Apple Pay users frustrated by stores that can’t process transactions, survey finds

“Apple Inc.’s new mobile-payment system is failing to capture all of its potential business, according to a survey, with two-thirds of users reporting problems using the service at the checkout counter,” Tim Higgins and Elizabeth Dexheimer report for Bloomberg. “While 66 percent of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners surveyed had signed up for Apple Pay, repeat usage is being hurt, the study by Phoenix Marketing International said. Almost half of users visited a store listed as an Apple Pay merchant only to find they couldn’t use the service because the location wasn’t actually accepting the system or wasn’t ready to do so, according to the survey, which drew about 3,000 respondents.”

“The system works only at stores that have upgraded their cash registers to accept chip-embedded credit cards. It’s now supported by 2,500 banks in the U.S. and about 700,000 locations accept it, Cook said this month,” Higgins and Dexheimer report. “Of the problems that occurred at merchants, 48 percent of those surveyed said it took too long to record the transaction, while 42 percent said the cashier was unfamiliar with Apple Pay and unable to help.”

“A new U.S. standard is requiring that merchants and banks switch from a card system using magnetic stripes toward chips because the technology is more effective at preventing fraud. While the deadline for that conversion is in October, only about a third of U.S. cash registers had been converted at the end of last year, a figure expected to rise to a half by the end of 2015, according to data from an industry group,” Higgins and Dexheimer report. “‘Apple is riding on this EMV wave and they are beholden to a glacial speed of progression because nothing changes overnight in payments,’ said Nick Holland, a payments analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research. ‘It’s frustrating — for Apple and Apple Pay users.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve already changed our shopping patterns; dropping non-Apple Pay stores, whether they be slow or deliberately holding out, and doing business with Apple Pay stores. It’s your choice, retailers, but it would be beneficial to you to remember Apple’s demographic edge when it comes to customers with disposable income and the will to spend it.

We’ve dumped CVS for Walgreens, for just one example. What are you going to do to earn back our business, CVS?

Related articles:
The effect of Apple Pay on mobile and online stores: Ka-ching! – March 19, 2015
How Apple Pay will work on your Apple Watch – March 13, 2015
Apple Pay proves Apple continues to out-innovate would-be competitors – February 20, 2015
Apple Pay takes off, leaving moribund competitors in the dust – January 27, 2015


  1. It’s very frustrating when upon requesting they get NFC adapters for their credit card terminals so they can accept Pay, the often look at me like I’m from Mars, ask what’s Pay, ask what’s NFC mean, or say they prefer Android to Apple.😁💥😱👀😣😩

      1. Some stores treat Apple Pay like a credit card.

        Big 5, asked to see my ID, and the original credit card. I said, you have my payment already, and there’s no need to swipe the card. But corporate policy hasn’t caught up.

        Next time I will just refuse, saying you already have my money, there’s no need to see my ID. I mean, if I was using a stollen account, and it’s already processed, what are they going to do? But that’s really the wrong question. I shouldn’t be able to use a stollen account in the first place.

    1. ApplePay, as American as Apple slime pie. Meanwhile, the rest of the world could careless because it’s not available anywhere else.

      ApplePay could go down as a huge failure. It’s been months since they launched it and it’s not taking.

  2. This same thing happens with chip embedded CC. Most merchants, even though they have capable readers, do not have that function enabled. Obviously, they don’t give a shit. If you not by MDN’s take, and dropped them, you wouldn’t find yourselves with many shopping options. How about banks forcing merchants to enable this, and apple pay? Or penalties? Whatever.

    1. Yep, Rite-Aid has the hardware, but not only do they not take Apple Pay, they couldn’t even process my chipped credit card. Jeez, the hardware’s there, all they have to do is flip the switch!

      OTOH, I was at Sal’s Pizzeria the other night, a small locally-owned place, and they took Apple Pay. One of the kids working there was like “that’s so cool, I haven’t seen that yet.”

      So a small pizzeria can figure it out, but Rite-Aid can’t?

  3. Come on hackers, give us another Target or CVS customer data breach, that should help the retailers move a bit faster in introducing terminals that support Pay

    As stated above, iPhone users should simply switch to retailers that do support Pay

          1. people who like to piss off people and bartenders only go together for so long, once the pisser off person has too many drinks, hell will be paid.
            and it is usually some innocent that pays

  4. I’m experiencing problems with vendors where the process worked flawlessly before and now not so much. Specifically I was able to just hold the phone near the card reader and the transaction would go through one the first attempt. Now I have to contort my arm and try several times. Most annoyingly even though the Apple pay process indicates the transaction was successful if the damn card reader doesn’t go “ping” the transaction isn’t complete and I have to try again.

    1. I’ve had similar issues with it. Over the weekend, I had to try three times and it said “Done” each time, but didn’t actually go through. I finally had to give up and use a regular credit card. I’ve used it about twenty times and have found that it generally takes longer for me to complete the process than it would to just take out and use my credit card. I see the benefit with regards to security, but in the end, the credit card companies are on the hook for any fraudulent charges and the banks are seeing higher fraudulent charges anyway because of their implementations of Apple Pay. In the end, it seems like just another way to pay that also has its problems.

