Guest Blogger: Chris Seib, CTO and Co-Founder of InstaMed
Apple Pay has grown to 700,000 locations in the six months since its initial release in September 2014. Of these merchants accepting Apple Pay, consumer adoption of this payment type has increased rapidly as well, with major retailers reporting up to a 400 percent increase in Apple Pay transactions.
It would seem the rapid success of Apple Pay is attributed to simply offering consumers the ability to make payments from their mobile device. However, mobile payments with near field communication (NFC) and digital wallets is not a new technology to the market, in fact it has been done before by such major tech players as Google, PayPal and Amazon with very low consumer adoption.
The actual reason for Apple Pay’s rapid consumer adoption is at the core of Apple’s overall success: Apple designs their products for the consumer – first. For Apple Pay, the consumer is not only able to make mobile payments, but Apple Pay meets consumer expectations of a simple and secure payment experience.
Healthcare organizations need to adopt Apple’s consumer-first approach to address the growing role of consumers in the healthcare payments process and ultimately thrive in the changing healthcare landscape.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Consumers are increasingly using Apple Pay to make payments, because Apple Pay is simple to use and easy to understand. Consumers can easily save their payment cards to their Apple mobile device and quickly make payments with their payment cards, at their convenience. This enhances the payment experience for consumers by saving payment cards in one place for a simple payment transaction, without the need to physically present the payment card.
I recently came across an article that said “nearly 20 percent of U.S. consumers have debt from unpaid medical bills,” largely due to consumer confusion about how and when to pay healthcare bills. The healthcare industry must leverage Apple’s “keep it simple” strategy in the healthcare payments process to address consumer confusion and reduce unpaid debt.
One way that healthcare organizations can do this is by enabling consumers to easily manage all of their healthcare payments in one location, such as their provider or health plan website. This eliminates confusion about how and when to pay their healthcare bills, and allows them to pay at their convenience.
FOCUS ON SECURITY
The design of Apple Pay leverages tokenization to ensure each payment is private. Tokenization replaces the actual payment card data with a more secure and unique token, used only for a single transaction. Tokenization significantly reduces PCI DSS scope on merchant networks and systems for healthcare organizations, as well as the likelihood of card data breach.
In my role as a CTO of a healthcare payments network, I am acutely aware of how vulnerable healthcare organizations of all sizes and types are to a potential data breach. Recent large scale data breaches demonstrate just how damaging a breach can be to revenue and consumer trust. To avoid a data breach, healthcare organizations can deliver the same high level of security, as Apple Pay does, to consumer payment information.
To protect consumer payment information, the data must be encrypted as soon as it is swiped or keyed, and not decrypted until it arrives at the secure endpoint. This process is called point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and ensures that no one can access the data at any point in the payments process, including the merchant.
Additionally, beware of vendors that self-attest to being compliant. Instead, ask to see a vendor’s security credentials, which are independently validated by reputable security firms or industry organizations.