Hands On: Apple’s New EasyPay Makes Shopping Way Too Easy

Hands On: Apple’s New EasyPay Makes Shopping Way Too Easy

I went down to the local Apple store this evening with my son Lyle. The store is usually packed, and paying for something isn’t always easy.

That’s what Apple has developed EasyPay, a new system for scanning and paying for goods yourself using your own iPhone. You just scan the barcode and hit “Pay.” It’s so easy, Apple staffers joke it should be called “EasyTheft.” But it’s a pretty radical new way to go shopping.

Here’s a short video of us buying some goods, showing how quick and easy it is to use:

My son selected a case for the iPod touch. I got out my iPhone and we paid in six easy steps:

  • Join the store’s Wi-Fi network. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Choose the “Apple Store” network
  • Go back to your Home screen and launch the Apple Store app
  • The EasyPay button pops up. Hit it
  • Scan the barcode
  • Hit Purchase
  • Type in your iTunes password

That’s it! You’re done. The only hiccup we encountered was verifying the credit card Apple has on file. But this is a one-off process. The app didn’t ask for it again.

It’s pretty strange to go to a store and scan items yourself, as though you are an employee. No one paid us much attention. I tucked the case under my arm and we left the store. No one blinked an eye. Satisfied the system works, we went back in and did it again.

EasyPay works for most of the stuff on the store shelves — cases, cables, software, even higher-priced items like speakers. For major purchases like iPhones, iPods and computers, you still have to interact with a store employee.

It also won’t scan items that require Apple to record a serial number. We tried to buy a $99 Apple TV, but it wouldn’t process the purchase. Instead, the app paged a store employee to assist us. After a minute, the employee came over and scanned the box using his handheld scanner. He said he to scan the serial number for some reason.

I tried to get my son to pretend to scan some stuff and leave the store. I was curious to see how it deals with shoplifters. He refused.

So I asked a couple of employees what happens if you just pretend. They didn’t know. The system just went live on Tuesday, and no one has tried to leave without paying — yet.

  • Aber1Kanobee

    dude holds his credit card in front of the camera and reads off the first few numbers…? #Fail 

  • baby_Twitty

    49.95 for a case?!?! WTF

    (Oic its a baterry juice pack. sorry)

  • Guest

    Looks like a real ball ache

  • Anon Developer

    Looks a bit of a tedious process – you have to have the app, join the wifi and then verify the payment (everytime?) with a credit card..  Would prefer more staff to just process the checkout quicker!

  • Bruno Alexandre

    first few number are easy to come by as they are the entity and card type … it’s the others that we would love to have :o)

    fell free to look more about those first digits on Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B… 

    you should have known this before posting, I doubt that (and you can see the video was edited – I’m thinking using iMovie for iPhone), Leander could simple remove that part as well …

  • Unis Zuurmond

    The Apple Store app should be preinstalled. And one should be able to switch to the Store’s wifi from within the app. Then only would I call this easier.

  • tapit0

    well done father buying a case for is son….

  • David de Vedia Minero

    You tried to convince your son to shoplift!?! LOL

  • Kenny

    appeared quite laborious & drawn out when seen actually being done on video.
    Not for me thanks!

  • oscarfeliciano

    He read off the security code, not the first few numbers of the CC.

  • oscarfeliciano

    It only asks for verification of the credit card on file once, according to the article.

  • bimbalousious

    no one has tried to pay without leaving? really? if the said yes what would happen, a whole bunch of people would be on their way to the applestore to pick up freebees

  • Chris

    Well, didn’t Apple say once that they believe in the good in humans?! ;)

  • Chris

    Btw, in my Apple Store, only the youngsters are hanging out, who could never afford a mac anyway…I think with this method, they’ll be very tempted to steal…

  • Chris

    Your son looks just like you!

  • Sam Parmenter

    You can only use it on accessories not full blown macs or ipods.

  • Sam Parmenter

    If you have connected to the stores wifi already it will have saved the details. If you have it set to automatically connect to remembered networks you would just go in, open the app, scan and be done with it. First go might be a bit more hassle but not much. After the initial setup it would take me about a minute to do it again.

  • Chris

    they don’t care about what they’re stealing ;)

  • mactarkus

    “It’s pretty strange to go to a store and scan items yourself, as though you are an employee.”  It’s called self checkout and common in many stores where I live.  Whenever I do it, it feels slower and that I should be getting paid minimum wage while I’m at it.

  • AriRomano

    why do you need to be in the store’s wi-fi anyway? can’t this data be transmitted over the internet?

  • vince

    If I have iTunes gift card credit on my account, will the purchase draw from that first then roll into my credit card? Has anyone had any experience with this?

  • Genii

    Your credit card is blocked out. It just needs you to verify your 3 digit security code. Since it uses your iTunes info for purchases. It’s no less secure than buying music from iTunes.

  • bored

    dummies

  • bored

    dummies

  • bored

    Just what we need.. another freaking app Apple makes us have on our screen that we cant get rid of…
    No thank you.

  • Unis Zuurmond

    I am not suggestion it must be an app that you cannot delete. Just that it should be there by default. One of the worst things Apple have done was to make apps non-deletable, for example, here in South Africa I cannot change the ticker to South African stocks, nor can I delete the damn thing.

