Using ApplePay in a brick and mortar store

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
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How do you complete the ApplePay payment process when you're in a brick and mortar store?

It's easy enough to hold my phone by the ApplePay device and authorize the payment, I have no trouble doing this independently, though sometimes it's a challenge to locate the ApplePay device. The problems start the moment the clerk turns the screen to face me. This is for me to add a tip and authorize the total amount.

Every time I've done this, I either have the clerk complete this screen for me, or, if I'm with a friend, I have my friend do it. Either way, I'm not independent, and the discussion about how to complete the screen, including tip and total, is easy for people nearby to overhear.

I'll guess their screen is actually an iPad, but I'm not certain. If so, I bet it has VoiceOver. Has anyone successfully enabled VoiceOver on an ApplePay cash register screen and completed payment independently? If so, how did you enable VO? Did you triple-press the home button? Was VoiceOver loud enough so that you could hear it over the din of the environment? How did you avoid VoiceOver broadcasting your tip and total to everyone standing within earshot? Is there a way to plug in wired earbuds?

Thanks for any insights.



Submitted by Kevin Shaw on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

If you are making a simple transaction, Apple Pay will work with the method you've described. However, for more involved transactions, such as adding a tip, you do need to interact with the payment terminal. The problem is that Apple does not make payment terminal appliances. these come from a variety of manufacturers such as Chase Payment Tech, Moneris, Shopify and dozens of others.

To date, there has been no standardized way to make a payment terminal accessible. Some manufacturers place a raised dot on the 5 key, others have no keys, still others use touch screens and keys and ask you to press both buttons and the screen. It's an accessibility mess.

CNIB in Canada has been working with some of the manufacturers of these payment appliances to create a secure way for someone with sight loss to go through the user flow of verifying and completing a transaction. See here for news on some promising developments:…

The unfortunate thing is that each retailer uses a different terminal. The only way around this is to raise awareness of this to store management and have it escalated chain wide so that they will purchase and install accessible payment terminals.

Yes, it's very frustrating to have to ask a server in a restaurant to read the handheld terminal and put in hr own tip. Keep making noise about this and perhaps, one day, we'll live in a world where this won't be a major issue.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Kevin Shaw

Wow, the situation is worse than I thought. But, thanks for updating me on the current state.

Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, May 13, 2021

I have used both my phone and watch to make payments at a store. I haven't been in a situation where I'd need to add a tip, so I have no suggestion for that.

However, I wonder now if the store clerks are doing something on the terminal to complete the transaction for me. I generally wave my watch near it, and I hear the chirp, and they hand me a receipt if I request it. I can check on my watch after to see what was charged.

I'm not sure if they are clicking something for me, and I'm now curious. Next time, I'll ask.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Thursday, May 13, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

I wish this system had been designed so that I could simply use my phone to add the tip. This would be the best way to ensure accessibility for the greatest number of users, as the phone is presumably already customized for the owner's needs. Relying on a payment terminal configured for the clerk's needs is just asking for accessibility issues.