So far, Tim Cook’s ‘Year of Apple Pay’ has been rather underwhelming

“Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has called 2015 the ‘year of Apple Pay,'” Olga Kharif reports for Bloomberg. “So far it’s been underwhelming. The mobile-payments system, which marks its one-year anniversary this month, has failed to catch on with consumers, accounting for only 1 percent of all retail transactions in the U.S., according to researcher Aite Group. ‘People don’t know why it is they’d use Apple Pay,’ said Jared Schrieber, CEO of InfoScout, a shopper-research firm. ‘They are satisfied with the current methods and they don’t know how Apple Pay works.'”

“More than 75 percent of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users hadn’t tried the service as of April, according to a Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. In June, 13 percent of 1,500 people surveyedby InfoScout and said they tried Apple Pay,” Kharif reports. “A more recent, smaller survey of 500 iPhone users published in July by Auriemma Consulting Group did find that 42 percent of the respondents used it for in-app and in-store purchases. ‘We’re off to a great start and we are seeing continued, double-digit monthly growth in Apple Pay transactions since launch,’ Apple said in an e-mailed statement. ‘It’s going to grow reasonably slowly for the next three to five years, and then we are going to see a ‘hockey stick,” a sudden surge, said Thad Peterson, an analyst at Boston, Massachusetts-based Aite,” Kharif reports. “”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Counterfeit Card Liability Shift just went into effect on October 1st. Now the retailer that has made investment in EMV deployment is protected from financial liability for card-present counterfeit fraud losses. Let’s give it some time now to sink in with the hoi polloi. In addition, as more Apple Pay-compliant devices roll out, Apple Pay adoption will naturally increase.

And, by the way, 1 percent of all retail transactions in the U.S. and growing is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

That said, if Apple were interested in really promoting the use of Apple Pay, they could – gasp! – incentivize its use. As we wrote in August:

Apple, give us a reason to use Apple Pay beyond looking like tech dorks at the register. What’s the incentive to use Apple Pay? There is none besides looking like a flaming nerd. As if Apple doesn’t have any money. That, inexplicably, is how they approach Apple Pay.

Hello, Tim? Eddy? Talk to some people who actually go to stores and shop for things, please. Incentivize its use! Give Apple Pay users a percentage of every dollar spent via Apple Pay to spend at Apple Stores. Something. Anything Get people used to using it first. Sheesh. It’s really not that difficult. It really isn’t.


  1. Until my bank gives me a debit card that can be added to Apple Pay, I won’t be using it. It isn’t for lack of interest. It is just not practical to use for our family at this time.

    1. I have four accounts that can be added to Apple Pay. Three of those accounts also have secure chips in the cards. The hold out account, most likely will never get Apple Pay, and it’s the only card I never use.

      I went to Rite Aid recently and used Apple Pay. The clerks were happy and excited about it.

  2. The problem with Apple Pay is not completely with Apple.

    I request Apple Pay with every vendor I come across. Many don’t even know what Apple Pay is. And again this is not Apple’s fault. I will switch gears, I ask about Google Pay, to the same blank stares. Again, switching gears. I pull out my credit card and show them the contacts, the secure chip. I point to that and say, what about this? They again have blank stares.

    The point is, vendors have no clue about payment systems. They have a difficult time, as it is, getting used to what they have, the swipe and pay. They are going to have a cold awakening, once they start picking up the tab for fraudulent transactions. The problem being though, I don’t want to be that victim either.

    Sometimes, I think they simply don’t care.

    One thing Apple can do, is let iPhones take Apple Pay, as a default action. No tools required just bring the phones together and process the transaction. Include this with iPads, and you have an instant POS system, which you do find in a lot of new, hip retailers, which implement Square or other merchant tools.

    1. Every time I make a small purchase at a store that doesn’t accept ApplePay I make sure to tell the manager “You’re being left behind by not accepting ApplePay. I take most of my business to the most up-to-date stores, and right now that isn’t you.”

      I then show them a large dollar amount (several hundred dollars) receipt which was paid with ApplePay to emphasize my point, and tell them “This could have been your store, but won’t ever be unless you accept ApplePay.”

      1. The showing of a large receipt probably won’t faze them unless it is for a competitor.. e.g. showing a large restaurant bill to a grocery store employee would probably just get you a shrug.

        1. I have receipts for restaurants (2 in my area have NFC which works), grocery stores (BiLo), pharmacies (Walgreen), building supply stores (Home Depot when they briefly activated NFC), and big box stores (Target online). I show the appropriate one.

