Apple Pay and Barcode Scanning

So far, I’ve had limited success with Apple Pay. The first time we tried to use it was in an Apple Store soon after iOS 8.1 was launched. The cashier didn’t know how it worked, and it ended up taking about five minutes to get it all sorted.

Part of the usability of Apple Pay is that the payment screen appears when near a near-field communication (or NFC) point. It’s handy to wave your phone near a compatible payment device, see the credit card pop up, and tap your thumb (or finger) against the home button. That’s it! You’ve paid.

But what if you’re near an NFC point and don’t want Apple Pay to pop up? We had that issue while visiting Kennedy Space Center. We ordered our tickets online and had the PDF barcode on our iPhones.

We walked up to the turnstyles and had our barcodes on the screen ready to scan.

Barcode scanner at Kennedy Space Center

We placed our phones under the scanner and… up popped the Apple Pay screen! If you can see in the image to the right there’s a NFC logo (at least, I think it’s an NFC logo). The barcode scanner was somehow triggering Apple Pay.

Here’s the problem – we couldn’t make Apple Pay stop appearing. We tried turning on airplane mode. We tried looking for “disable” settings in the Apple Pay menu. Neither worked. In the end, we had to place our phones as quickly as possible under the scanner, and the delay before the Apple Pay screen came up was enough to let the scanner read the barcode.

Has anyone else had this problem? Has anyone figured a way around it? I would say it seems strange that Apple would overlook such a use-case, but with the recent bug-ridden releases of Yosemite and iOS8 I can’t be so sure.

Michael headMichael Lintorn Catlin is a front-end developer who is passionate about design and web technologies. After studying biochemistry and developmental biology for a while, he switched tracks and co-wrote The Pragmatic Guide to Sass with Hampton. He also enjoys tweeting and instagramming his food and travels.