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Early payment glitches mar Apple Pay launch

Apple Pay users report issues purchasing items in apps, and some Bank of America customers are seeing double charges. But the problems aren't all Apple's fault.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
3 min read

Apple Pay allows iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users to pay for items using their phones. CNET

Apple Pay is now here, but the release hasn't exactly been flawless.

While many people seem to be using the service without a hitch, there have been some reports of users being double charged for purchases. And in-app purchase haven't gone completely smoothly, either.

Along with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones last month, Apple also unveiled its new mobile payments system, called Apple Pay. The service, which launched Monday, works by allowing users to simply tap their iPhone devices to payment terminals and then touch their devices' fingerprint sensors to purchase items. Both the devices and the terminals must have near-field communication (NFC) chips that store payment credentials -- something that limits the in-store service to the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones, as well as the Apple Watch when it hits the market next year.

But Apple Pay has another component that doesn't require an NFC chip but does need the company's TouchID. People now can pay for items in apps using a single touch on their device's fingerprint sensor, something that removes time and the hassle of entering credit card and address information over and over. Previously, Apple allowed consumers to use the fingerprint sensor to quickly buy content just from its iTunes, App and iBooks stores. Online shopping within apps works with Apple's new iPhones and watch, as well as the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.

But already, consumers are reporting some issues with Apple Pay.

Specifically, Bank of America customers have complained about being charged twice for the same purchase. The issue is with a small number of Bank of America card transactions, according to a person familiar with the matter, and is not the fault of Apple's technology. The glitch is tied to technology used by Bank of America, and the problem is expected to be resolved Wednesday.

"All duplicates will be refunded, we apologize for the inconvenience and are correcting this immediately," Bank of America spokeswoman Tara Burke said.

Apple, meanwhile, said in a statement that it was aware of the Bank of America issue and that the bank is reversing any duplicate transactions and working on a fix "that will be available shortly."

"Apple Pay is off to an amazing start and customers are loving the easy, secure and private way to pay," the company added.

Watch this: Apple Pay sees problems as users get charged twice

While Apple Pay works with any NFC-enabled terminal, it's not the same case with apps. The developers have to enable the feature, but so far, fewer than 20 have done so. The apps that currently work with Apple Pay include Target, Staples, Groupon, car-sharing services Uber and Lyft, and car-rental service Getaround.

Users are having problems with in-app purchases. Some have complained about the limitations of in-app purchases. And others have had issues with using all of the features of Apple Pay, such as being able to check out without being signed in. Target, for instance, only lets users pay for one item at a time using Apple Pay. If they want to purchase several, they have to add them to their shopping cart and sign in with a Target account.

The problem of multiple purchases showing up for each transaction also has been a problem with in-app purchases, though Apple has fixed that problem, according to 9to5 Mac.

CNET's Bridget Carey contributed to this report.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. PT with comment from Apple.

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