Hands-On With the Apple Store EasyPay System

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TMO got the chance to try out the Apple Retail Store’s new “EasyPay” customer payment system Tuesday evening. EasyPay is Apple Retail’s new method for enabling customers with iOS devices to shop and pay for products using the Apple Store app.

Heading down to the Clarendon Apple Store in Arlington, VA we arrived to a typical early evening crowd. We were greeted at the door by the designated Apple employee but we declined assistance and headed to the back of the store where the accessories are kept.

As of this post, Apple’s EasyPay system only works with accessories and other smaller items that are on display in the store. For those wishing to purchase computers or other large or expensive items, you’ll still need assistance from the store staff.

We browsed through the assortment of speakers, cases, software, and other neat and interesting “iStuff.” A college friend of one of our staff members is about to have a baby so he used the opportunity to test out EasyPay by purchasing the iBaby Monitoring Camera.

EasyPay Instructions

The process is simple: once you’re in the Apple Store, connect to the Apple Store WiFi network and launch the Apple Store App. On the front page is an “Easy Pay” button. Press it and you’ll get a simple instructional pop-up on how to use the software.

EasyPay Product Info

Using your phone’s camera, scan the barcode of any product on display. The app then brings up the product information, including price, pictures, and user reviews. A large green button at the bottom of the screen begs you to purchase the product and, conveniently, gives you the total cost including local sales tax. Pressing “Pay Now” automatically charges the card associated with your Apple.com store account. Thankfully, for those prone to losing their phone, the app does ask for the three or four digit security code before completing the transaction.

EasyPay Thank You

It takes just a second to complete the purchase, and you’re then presented with a thank you screen and access to a PDF version of your receipt.

Product purchased, we looked around, feeling a little odd about having not worked with an employee, and then walked out of the store. Not a single employee nor the uniformed security door gave us a second look, despite the fact that we were walking out with an $200+ product under our arm.

Overall the experience was great. The store was not so busy that we would have had to wait for assistance otherwise, but we can recall times when the store was overwhelmed, and for those looking to quickly pick up a case or accessory, this new system is a wonderful addition to the Apple Store experience.

We just hope that good morals prevail and that those who would take advantage of the program’s open nature to steal merchandise don’t cause Apple to second-guess the program and disband it. As simple and enjoyable of a process as it was for us, it’s just as simple and enjoyable for those with malicious intent. There’s a good reason that Apple Store staff jokingly refer to the system as “EasyTheft.”

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7 Comments Leave Your Own

David N

Say, what are the security implications of entering your iTunes password and your device passcode through an unsecure wifi network? Or does the Apple store somehow cover their customers in this regard?

dave

MArk C

@dave

Your device passcode doesn’t travel over the network at all.

Presumably your Apple Store credentials are sent over https, so you’d only be (at best) vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack.

Mark

dave

Quick reply, Mark, thanks!

How would one know if the Apple Store app uses https during this process? it’s not like a web browser with a url field or other https indicator (or is it? haven’t downloaded this version or used the app in a long time)...

dave

Thanks for the quick reply Mark.

How would one know if the connection is https? is there an indicator of some sort in the app, like the url in a browser?

KimH

Is it possible that there are RFID tags on the merchandise, and that they’re scanned at egress & compared to a database of recent in-store purchases?

mlvezie

@KimH that would work if the barcode scanned is tied to the actual item, not just the type of product. Otherwise you wouldn’t know which item (potentially held by multiple customers) was purchased.

I wonder what would happen if if someone tried to walk out, planning on paying for the item right outside the door.

ilikeimac

that would work if the barcode scanned is tied to the actual item, not just the type of product.

Interesting insight @mlvezie, that would be a fairly secure, if slightly complex, system.

Unlike other accounts I’d read, I’m glad this article covered the part where you “just walk out the door.” That’s highly unsettling when you don’t have a bag or paper receipt, but then again, I’ve bought things at the Apple Store before and walked out without a bag or paper receipt or an escort from the employee who rang up the purchase. So whether Apple has unique RFIDs and barcodes on every item or not, they don’t need to be any more (or less) watchful of items walking out the door than they already were.

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