  • MWinNYC

    Have you been to the 5th Avenue store lately?  The “geniuses in blue t-shirts” will not check you out, even if you beg and plead- they’re too busy with iPhone reservations.  I waited in the checkout line for 45 minutes to buy buy a USB/dock connector. That was tedious!!

  • CRodBlogs

    Yeah but unlike self-checkout at your local grocery store you don’t have to fall in line and wait for an empty kiosk/station.

  • Btdpi007

    This EasyPay is genius and doubtful it increases shoplifting. The Apple Store I go to may have 150+ customers and sometimes hard to locate a rep to assist with checkout. Many times I’ve walked around the store and elected to put back the item as I decide “do I really need this… probably not”. Impulse buys will make this system a success.

  • ericschultheiss

    At the Apple Store closest to me (inside a mall), it is as easy as anything to get in and out fast.  As soon as I pick up an item, I walk right over to a person and they scan it for me and I leave.  I never had to wait more than 30 seconds for assistance.  Though it’s always very crowded, most of the people are just looking/loitering. Very few are there to actually buy something.

    Though, I do most of my shopping online.  I can go years in between actual store visits.

  • Shaun

    That was such a slow and tedious process. Why not just have a self-service till. Scan, pay, pack, walk. I use in Tesco and WHSmith with no problems. Much quicker than that video I can tell you.

  • MWinNYC

    I’ve done the same thing on 2 recent occasions in the 5th Avenue store.  I’ve left without purchasing the item that I wanted because “the geniuses in blue t-shirts” were “just too busy with iPhone 4S reservations” to check me out.  I think the EasyPay app will be of greatest benefit in stores like 5th Avenue, the new Grand Central store, or any store in a very large city that is a tourist destination. I look forward to using it.

  • BMWTwisty

    Hey Leander – have you heard that you can create folders on your iPhone for your apps? It makes organizing and finding apps much easier ;^)

  • _mcat

    Couple of cases and set of speakers and your into the £100s would love to know how they are going to stop the shop lifters

  • Bob Forsberg

    With EasyPay being over the air, the only thing easy will be crooks using your EasyPay information for their EasyBuys on you account.

  • Fernando Teixeira

    i’m so curious about what happens if i take a product and leave the store without paying

  • Jai Ko

    “The system just went live on Tuesday, and no one has tried to leave without paying — yet”
    as far as THEY know.

  • DrunkReport.com

    i dont like this. im an honest citizen but this makes stealing too tempting.

  • MPD01605

    The serial number thing is probably so you don’t break an Apple TV, go buy a new one, then return the old one.  
    Or so they know it’s been sold.  Both?

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    Sign up to get FREE dropbox space:

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  • RyanTV

    You know you can get those USB Dock cables from eBay straight from China made on a ghost shift for about $1 a piece. I have a stack of them that i got for less than $10

  • Josh Ward

    BS

  • Josh Ward

    This is the annoying part of Apple’s app approach. Too many apps = try to find the app, or click into folder and find app. There is a better way…. hopefully Siri can/does take care of it for now.

  • Josh Ward

    Until you buy something that makes you… as the article outlines.

  • CharliK

    Apple TVs have Apple Care, thus they have to be serialized. Something like an Airport doesn’t have it’s own Apple Care so it doesn’t really matter. 

  • CharliK

    probably the same number of folks that were doing it before this whole system. 

    that said, they do know but they aren’t going to tell some schmuck that asks them because it is confidential info. 

    they do know when someone is doing self pay and what it is for. 

  • CharliK

    Same thing as before. the undercover LP person grabs you at the door, cuffs you, calls the cops and you get paraded out and off to jail for attempted theft

  • CharliK

    No. THe system pulls from the apple.com side of things not the iTunes store. so you can’t use iTunes gift cards, only a credit card on your account

  • CharliK

    you have to be on the store’s wifi or have location services on so the app can see you are in a store. 

    and the wifi is transmitting over the internet. 

  • CharliK

    you switch once and so long as you never say ‘forget this network’ you are set for life. really not that big of a deal. 

  • nthnm

    Well I’m glad your son has morals, lol. Jk. But really, I hope you’re kidding about asking him to do that…

  • BOOI3IE

    william this is the quicker way haha, ever try to get checked out at an apple store?

  • Joe Donahue

    The iTunes Gift Card won’t be pulled, because it is for use exclusively within the iTunes Store.  It’s for the same reason that Apple Store Gift Cards aren’t valid in the iTunes Store.  I guess that if you want to use an Apple Store Gift Card, you’d still have to solicit the help of an employee.

  • Polyphonie

    I actually walked out of an Apple Store with an item I thought I hap paid via EasyPay.

    I went and bought a Leather Smart Cover for my iPad and the Bluetooth keyboard. I ran the purchase on the Apple Store app on my iPhone and got the payment confirmation. I walked out of the store, got home and saw that my payment was only for the Smart Cover. The BT keyboard was never registered. I called Apple and explained the situation and the rep was kind enough to let me make the payment via the app (and no extra keyboard was sent). I don’t enjoy going to the Store (it’s a zoo).

    That was last winter. The last time I had to go back, a few weeks ago, there was at least 2 security guards in the store.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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