    2. Paradigm shifts do not occur overnight. Those expecting ANY mobile pay platform to be ubiquitous after just one year are ignorant of how paradigm shifts evolve, and Apple Pay is a paradigm shift.

      Come back in 3 – 5 years and let’s look at payment methods then. Today’s Apple Pay critics will be the same ones questioning why consumers still use physical credit cards.

      1. Agree. 1% of all US retail transactions …in 12 months? Using revolutionary new technology that will take time to infiltrate the population. And which is in the early phase of the process of being rolled out in other countries, too? And with no competitor in sight? HUGE ! Give it a few years.

    3. As I have posted before, my retail store had to pay for every fraudulent transaction that went thru my point-of-sale system. I see no advantage to retailers for changing systems except their merchant account fees will be increased for not having the latest.

      Used it at Wegmans. Rather use a card. Oh, BTW, consumers do not benefit either as they are not responsible for fraudulent transactions, either. Neither is the crook.

      In my area McDonald’s has the equipment but they don’t know how to use it yet.

      Wegmans and McDonalds. Big deal.

  3. Being launched in the US prior to widespread replacement of old swipe terminals with NFC/chip and PIN terminals must have a lot to do with this. We should have a better idea of adoption rate ‘potential’ from the UK numbers and pending Canadian launch in November.

  4. well not everyone has iPhone 6 – I just got 6s- so I haven’t used it. but also have no idea how it really works. And Apple hasn’t done a great job of communicating that . On top of that not every store accepts it

      1. Nice link. Now to get that to the attention of potential Apple Pay users since I suspect everyone here that wants to use it are already doing so.. Does anyone know if Apple now includes a slip or some info for the above link in their packaging for new iPhones?

  5. Forget about incentivizing “us” to use Apple pay….I would use it for each and every transaction everywhere and anywhere it is accepted. Apple Pay can replace using credit cards and cash in 90% of all transactions in my life….if there were vendors who accepted it. Apple should create incentives for stores to use Apple Pay and the customers will follow. I want to use it all the time but simply can’t.

  6. Two weeks ago, Discover Card started accepting ApplePay. Last week, I replaced my 5S with 6S (painless overnight shipping on the day of the order by T-Mobile — black 16GB). Immediately enrolled my Discover cart (and three other that accept it, for stores that don’t accept Discover).

    Apple Pay is definitely more convenient to use than cards. I made six transactions over the weekend and they saved perhaps 10 seconds each (getting the wallet, pulling the card out, swiping it, or inserting into chip reader, putting it back in the wallet, putting the wallet in the pocket). In addition, paying with the phone is a single-hand affair. My phone is in my left outside pocket. While pulling it out, I double-press on the home button, which sets up the ApplePay with my default card. While I’m positioning phone near the reader, I place the finger on the TouchID sensor and unlock Apple Pay. By the time the phone gets to the terminal, ApplePay is already unlocked and ready for the transaction. Whole Foods and Trader Joe were effortless and smooth. Walgreens — not so much; the clerk kept standing and waiting for something after the payment was confirmed. The transaction receipt didn’t automatically print, so she reset the PoS device and I did it again; still no receipt, so I dug for my wallet and pulled out the card, to insert in the chip reader, after which the receipt got printed. Walking out of the store, I opened my Discover card app, only to find out three pending transactions of the same amount at Walgreens. Now I know for the next time…

  7. As for motivation to get people to use it, in my case, it was Discover card’s 10% cashback offer. I wouldn’t have upgraded my 5s (baby needs new shoes, as they say, so daddy’s phone is last priority), but with the 10% cashback, I could justify it — in the next three months, I should get enough cashback on this offer to make up the difference between what I get for my 5S and what I’ll end up paying (over 2 years) for 6S ($650, interest-free loan from T-Mobile).

    1. I’ve run into similar resistance… that is until I start asking them questions that make them look embarrassingly outdated; “So you’re telling me, that you’re concern about security. I can understand that, but I’m curious.. What is it that you’d rather use your CC, a technology that can be broken using 1980’s era equipment found at any yard sale, instead of a highly secure system that, by design, is impossibly tedious to crack?”

      Usually a few more comments about how they’re basically screaming their CC#s out over a megaphone every time they use their card… And they’re marching over to the vending machine to give Apple Pay a try for the first time.

