Apple Pay slow to gain steam

“More than 18 months after Apple Pay took the United States by storm, the smartphone giant has made only a small dent in the global payments market, snagged by technical challenges, low consumer take-up and resistance from banks,” Matt Siegel, Jeremy Wagstaff and Eric Auchard report for Reuters.

“The service is available in six countries and among a limited range of banks, though in recent weeks Apple has added four banks to its sole Singapore partner American Express; Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in Australia; and Canada’s five big banks,” Siegel, Wagstaff and Auchard report. “Apple Pay usage totaled $10.9 billion last year, the vast majority of that in the United States. That is less than the annual volume of transactions in Kenya, a mobile payments pioneer, according to research firm Timetric.”

“Anecdotal evidence from Britain, China and Australia suggests Apple Pay is popular with core Apple followers, but the quality of service, and interest in it, varies significantly,” Siegel, Wagstaff and Auchard report. “pple has leveraged its huge U.S. user base to push Pay, but has met resistance in Australia, Britain and Canada where banks are building their own products. ‘Payments in general is such a complicated system with so many incumbent providers that revolutionary change like this was not going to happen very quickly,’ said Joshua Gilbert, an analyst at First Annapolis Consulting. The upshot: Apple has rolled out Pay in a dribble, adding countries and partners where it can – Hong Kong is expected to be added next – resulting in an uneven banking landscape with users and retail staff not always sure what will work and how.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Nobody in their right mind expects this to happen overnight. Inexorably, Apple Pay will grow around the world.

Apple Pay gets big expansion in Canada – June 1, 2016
Canada is just the kind of market Apple Pay was looking for – May 11, 2016
Canadian banks, including ‘the Big Five,’ sign on for major Apple Pay expansion – May 10, 2016
Apples’ revolutionary Apple Pay expands to Canada and Australia – November 17, 2015


  1. The product is fine, arguably the best, yet the coverage is spotty to this time. The resistance is clearly due to the traditional profiteers from transaction fees, they do not want to give up ANY of that largess. Disruption is always unwelcome among dinosaurs.

    1. Respectfully disagree….I used Apple Pay about 5 times, hated it. Easier to swipe my card than to pull out the phone and play around with the app.

      1. Used it for the first time yesterday. No playing around with the app after pulling the phone out to pay, so I’m curious what you had to do when trying to pay.

        That said, only my backup card is supported right now, one that gives me no cashback or similar benefits. My primary card’s issuer refuses to play ball with Apple Pay. While I can understand their reasoning (all the benefits of a high-end cashback credit card, without the $100+ annual fee), it’s a massive annoyance.

        1. Also, we’ve had NFC credit cards and readers here for over 5 years already. Apple Pay increases the security further, but the novelty of tap-to-pay isn’t as fresh as it is in the US.

      2. Please explain how this is possible, as it hasn’t been my experience with Apple Pay at all.

        Press the buttons, put my Watch near the display, wait for the beep & done.

        Much, much faster than pulling out my iPhone.

  2. 2 main issues I have found w/ Apple Pay are 1) Scant availability of the option. I literally have to hunt and seek proprietors that are using it–I test almost every terminal I use (drives my wife nuts) 2) THe BIG one–staff are largely clueless and untrained when it comes to using AP. I cannot count the number of clerks I’ve had to ‘unformally train’ and explain this tech to–and in stores that have had AP for over a year!! WTF? They stand there and go ‘wow..that’s cool..derp”. What’s really astounding is that many of these staff are millinials who were RAISED in the post-digital age and SHOULD KNOW this like the back of their hand, but have no clue.

    Is this just a lack of awareness or training or what? It really is baffling that people aren’t jumping all over this tech–it is the easiest, coolest, most convenient payment method I’ve ever used..and most people agree after they see it work💥

  3. A vast majority of retailers have done absolutely nothing to modernize. The tech is there the new readers are there but both chip slots and contactless payments are non-functional.

    Time and time again, when I see that it’s up and running, the clerk has no idea. I was at El Pollo Loco, and it was up and running. Boy was it a surprise to the clerk. He was jumping, it doesn’t w—, but before he could finish, he was stunned the transaction cleared.

    That was a success story. More often than not, retailers are lagging so far behind and we are all vulnerable. Even major national retailers just aren’t up to speed.

    Not an Apple Pay problem but a merchant problem instead.

  4. It’s not the bank side, it’s the merchant side that’s seriously lacking. I would use it everywhere if it was supported, but sadly it’s lacking in the places I want to use it the most. Groceries, my main gas station, movies, my favorite bar…

    Ok that last one’s a stretch but it’d still be cool/convenient

  5. It’s slow in the UK because we all already have contactless payment cards from the banks. I do use Apple Pay because I think it’s cool but it’s no more convenient than using a contactless card. I am sure it is more secure however but Joe Public probably don’t know this. The £30 limit is also irritating, excluding it from any big weekly purchases such as food shopping.

