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Moment of truth for Apple Pay

For years, pundits have said that cash would become obsolete one day, with credit cards replacing paper money as the preferred way to pay.

Although that hasn't happened, yet, already Apple is attempting to make credit cards as old-fashioned as VHS cassettes.


Apple Pay
Justin Solomon | CNBC
Apple Pay

With its new Apple Pay software, Tim Cook and company are hoping people choose to hold up their iPhone at checkout counters across the nation, rather than swipe plastic.

Effectively Apple Pay is a near-field-communication-based payment system built into both the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that allows people to keep debit and credit card information within their phones.

On Monday, the new smartphone technology went into wide use with the service available in as many as 220,000 U.S. merchant locations that already take mobile payments.

Read MoreWith Apple Pay, tech giant bets big on mobile payments

Although it doesn't replace MasterCard or Visa, Apple Pay does make it less necessary to actually carry plastic, as long as you have your phone on you.

Skeptics, such as Paul Wagenseil, senior editor for security at "Tom's Guide", question whether Apple Pay will catch on. "I don't see how it's more convenient than a credit card," he noted on CNBC's "Closing Bell. "And don't forget, Google tried to introduce a virtual wallet, and it didn't catch on."

Advocates such as Leander Kahney, the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac.com, believe that Apple Pay is in a different league. He noted that other virtual wallets have not worked, reliably. "Apple, however, is using new technology. If it works, it will be much more appealing."

When Apple announced the technology earlier in the year, several major retailers had already agreed to accept Apple Pay, including McDonald's, Whole Foods, Starbucks and Disney.

Pros such as Jim Cramer intend to watch closely how quickly the technology is adopted. If it's successful, the "Mad Money" host believes the technology could drive future sales.

In a CNBC.com Closing Bell poll, when asked "Which would you rather use?" 54 percent of respondents chose Apple Pay over credit cards.