  8. I have had ApplePay since the first day of operation. It’s great when it works. My experience is as follows.

    1. McDonalds and Whole Foods have it down and it works great.
    2. 50% of the places I go that have NFC terminals either are broken or the staff doesn’t know how to proceed.
    3. Many still just don’t have the equipment to deal with it.
    4. The authorization of cards after adding a card to the phone has been poorly handled by most banks. Takes me 10 seconds to add a card on the phone and it’s slick, but an hour on the bank’s help line to get it authorized. Who has that kind of time to screw with that? There has to be a better method to authorize to prevent fraud. Amex and Capitol One do pretty well by leveraging their iPhone apps, but most other banks are awful.

    1. My own experience is the opposite. I added four cards and got them authorised within 15 seconds. Upon adding the card to ApplePay Wallet, the card issuer asked, through the ApplePay wallet app, to authorise the card by using a security code, which could be received through SMS, e-mail or voice call. I picked SMS and got the code right away. The cards were authorised without any issues.

      With hundreds (soon thousands) of card issuers, experience will vary widely, but eventually, that is a one-time hassle; once card is added, you don’t need to deal with it anymore.

      1. I wish TD Bank was like that. They require a physical call to the help line. Then you get a normal bank card help person who has no clue about ApplePay card authorization. So on to hold you go until you reach the tier 2 people. It takes awhile. I have two TD accounts, Amex, Cap 1, and a Chase. Amex, and Cap 1 are the easiest. Chase wasn’t too bad. TD blows.

  9. The last card transaction I did was popping into McDonalds heading home late one night. Using Apple Pay wouldn’t have actually saved me any time because the server was going to get my fries and I was done before they got back.

    Of the 5 banks I use 4 are supported and the fifth is coming. That said, I’ve never used my debit card in my life (although I will because of 5% cash back on the tube). So I suppose I may start using Apple Pay, but I would say 95% of my transactions are done online on my Mac so it’s not really a possibility yet.

    I think it will come in time, but ultimately you’re still just purchasing the same thing. It’s not exactly exciting.

  10. Hey, Olga, remember 1969? That was the year of the moon landing. Heck they did not even send 1% of the American population there.
    When the parameter of your life relies on quantity while ignoring quality you get the calibre of articles you wrote.

    A big head shake and a rolling of eyes to you Olga.

  11. Only one store I use has Apple Pay (whole foods). So I would like to use it but no easy to find vendors.
    Then for restaurants it is unlikely that you will be in a situation where you can use Apple Pay.
    It’s all about having the option available. As yet hard to find and this is in California.

  12. The two problems with Apple Pay in the UK are vendors don’t know what it is and we are restricted in the amount we can buy.

    Many shops I go into they do take Apple Pay but they haven’t been trained on it. I have been into the same supermarket three times and each time I’ve said I’d pay with Apple Pay, they ask ‘What’s that!’, I then have to tell them to do Contactless Payment then I then use my phone.

    Biggest problem in the UK is we are limited to £30 per transaction as NFC payments are insecure. Until Apple can get this restriction lifted I think Apple Pay will be held back.

  13. by which metric is it underwhelming
    -Support has been greatly enhanced and keeps steady growth
    -Contries just started to grow (not easy task)
    -Users that start to use it don’t want to stop, but are limited to where the use it
    -By comparing to competition, it outgrew google wallet, and killed the walmart-pay at birth
    -Ah, some commerce wanted this to be detention to grow clients by the pound, not likely, probably some increased sales, but people wont buy more just because it is easy.
    -or wall street metrics which is always displeased, when you meet expectations and she you don’t.

  14. In the last two months i have seen a big shift in number of merchants accepting Apple Pay… At this rate it will be pretty mainssream in a few more months… If they keep up the pace!

    Tim…Phil.. Flood the market with ApplePay stickers.. Require/incentivize merchants to to them up.
    Apple Pay and ApplePay merchants need to have a lot more exposure……
    If i see two stores side by side .. One advertising apple pay and one not… I will definitly choose the one with ApplePay…
    But i have to have a way of knowing which store honors it before i make the choice… Right now it random chance ..
    Put up ApplePay stickers… Help change the randomness to deliberate choice!

  15. Getting a lot of advertising in UK at the moment from the participating Banks. But as MDN stated 1% of all applicable transactions sounds pretty big to me for a year old and still somewhat limited in scale product. Anyone else would no doubt be getting endless pats on the back for such game changing success. This will take years to make serious impact.

  16. Apple should get its act together and roll AP out in Australia. Here payment terminals have been contactless-enabled for years and the take up has been very high. AP would slide easily into the routine of most iPhone 6X users here.

    An inference from Cook about resistance from the big Australian banks would be all that’s needed to set up a small army of supporters to pressure one of them into offering AP first.

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