In the news

U.S. PIRG
|
Washington Post
By
Danielle Douglas & Craig Timberg

We comment in a Washington Post story describing Apple's big product announcements. We don't talk about the two new iPhones or even the totally new and much ballyhooed Apple Watch. We talk about Apple Pay, a digital wallet. What are its implications for consumer data security, convenience and choice? Although Apple is partnering with several banks and financial companies, is the product ultimately a threat to the banks' dominance of the payments system?

Excerpt from Washington Post story by Craig Timberg and Danielle Douglas: Tuesday’s announcement, during an annual event live-streamed from Silicon Valley to the world, focused far more on its latest gadgets: two larger, updated ­iPhones — the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — and the long-rumored Apple Watch, with a variety of health-oriented apps for users who want to monitor and analyze their daily activities.Yet Apple Pay could prove the bigger bet, given its potential to shake up two industries — retail and finance. [...]

“Apple’s claiming it’s more secure. We’ll have to see,” said Ed Mierzwinski, consumer program director at U.S. Public Interest Research Group, who studies the financial services industry. “Their iCloud services didn’t appear to be so secure.”

Yet Mierzwinski and others praised Apple for attempting to create a mobile payments system that could be substantially more secure than plastic credits cards with magnetic strips — technology abandoned in most of the world, where credit cards have implanted chips and each transaction typically requires that a consumer enter a personal identification number.

“Apple has already got a wireless technology, and it’s in a lot of people’s pockets,” Mierzwinski said.

Also, watch for another post later today. In a related matter, we will be posting detailed comments to the CFPB on its Request for Information Regarding the Use of Mobile Financial Services by Consumers and Its Potential for Improving the Financial Lives of Economically Vulnerable Consumers.  We're filing the comments jointly with the Center for Digital Democracy.

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