a lot of speculation around its impact for nonprofits. With a reported 300 million credit cards on file globally, Apple Pay is seen to represent a treasure trove of ready to give donors. Or so it would seem. From my point-of-view there are three key questions that need to be addressed before the Apple Pay hype cycle gets too frothy.

1. Is your nonprofit ready to process donations via an Apple Pay terminal?

Apple Pay at its core is a near-field communication (NFC) product similar to Google Wallet. Inside an Apply Pay compatible phone is a NFC chip that must be passed over an Apple Pay terminal at point-of-sale to complete the sale using the purchasers stored iTunes credit card. In theory it should be simple, however, Google Wallet has hardly rocked the payment landscape.

So your nonprofit would have to have an Apple Pay terminal and a way to tell the terminal how much to process for a donation for it to be used to take donations. This means buying a terminal and an unknown device to tell the terminal how much to process for a donation dollar amount. Ostensibly a nonprofit will have to “plug into” Apple Pay via this terminal and as controlling as Apple is I am fairly certain there will be an application process to get an Apple Pay NFC terminal.

Get ready for Apple to pick winners and losers in who gets a terminal.

How do you use the terminal when your donors are not present to swipe their phone? The terminal could be at your event but if 50 people want to give they’ll have to line up in order to swipe their phone AND you will have to have connectivity at your event so the terminal can communicate with the iTunes ecosystem.

What do you tell folks carrying Android devices? What about all the donors that are not present to swipe their phone?

2. Will Apple even allow nonprofits to use Apple Pay given their stance on fundraising apps?

Referring back to the point above about the picking of winners and losers, Apple’s current stance on fundraising apps in the iTunes store is to not allow them in. This leads me to question whether or not they will allow nonprofits into Apple Pay at all or if they will, like Facebook has done with their donate capability, only allow a few big nonprofits to use the service.

Even if they let nonprofits in, which I doubt, Apple’s current slice of the transactions in the iTunes App store is 30%. That’s a HUGE slice of the donation to give up to make folks lineup and wait to give via their passing their phone over the terminal.

3. How will Apple Pay help with mobile giving via your existing web presence and your presence in other channels like email, social media and direct mail?

Bottom line is Apple Pay can’t help with Google SEO or mobile visitors to your primary domain URL wanting to make donations to you and yet you’re still relying on a PC giving experience for mobile visitors.

There can’t be a connection to Apple Pay in email, social media or direct mail, all channels you’ve invested in and now need to maximize by adding frictionless and optimized mobile giving options.

In this light Apple Pay has no positive impact and may amount to the same impact of accepting Bitcoin donations.

In summary, what I would like to investigate further is how Apple Pay can facilitate web-based donations but again, this is like question number two above. Apple has ways to facilitate in app purchases and they’re not open to fundraising apps so I seriously doubt they open web-based ways of giving using a donors stored iTunes credit card information.

Apple Pay is at the end of the day one of those things you slow down and look at but there’s not much to see so it’s best to just move along.

Dale Knoop is part of a great team working to make RAZ Mobile a great platform for any cause engaged in fundraising. Any cause can create an content-rich mobile presence, share it through text messages, social media, QR codes, advertising and more and best of all-quickly and securely process donations from motivated supporters. Dale holds multiple patents and applications for patent in the mobile space including advertising, content optimization, geo-targeting and negative QOS.

One Response to “3 questions about Apple Pay for nonprofits”

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