Apple Pay usage at its lowest rate ever (among Americans who willingly share photos of their receipts)

“We wanted to find out if this Black Friday would be the shot heard round the world for mobile payments,” Ittai Barzilay reports for InfoScout.

“With 300,000 Americans submitting pictures of receipts through apps on their smartphones, InfoScout can identify exactly what type of devices they’re using, down to the model numbers,” Barzilay reports. “This allows us to study transactions made by people who actually have the capability to use mobile payment technologies such as NFC exclusively at stores with compatible point-of-sale (POS) terminals. For Apple Pay, this qualifies owners of the iPhone 6 and above. On the Android side, the device market is far more fragmented, so we limited our study to owners of fairly equivalent devices: the two most recent versions of Google’s Nexus phones, the LG G3 and G4, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 & S6.”

“We found Apple Pay usage at its lowest rate since we’ve started tracking it, being used for only 2.7% of Apple Pay-eligible transactions,” Barzilay reports. “On the Android side of the table, we saw an even lower rate of mobile wallet usage – just 2.0% of eligible transactions. This was our first time investigating mobile wallet usage among Android owners and we were interested to see that of all the mobile wallet options available, it was actually PayPal that came out on top on Black Friday.”

Apple Pay usage

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This data might be saying something more about the types of users that InfoScout can see (those who willingly share pictures of their receipts*) versus Apple Pay uptake in reality as Apple in October reported “continued, double-digit monthly growth in Apple Pay transactions since launch.”

*We assume users who share photos of their receipts get some deal in return. These type of users are deal seekers and may therefore simply being swayed by another deal via some other form of payment option at the time data is being collected (use your store card and get double points or whatever).

Pay Finders app for iPhone shows you where Apple Pay is accepted – December 1, 2015
Apple reaches agreement to bring Apple Pay to China, sources say – November 25, 2015
Apple Pay looks to get a lift from Walgreens’ 85 million Balance Rewards members – November 5, 2015


  1. Once you start frequenting merchants that accept Apple Pay you will never want to go back to the swipe or insert card NONSENSE that is now starting with the new NFC and CC security mandates…..

    Wait until your CC chip starts malfunctioning and your credit card becomes an ice scraper because the clerk wont enter the card manually…..good times….just in time for Xmas shopping season….
    Now..ask me how I know about chip CC malfunctions…!!

    1. Apple Pay is probably the single greatest feature of both iPhone and Apple Watch (comparable to the usefulness of web browsing on the iPhone). The challenge to overcome in the near terms is increasing the number of vendors that adopt it. If Apple Pay terminals were ubiquitous, I’d never use another payment option…ever – for anything and everything I buy. The convenience of using Apple Pay wherever it is accepted is utterly perfect.

      1. There’s also the problem of spreading awareness of where you can use it.. Subway and Walgreens aren’t a problem, as they display the Apple Pay logo on their terminals. McDonalds and Circle K are more of an issue, because they only have the standard NFC logo on their terminals. I’m guessing there are more than a few iPhone owners who don’t understand that Apple Pay works wherever you see that logo, barring jerk retailers like CVS who turn the NFC off.

        Finally, there exist retailers whose credit card terminals have no Apple Pay or NFC logo, but support NFC anyway. Bob Evans restaurants is one of those. Hold up your phone when it says “swipe card” and Apple Pay will work, even though there is nothing on the terminal that indicates NFC support.

        Also, Apple Pay isn’t perfect. Move your hand a little bit away while it’s working, and it will complain. Hold up the phone too early and it will ding and say “done”, but the transaction won’t go through. You’ll have to “swipe” again. This happens every now and then at McDonalds. I figure some impatient, less-technically inclined users get spooked by that and quit.


  2. These firms that generate data based on feedback from supposed customers never ever generate a sufficient cross section of customers to actually report meaningful data,

    And if someone is paying for these places to do this, they are wasting their money… While its theirs to waste, still doesn’t make for a good investment.

  3. When you have a data source that skews in some direction for whatever reason, it is rather misleading to extrapolate from such source to general population. In this case, the source is a sub-section of iPhone users who willingly send their receipts to an app (a very, very small sub-section of general population). Normally, however, even with such problematic source, you should at least be able to derive trends over time; even the smallest segment of the population might still provide valid trend data, as long as its behaviour isn’t artificially affected by external factors.

    Regrettably, in this example, not even that would work. The article tries to make a point that the trend for Apple Pay is negative (people using Apple Pay less and less frequently), but they conclude this by counting the number of scanned receipts. Unfortunately, this may (and likely does) simply mean that people aren’t bothering scanning receipts anymore.

    This is a rather worthless piece of information that says pretty much nothing about pretty much anything.

  4. I love Apple Pay but am frustrated with the amount of stores that are slow to adopt alternate pay methods. Though most stores have the equipment in place, they are not fully functioning. So, I still can’t use my cards that are chip equipped, let alone Apple Pay, keeping me from using more secure payment methods.

  5. I still have only one vendor that I regularly use (Whole Foods) that offer Apple Pay. TJs is supposed to start installing it but haven’t seen that yet. Safeway, no. Restaurants nope.

    Short answer – lack of use is down to lack of vendors with the right tech.

      1. My TJ’s put Apple Pay into operation about a month or two ago (in Monterey, Calif.) Works like a charm, but no other store has it work as slick as Whole Foods has for about 6-8 months already.

    1. Didn’t the article specifically narrow the data to “Apple Pay-eligible transactions”? I would think that means that if the transaction was not eligible it had no effect on the report.

