It wasn’t that too long ago, in fact just April last year, that the New York City’s transport system started supporting Apple Pay. This was done particularly to push New York’s One Metro New York (ONMY) contactless payment system which works perfectly with Apple’s own mobile payment system. Perhaps too perfectly, even, as there are now a handful of reports claiming they get charged by simply being near one such OMNY reader.
To be clear, this doesn’t just happen to any and all Apple Pay users in NYC. Normally, Apple Pay will ask for confirmation via Face ID or Touch ID when completing a transaction. That confirmation is waived, however, when you enable the Express Transit feature, which is where the problem for some users begins.
According to the New York Post, users have complained that they are getting charged via Apple Pay even if they used a MetroCard. It turns out that the common denominator among all these is their proximity to an OMNY terminal. That doesn’t matter whether the iPhone is in a pocket or even in a purse near the hip.
MTA has confirmed that it has received complaints from at least 30 customers, suggesting that the problem isn’t widespread and almost random. It is working on a fix with Apple but there doesn’t seem to have been any complaint from other users from other markets where Express Transit is also available.
This could suggest that New York’s OMNY readers might be faulty or at least oversensitive but that still leaves some questions open. The tap-and-ride works with other payment systems but so far there are have been no complaints coming from other quarters either.