Apple Pay gains traction where it counts

“Four years after introducing Apple Pay, the company is going neighborhood by neighborhood trying to get U.S. retailers and consumers to use the service—no easy task,” Olga Kharif reports for Bloomberg. “While as many as one in three households with credit cards tap the app at least twice a month in the U.K., the system is used that often by only 14 percent of those households in the U.S., according to Crone Consulting LLC.”

“But now Apple Pay appears to be gaining customers after years of disappointing fits and starts. Thanks to more installed equipment in stores and a new feature called Apple Pay Cash, the program is making gains in areas from mobile apps to physical stores,” Kharif reports. “Rolled out in December, Apple Pay Cash is a peer-to-peer payment feature, like PayPal Holdings Inc.’s better-known Venmo, which lets people send money to each other via iMessage, and it already has millions of users, Apple said. The service is driving people to use other Apple Pay features as well.”

“What’s more, Apple Pay’s biggest obstacle — shortage of merchant acceptance of the service — is fading. By year’s end, 60 percent of U.S. merchants will have the equipment to accept payment via a tap from an iPhone (on par with the U.K. and Canada)—up from 3 percent four years ago, according to Apple,” Kharif reports. “Still, Apple’s biggest opportunity in the U.S. may be to slice into PayPal’s digital turf. That’s where shopping is moving: The number of mobile app transactions using Apple Pay is growing much faster than in-store commerce.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple should have begun Apple Pay by incentivizing its use to get people used to using it. It would have spread much more rapidly. Lately, they’ve been working with partners to offer some incentives, but, with the money they have at their disposal, Apple could have made, and still could make, a much bigger splash.

Apple, give us a reason to use Apple Pay beyond looking like tech dorks in front of the line 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. — MacDailyNews, August 6, 2015

Apple debuts ‘Summertime savings with Apple Pay’ with exclusive offers thru August 1st – July 20, 2018
Why Americans aren’t using their phones to make payments in stores – May 25, 2018
We spent around $20 billion using Apple Pay in 2016 – April 5, 2017
Apple Pay promised to make plastic obsolete, but wary shoppers and confused clerks hinder adoption – April 5, 2017
Retail survey: Apple Pay now being accepted at more retailers than any other mobile payments service – February 22, 2017


  1. For me the added security of Apple Pay is all the incentive I need. Having had my card number compromised in the Target hack many years ago, the headache alone of updating all of my auto pay services to my number number was huge. I love the fact that, with Apple Pay, merchants never get my actual card number.

  2. With their large smartphone share market in the US, isn’t there a danger that incentivizing Apple Pay might get Apple into legal trouble? Maybe they try to avoid antitrust accusations?

  3. Apple Pay has a very high acceptance rate in the UK and there has never been any sort of cash incentive to use it, merely the convenience and security offered by using it. Why is America so reluctant to use it unless there is a financial bribe?

    It’s also hard to see how Apple could offer any meaningful financial incentive to use Apple Pay when the fee it charges for using it are so low. If Apple gave you every cent they charge, you’d probably think it wasn’t enough to be worthwhile.

    I would also query Olga Kharif’s assertion that once the US had 60% of it’s terminals able to deal with Apple Pay, that it would be on a par with the UK. I use Apple Pay here in the UK extensively and it’s now very rare to find any retailer which cannot accept Apple Pay. My impression is that substantially more than 90% of retailers have terminals accepting contactless payment, and therefore Apple Pay.

    There was a travelling funfair in our town last week and some of the rides even accepted Apple Pay. The people running those rides are notorious for preferring to deal exclusively with cash and I was surprised to see them embracing cashless payment.

    Sweden has virtually abandoned cash. Cash represents just 2% of transactions by value in Sweden and more than half the banks do not stock cash, will not accept cash deposits, and many branches no longer have ATMs.You can’t buy a bus ticket with cash in Stockholm and nor can you travel on the metro and pay by cash. Retailers are now legally entitled to refuse payment by notes or coins.

    1. The US is behind on chip cards, very far behind on contactless. The US is a large country, more like the EU than the UK in a lot of ways. The powerful retail industry kept us behind for almost 2 decades because they did not want to pay for the upgrades. When the US does make changes they are big and complicated. However when change does come it will move industries to new levels. I am glad to finally get some stuff that Europe and Japan has had for a long time in payment tech.

  4. There are payment companies used widely by utilities that take $2-3 per transaction just to be able to pay your electric or gas bill online. I wish Apple would go aggressively after this market.

  5. At this point i can easly say that 85% of my brick and mortar retail transactions are through ApplePay and the stupendously convenient AppleWatch .
    My main gripe was gas station pumps.. but thank God, in my city LA and surrounding, Arco has incorporated nfc and ApplePay support on all their pumps.
    I used to, for no specific reason other than habit, go to Mobile or Chevron..
    Now just for the shear convenience of Applepay i only go to Arco .
    ( maybe other gas stations should take note )
    Hold the watch up to the pump nfc reader, pin and bam … !
    Love ApplePay and Applewatch.
    (Would like to see more online merchants accepting it though)

  6. MDN is correct, a loyalty incentive would push this popularity much faster.. but just like everything Pipeline does, it falls short. In fact, there is very little Pipeline does well.

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