    1. I would argue, and many would agree, that ApplePay is, for vast majority of users, faster than a contactless (or any other, for that matter) credit card. People generally keep their phones in outer pockets of their jackets (or pants). Women have them in their purses. Credit cards, on the other hands, are inside wallets that are inside those pockets/purses. In order to pay with your phone, you pull it out of your pocket/purse. For most, it is a single-handed action.

      To use your credit card, you have to pull your wallet (our of your pocket/purse), then open it, then use the OTHER hand to pick out the credit card you want to use, then swipe/insert/tap. Then, you have to put it back in the wallet, before you can return the wallet to your pocket.

      In addition to adding extra time / actions, you are now engaging both hands at both ends of the transaction. If you are holding something in one of your hands (an umbrella, for instance), you have to put it down somewhere in order to get to your credit card (or execute some tricky hand gymnastics in order to pull the card out with a single hand).

      Obviously, the advantage isn’t earth-shattering, and you save a few seconds, but the convenience and simplicity is clearly there. Not to mention additional security.

    2. The vast majority of the times I could use it is when I’m using the underground. For that I currently use me debit card because of the 5% cashback, but normally I’m happy to use my Oyster card because even if stolen it would be hard to be done out of any really money. When I know I’m using the underground I keep my wallet in a sealed interior pocket of my jacket and just keep my Oyster card in my pocket. In the thousands of times I’ve used it I’ve had to retry maybe three times. I’ve tried Apple Pay a handful of times and it hasn’t worked twice. There is no added convenience, security isn’t a huge concern, and in fact I’m more concerned about getting my phone out in a busy train station than I am my card. Since if my card is stolen I can use my phone to cancel it, having my phone stolen would be far worse.
      I don’t spend enough to have Apple Pay justify an Apple Watch on its own, and outside of that an Apple Watch hasn’t made enough of a case for itself for me yet to justify getting one.

  6. In Canada, even with the delayed rollout, I’ve been using Apple Pay since Monday this week and I find that it’s everywhere. Of course we’ve had chip cards and contactless payment for several years.
    It is extremely fast and easy. And it is way more secure than using the actual cards. There lies the real value of Apple Pay.
    Yesterday, I bought craft materials in a small family-run shop not in a mall and used AP with no trouble.

    I have been having trouble getting to work from my Apple Watch, though.

  7. I started using Apple Pay yesterday in Canada, and there is no way pulling a wallet out of a tight pocket, pulling a card out of a wallet and then tapping the card on the point-of-sale terminal is faster than merely positioning your phone near the terminal with your finger on the home button. I look forward to the day where I never have to even take the card out of the house.

  8. My problem is finding stores that accept it. My Shoprite supermarket just started but the new card readers do not have the NFC icon and the cashiers have never been told that it is available. I found out when I emailed customer service as to when it would be available and they replied that it was now available.

  9. To repeat what MDN had argued before, and add a bit of my own, there are two main things that need to happen before the uptake of ApplePay meaningfully improves:

    1. Incentives. Apple should really do this by themselves, rather than expecting banks to foot the bill. I upgraded my old 5s when Discover card offered 10% cashback for three months on ApplePay transactions. Just as Apple does with Apple Music, they should really do for ApplePay: offer some major incentive (10% cashback on all ApplePay physical in-store transactions, credited to users’ iTunes accounts for three months), that would motivate people to sign up and use ApplePay. Once they’re on board, they’ll continue.

    2. Merchant training and outreach. Small, independent shops (cafés, bakeries, bike repair places) are acutely aware that the more options your customers have to pay, the more business they will attract, so most of them have already upgraded their terminals. Quite many use SquareUP service, and their contactless PoS device is just $50.

    It is the bigger guys that simply don’t care, and even those who did replace their PoS terminals (after the October change, shifting the burden of fraud on magstripe swipes away from the bank and to the merchant), majority hasn’t really bothered to enable the contactless part of the device. And among those who did, as testimonies above attest, many didn’t bother even learning about ApplePay, or informing their staff. This is absurd; it takes no longer than 15 minutes to explain what is ApplePay and how it works at the register; yet, eveyrone is clueless, from corporate management, to the store manager level, to staff at the register.

    Once these two are addressed (and perhaps Apple could invest some effort and resources to do this), we’ll see much faster adoption rates.

  10. I just don’t see it as something that needs to take off quickly. It’s not something people are going to buy an iPhone specifically for. It’s not as existing methods put people off spending money and they’re now going to spend more. It’s just another tool in the box.

  11. Every tsunami takes time to build volume and hence momentum.
    A small investment that will reap billions ad infinitum for little ongoing effort by Apple.

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