Discover Apple Pay Lockup & Best Practices
As many of you know, I think that Discover’s Apple Pay 10% cashback promotion (possibly doubled to 20%) is one of the better deals we have seen in a long time. Of course I would have loved to purchase gift cards and move on, but that isn’t allowed. I spent much of October & November being lazy, so this past couple of weeks I have forged a plan to maximize. A couple of days ago I upped my credit limit and now I have been hitting the stores to buy “stuff”.
Best Buy Fail
The other day my wife and I set out to use Apple Pay at Best Buy. We were purchasing a few consumer electronic devices and the total for our purchase came out to $2053.86. After a ridiculously long wait to get our items (Best Buy is a time suck) and after turning down the warranty sales pitch, it was finally time to pay. We popped out our handy dandy iPhone and tapped it on the payment screen. The sales associate then got a message to call Discover.
After receiving the message, he called the number for Discover and talked to a person who asked for the physical card number, expiration and security code none of which we had since I was using Apple Pay and didn’t have the physical card. At the same time I got a fraud alert and cleared the charge with Discover’s automated system. Since everything was cleared and since the phone agent wasn’t helping him without the physical card, we decided to run the transaction again. Another denial.
At this point I got on the phone with Discover’s security department and they attempted to clear the transaction several times. Denial. Denial. Denial. The only way to get this thing to go through was to call for that voice authorization with the full card number, expiration date and security code. The agent even said, “In the future you should always carry your physical card on you in case of a situation like this.” Wow!
In the end, I realized my wife had her physical Discover card (a different account) and just enough of a limit left to make the purchase. So we tapped the phone with her card and another denial. This time the sales agent called the system and obtained the authorization code with the information gained from her physical card.
Will This Code as Apple Pay?
The one thing I was worried about was whether or not this would code as Apple Pay after the sales agent had to gain an authorization code via the telephone. I believed it would since the transaction was still initiated via Apple Pay and the card was never swiped anywhere. Still, crazier things have happened so I waited.
Fortunately this morning that charge posted on the account (see above) and I can confirm that it coded as Apple Pay. This is good to know and frees me from worrying about other similar transactions we had to do after that. For example, after running home to get my card, we visited another Best Buy later in the day and had the same issue. Of course, with the physical card it was easily cleared and we moved on.
What Should You Do?
I always thought the whole reason for Apple Pay was so you didn’t have to carry the physical card around, but apparently that isn’t the case according to Discover. If you are heading out with your iPhone and looking to make large purchases with Discover and Apple Pay, it is probably a good idea to have the physical card with you so that you can avoid issues like I ran into the other day. Based on my experience, even if they need to call for an authorization, it should still code as Apple Pay as long as the transaction is initiated via the app.
The first Best Buy experience took almost an hour and was incredibly frustrating given that I had cleared the fraud warnings on the card. Discover blamed it on Best Buy and Best Buy on Discover, but I don’t care. From now on I’ll just carry my card with me, because frustration sucks and 20% cashback is too good to miss out on while it is here.