Apple Watch Uses Tokenization, Eschews Biometrics for Apple Pay

Apple PayMore details have been revealed on how Apple Pay is going to work on the forthcoming Apple Watch. Essentially, the whole process works by linking the Apple Pay app on the Apple Watch to the Apple Pay data on the user’s iPhone, reports Jason Del Ray in an article for re/code.

None of the user’s payment data is stored on the Apple Watch; that all remains on the iPhone, with actual payment being processed through a kind of tokenization system that the Apple Watch employs. Interestingly, the Apple Watch abandons the biometric security embedded in the iPhone, opting for a passcode system that requires the user to re-enter it every time they put the smartwatch back on. That raises some interesting questions about security, given that the TouchID system seemed to have been such a crucial aspect of Apple Pay’s security. Is it enough to require fingerprint scanning on the user’s iPhone and a password on the Apple Watch itself? Given that the user’s payment information is only stored on the iPhone, many users may think so.

Most, however, simply won’t care. A recent MasterCard study indicated that consumers are embracing mobile commerce and payment systems because of their convenience, and are not too worried about the security of those platforms. That echoes previous market research as well. And given that at least one of Apple Pay’s looming rivals – Android Pay – is also putting off worrying about biometric security to a later date, Apple may have decided that this system will suit its consumers just fine.