  6. What I have observed, as the “Man on theStreet” is that many/most of the new nfc and card chip capable card readers are not set up yet. The poor frustrated clerks have to tell you if you have to insert your card (which usually, but not always, means you can use Apple Pay) or swipe your card. There are a lot of flustered interactions at the cash register when it is time to pay — swipe? Insert? ApplePay? Sign? Receipt?

  7. And over here in real life, my main annoyance is that Apple Pay still isn’t accepted by many of the places I frequently visit. That includes my local supermarket (Cherry Valley), Fairway, Best Buy, B&H Photo Video, PC Richard… Curiously enough, there are several retailers that had recently upgraded their PoS devices, which can now accept ApplePay, and nobody in the store seems aware of this. There is this one supermarket (“Super Fi”) in East Harlem where I had paid with ApplePay many times over the past few months, and every time, the kid at the register would tell me “…oh, that won’t work here!”, only to be quite surprised when it does.

    Let us hope that the new liability rules compel retailers to upgrade their PoS devices so that they accept NFC payments.

    Apple Pay has been rather successful, considering the amount of ignorance about it on the part of retailers. To use it, you really have to make an effort to convince them that it would actually work. Vast majority are just oblivious, and a sizable minority actually discourages it (“No, that doesn’t work here!”). Someone needs to do something about this in order to re-educate these ignorant drones.

  8. It really would help if it were accepted everywhere, and if places made it convenient to use. One of the ones they promoted was McDonald’s drive through, yet that’s the most embarrassing and inconvenient place to actually use it. Why don’t they have a payment terminal within Watch’s reach? Why do all these places have the compatibility symbols on their payment readers, but the store opts to disable it entirely?

    1. I’ve used it at McDonald’s for the past 3 months or so. Works fine, but you’re right—the staff is amazed every time I use it and it seems like I performed a magic trick for them.

  9. One of the most ridiculous actions on the part of American banks (credit card issuers) is moving (finally) to the chip&PIN system, but dropping the ‘PIN’ part. The reason the rest of the world has moved away from mag stripe was to prevent fraud. When someone steals your credit card, they can swipe and pretend to be you (after all, your signature is on the back; how hard is it to learn to quickly fake it?). Chip-and-PIN was meant to prevent that by requiring a PIN that only the proper owner would know. The rest of the world has been using chip-n-PIN for years. America is slowly waking up to it, but alas, banks are seeing way too much resistance to PIN, so they are simply eliminating that requirement. So, now you have a credit card with a chip, but no PIN. Somebody steals it from you and is free to use it, as there’s no difference from mag stripe. The only major difference is that now, retailers are on the hook for all the fraudulent transactions for chip (no PIN) cards. This won’t fly for too long before somebody (retailers) begin screaming. When banks were the ones absorbing the fraud cost, retailers didn’t care if transactions were fake; now, they have to be vigilant for stolen cards, and without PIN, it will be quite difficult to figure out if the person buying a $3,000 iMac is the actual owner of the credit card or not. There will be plenty of noise about this and perhaps PIN won’t be too far off.

    Ultimately Apple Pay would simply side-step this whole issue, as it is the 100% fraud-proof solution. If only the retailers would actually get a clue about it.

    1. Though as you point out that not requiring a PIN is a bad move, the transaction is a lot more secure than the mag strip method. The chip transaction is tokenized like Apple Pay transactions. The store does not have your card number stored or even received by completing a transaction with them.. The type of major leak that happened with Target for example will not be possible since the CC number no longer is available to the store to do anything with, including tracking you through your CC number. You’ll still be ‘tracked’ if you use a loyalty card however.

      1. About the only thing that is avoided when mag stripe is replaced by the chip is the possibility that a hacker could siphon out credit card data from the store PoS (or the connected server). I am not sure how much damage such incidents create, compared to ordinary card number theft (somebody memorising / copying the card number during the physical transaction), but I’d venture a guess that by eliminating the PIN requirement, banks have significantly reduced the level and quality of protection they could get from that chip. At least, it is good to know that the customer privacy is now better protected…

  10. In order for Apple Pay to gain any meaningful traction about iPhone owners, someone (Apple) needs to do two things:

    1. Ram it down the iPhone owners’ throat that Apple Pay is the ONLY 100% secure way of paying;

    2. Ram it down the retailers’ throat that Apple Pay is the ONLY 100% secure way of accepting payment.

    Apple must find a way to teach people that Apple Pay is by far the most secure, the only 100% secure method out there, protecting their privacy. More importantly, they must find a way to teach every retailer out there that their only hope against fraudulent transactions is Apple Pay.

  11. This is an area where Samsung scooped Apple. They bought a company that developed tech that allows their phones to pay anywhere there is a magnetic card swiper. Which is anywhere that accepts credit cards. I’ve seen it, and it works flawlessly. And Samsung gives a $100 credit at their online store for signing up for Samsung Pay. If Apple offered that promotion you’d see adoption go through the roof and consumers would demand that retailers take Apple Pay.

    1. Actually Discover card’s current promotion of giving you 10% back for Apple Pay discover card transactions and matching that after 12 months is a great deal. I’m surprised Apple Pay usage hadn’t gone up in the representative sample for the report.

  12. The headline says “Apple Pay Usage at the Lowest Rate Ever”. — as if usage of Apple Pay were declining. But read the article carefully and you see a completely different picture. Every day more “eligible” iPhones are in circulation. And every day more merchants (i.e. with new terminals) come on line. So every day, more and more transactions are “eligible” for Apple Pay. So this whole article just means that the usage of Apple Pay is not increasing as quickly as the “eligible” transactions.

    Meh. No big deal.

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