Complaints of double charges and frequent crashes from users of Apple’s new electronic payment system are marring the launch of the company’s newest service offering. The double-charge bug seemed to be affecting Bank of America customers using their Visa credit cards for Apple Pay.
Still Working Out the Kinks
The system, which launched earlier this week, also seems to be befuddling cashiers who might have failed to stay up to date on Apple’s latest innovations. Since the transaction requires only that users hold their iPhones close to a near field communication (NFC) reader while pressing their thumb on the handset’s TouchID sensor, many clerks are not even aware the customer has paid for their transaction. Others have insisted that their terminals will not accept Apple Pay, only to watch successful transactions go through without a hitch.
In some cases, cashiers at drive-through windows have been bewildered by requests from customers to hold their phones up to the restaurants NFC readers. In others, the NFC readers have been installed in such a way that they are inaccessible to customers, forcing them to hand their phones over to cashiers.
In-app purchases, meanwhile, have also given some users trouble, with some apps that have agreed to accept Apple Pay still not providing an option to do so. Perhaps ironically, online purchases have also proven to be tricky for some users.
Customer Service Limbo
Apple Pay has an opportunity to succeed at making digital payments catch on in a way none of its competitors has yet been able to duplicate. But the technology is still showing the sorts of bugs common in new technologies.
Among other complaints, users have reported that the app crashes frequently. The bug seems to plague owners of the 128-gigabyte model of the iPhone 6 Plus with more than 700 apps installed. In some cases, the crash has caused the handset to get caught in a reboot loop, requiring owners to take their phones to an Apple store for repair.
For customers using a debit or credit card, the promise of a quick, painless payment process has occasionally been tripped up by the need to sign a receipt or enter a four-digit PIN. The system has also proven to be incompatible with customer loyalty cards. And the number of merchants currently accepting Apple Pay is still incredibly small, making it impossible to use it to completely replace your wallet.
But it was the double charges for Bank of America customers that had the most impact on social media this week, with reports of users getting caught in limbo between customer support from both Bank of America and Apple, with each insisting that only the other company could fix the problem. Although the problem did turn out to be a technical issue on Apple’s end, only Bank of America could refund the money, since Apple does not keep account information on Apple Pay users.
Bank of America eventually agreed to refund users who had been double-billed, while Apple said that it had identified the problem and would release a fix shortly.