I went to Subway last week and was unsuccessful at getting Apple Pay to work. Neither the clerk nor I knew how it should work with their point of sale, and there was a line of customers that I did not want to holdup.
Today I went back and there was no line so I tried again. The clerks, both super nice and helpful, said that Apple Pay did not work with their system yet. They said that something about the POS cannot handle the Apple Pay processing.
I found that odd and asked if we could try. I had already moved my iPhone 6 Plus to the reader and Apple Pay came up. This proved to be a mistake.
They tried to put the POS into “mobile” mode but it failed with a beep. I asked them to try credit card, because that’s all Apple Pay is, but the phone had timed out or the NFC reader had timed out, because Apple Pay was no longer coming up.
We chatted for a bit and they tried another mobile mode, which brought up a QR code on the scanner, and they asked me to hold my phone over it. I explained that would not work, so I asked them to try credit card once more.
They were sure eager to get Apple Pay working. They said that they had been trying for over a week but it never worked.
They put the POS into credit card mode again and I put the phone up to the reader. On the left side of the reader the Apple Pay screen came up, I tapped touch ID and the payment went through!
They exclaimed how cool that was and I explained why credit card works but not “mobile” as that must be for other payment systems. They thanked me for helping them to get it working.
Subway should train their employees a little better and explain how this all works. Apple could do a little better with the user interface. For example, does the phone sense NFC or not? I could not tell which piece of hardware timed out or got into a confused state. Apple Pay did not have a good UI for “resetting” it, so I just logged into the phone, then slept it, then backed away, and started over. I think I knew to do this because I am an engineer. A normal user would just give up.
Apple Pay is awesome, but it has some edge cases to be smoothed out.