Apple Pay To Confront Holiday Shopping Bonanza

Apple Pay hasn't made the wallet obsolete just yet. But since launching its mobile payments system [in October], Apple has deftly sidestepped problems that flummoxed other tech giants, delivering a smooth experience at the register and steadily grabbing more territory in the mall, analysts say. That'll come in handy in the coming weeks as Apple Pay confronts the retail industry's greatest test: the holiday shopping bonanza.

Though the Cupertino-based company appears to have no aspirations of becoming a bank, Apple Pay is its bid to stake out a place in the burgeoning mobile payments industry -- which will be worth $142 billion in the U.S. by 2019, according to Forrester Research -- and weave its services more tightly into consumers' daily lives. Analysts say Apple Pay -- which lets users buy items in stores by waving their iPhones, rather than reaching for their wallets -- is off to a strong start.

But it will be critical for the service to keep running smoothly during the holiday season, when tempers will be running high in stores and many consumers who don't have the latest Apple gadgets will be seeing the mobile payments system in action for the first time, said James Wester, a research director for global payments at technology research firm IDC.

"If you're behind someone using Apple Pay, and they're having a hard time, that's not very encouraging," he said.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said the frenzied shopping rush will test the scale and reliability of Apple Pay. But judging by the smooth rollout, he doesn't expect many hiccups.

"Apple Pay has demonstrated that the experience is the easiest to use of any of the alternatives, and very safe, to boot," he wrote in an email.

Some of the first retailers to embrace Apple Pay have pulled back the curtain on...

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