      1. “Done” just means your card was successfully “swiped”. It doesn’t mean the data successfully made it from the card reader to the bank and back. I’ve had this happen to me. Just ask them to reset the reader as if you were going to swipe your card again.


      2. Birthing pains. Many other westernized countries started using NFC credit cards and terminals years ago. Apple Pay has additional security layers on top of that, so hiccups are expected.

    1. I find it much easier putting my finger on a button than digging out my credit card to swipe or playing the ‘I’ll give you some money then you give me money back’ routine. Its more fun too. My phone is always ‘at hand’ whereas my wallet is tucked securely away.

        1. Wow, yeah. Placing my thumb on the home button is such a chore.
          If you intend to reply how the reader doesn’t work for you or something, I would suggest reprogramming it, because I have had zero troubles since setting it up last November.


          1. I carry a prepaid Amex Serve for on the go transactions which accomplishes 2 goals:
            1- Isolates casual transactions from the primary checking account.
            2- Limits exposure to identity theft and/or account theft. All they can steal is what is deposited- there are no accounts linked to the card.

            The card sits in a pocket on the outside of my Kavaj iPhone case. Flipping it out and swiping is easier than messing with the damn phone.

            Passcodes and fingerprints and all the rest makes it less convenient.

            1. What, if anything, does that have to do with your comment about “f***ing around with that damn fingerprint reader”?? So you have a solution you like better. Hooray for you. How does that make TouchID a problem?


    2. The use is not any more convenient than swiping a credit card. However, the merchant doesn’t get your actual credit card number so it is much more secure for you. That is the reason to use it. The real convenience will come with Apple Watch.

      1. Considering I’m usually fiddling around with my phone while I’m waiting in line, it’s tons more convenient. The phone is already out and in my hand, the card is not.


  5. My experience is that most (90% ?, 95% ?) of the vendors that can accept NFC payments do accept Apple Pay. However, some of them don’t have the bugs worked out yet. One store that I frequent has to repeatedly reboot their terminal (unplug the power and the data connections then plug them back in the wait a couple minutes [yes, a couple minutes!] for it to be fully functional) to get it to work properly. They claimed they are going to get new terminals soon, but they admit that in reality it likely won’t be for several months. It is frustrating to try to use Apple Pay and then have to pull out your credit card because their terminal and/or payment backend system is too buggy to do the job right.

    However, the word is getting out. One young, female cashier at a local grocery store commented about me using Apple Pay. Her comment? “That Apple Pay is the most secure method of payment. It generates a unique token for each payment.” To which I responded, “I know, and unlike other similar systems Apple has absolutely zero knowledge or tracking of what I just bought.”

    Some ARE getting it. Hopefully the management in those stores will start to get it too in the not too distant future.

  6. I find it Ironic that Walmart sells a phone with ApplePay, yet won’t accept ApplePay to pay for said phone. Apple should make that a requirement of any physical store that wishes to sell it’s products…it MUST accept ApplePay.

    (Of course that brings back the AntiTrust lawsuit against Microsoft for requiring all PC Manufacturers to make IE the default browser, so maybe that won’t work).

    1. So to be clear, you’re finding it ironic that Walmart sells a phone with ApplePay that you want to use ApplePay to pay for before you actually own the phone to register the card(s) to use to pay for the phone using ApplePay? 😛

  7. Pro tip for dealing with cashiers inexperienced with Apple Pay: never talk about “Apple Pay” or “paying with my phone”. Just say “set me up to swipe a card”. When the terminal is ready to accept a swipe, the NFC is also on and ready to receive, so it will take Apple Pay. I need to do this at some Subways, because when you take out your phone, some cashiers think you’re about to pay with the Subway app.


  8. CVS/Caremark charges me $20 copay for a 90 day supply of branded Synthroid. Walgreens used to charge me $20 copay for a 30 day supply of Indian made generic Levothyroxine.

    That kind of trumps Apple Pay.

  9. ApplePay is a great concept but… nobody really has it. I think it might eventually be one of those great ideas that just doesn’t catch on. I’ve only found once place that it worked, Sprouts Grocery Store. Everywhere else that I’ve tried reads my card from the phone but I end up entering my pin/signature and all the other annoying prompts at the terminal. What’s the point?

  10. My experience at Albertsons just two weeks ago.
    Pulled to the counter and used my iphone. Everything worked but cashier knew nothing about. My sale was over $50 dollars, so their policy is that they have to entered an extrea step into the transaction. It canceled Apple Pay because of the extra step.
    Since Apple Pay doesnt use any real numbers from the card, once Albertsons tried to enter the last four numbers of the cc, that was it for my transaction.
    So, even though Albertsons is ready to take Apple Pay, their not understating how secured it is, fails the system.

  11. Apple need to send a technical letter to all the IT managers of the vendors accepting Apple Pay explaining the capabilities and what not to do if using AP, or it wont catch on as fast as we all want.

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