JCPenney explains why it dropped Apple Pay

“JCPenney quietly ditched Apple Pay this month,” Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch.

“The retailer now claims the move was necessitated by the April 13, 2019 deadline in the U.S. for supporting EMV contactless chip functionality,” Perez reports. “As of this date, all terminals at U.S. merchants locations that accept contactless payments must actively support EMV contactless chip functionality, and the legacy MSD (magnetic stripe data) contactless technology must be retired. JCPenney was not ready to comply, it seems, so it switched off all contactless payment options as a result.”

“JCPenney is hinting here at low Apple Pay adoption among its customer base — as the ‘vast majority’ of shoppers pay using a physical card,” Perez reports. “That means the retailer’s decision to re-enable Apple Pay at a later date may still be in question — especially as this change allows JCPenney to fully take back ownership of customer purchase data.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: JCPenney can’t afford modern cash register terminals or are they just too busy getting their bankruptcy materials in order?

JCPenney abruptly drops Apple Pay Support from its retail stores and mobile app – April 22, 2019

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. At nearly $1,000 a pop, and all their unattended cash registers in each store I can understand why they didn’t want to spend all that money. As most of their customers are older (as I have observed in my local Penney on the rare occasion I may venture in the store), many of them still use other forms of payment besides credit cards.

  2. MDN are you mocking / taunting a company whose business doesn’t need / won’t benefit from being a customer of Apple?

    Laughing at a company that’s going out of business? Apple was there before and will be again. Penney’s is an American institution, 100 years old, beloved by its customers for selling good clothing at an affordable price.

    The fact that it doesn’t benefit from Apple’s product is not a point of shame/ridicule. It’s just the business. Little kids with lemonade stands and Cancer charities would probably lose money if they used Apple Pay. Are they stupid/failing/deserve what they get, too?

    Geez, not everything is a zero-sum.

      1. True, but for JCPenny supporting Apple Pay (as well as all other contactless payments) by installing new POS terminals at this point would simply accelerate their condition to that of Sears.

    1. What part of “. . .all terminals at U.S. merchants locations that accept contactless payments must actively support EMV contactless chip functionality” do you fail to grasp? This is a requirement of the financial credit/debit card industry backed up by government regulations. The original deadline for upgrading has been moved several times, and JC Penney has ignored at least four such deadlines. My business didn’t. Others didn’t. They’ve even put them in candy and soda vending machines. Meanwhile, JC Penney ignored moving with the wave of the future of fraud prevention.

      More likely this was the a more compelling reason: “. . . this change allows JCPenney to fully take back ownership of customer purchase data.”

      1. Aye, it’s a requirement for contactless payments. Penney’s simply isn’t in a business that benefits from that payment system. It’s too costly and their margins are almost zero.

        Your example of soda is a good one of a product made for pennies and sold for 100x the cost which can easily absorb the additional cost of implementing newer payment types and with a customer base that actively uses / wants it.

        Penney’s just isn’t soda. It’s low-margin, discount clothing whose customers by and large don’t care about contactless payment.

        My question here is why MDN and many of the readers/commenters here insist on casting everyone who doesn’t want or need Apple’s products as stupid, failing, ignorant, etc.

  3. They aren’t that beloved since the fiasco when they hired the former apple vp who promptly dumped the clothing lines that their older customers (especially women) liked. These women resented being ignored in favor of what appeared to be a focus exclusively on young women and stopped buying clothes for the family from JCP altogether. Bad move, Momma controls the clothing budget in most families. If you want to get an earful on this subject, just ask my wife about it.

    1. What I found amazing about that fiasco is that JCP ditched the deceptive pricing scheme used by the all the other retailers (especially Kohl’s) in which everything was “on sale” and instead went for everyday low pricing…and people HATED IT. They’d become conditioned to the idea that they were getting “bargains” with the fake sales, and when the new full-time lower prices never went on sale, the “bargain” hunters stayed away. Sales rebounded once JCP raised the prices and then had “sales”.

      Proof positive that American consumers are generally ovine.

  4. In other words, J.C. Penny has fallen so far behind the rest of the world with it’s payment technology that rather than embrace modern payment technology, which has been almost universally deployed in other western countries, they choose to downgrade to 20th century systems.

    I note the final sentence refers to their desire to take back ownership of customer purchase data. As I mentioned in a previous thread on this topic, I believe that the true reason why J.C. Penny has rejected Apple Pay is to obtain the sort of marketing data which Apple refuses to pass on.

  5. I’m not a fan of retailers asking for — and practically demanding — contact information at checkout. I think it’s an intrusive practice and annoying. Here’s the thing, though, that’s where EVERYTHING has moved. As if Amazon or Google aren’t collecting that info? At least when it happens in a store I’m more or less consciously aware I’m handing over data as a human being asks me for it. I feel like I’m turning into a crotchety old guy pining for the “good old days” sometimes but I do just shake my head every time someone in my smaller town complains about pricing or selection at a physical store five minutes after they just bought 70 percent of their goods online from a colossal-sized retailer like Amazon. The economy is flat out changing, and I’m thinking that you really can’t have it both ways. The irony is that life is going to get LESS convenient as physical stores go the way of the dodo. Before long, we won’t have to get off our asses for anything but we’ll have to wait 24-48 hours for whatever it is to be delivered. Rant over.

  6. It is hard for the Apple fanboi to admit that, years after Apple rolled out its payment system, a significant percentage of clerks have no clue how to do it. This makes Apple Pay in many cases the slowest method of payment. I see it regularly.

    Apple may have the superior security system but if Apple is too lazy to train merchants, advertise, and help users set up their phones, Apple Pay will be yet another unfulfilled hobby with a tiny market share.

    Apple needs to think through these things a lot more. Rolling out a titanium credit card signals to the world that Apple itself has determined Apple Pay must not be as great as Apple expected, that the majority of people are not using their phones for payment and never will. JC Penney knows its clientele and it knows that less than 20% of Americans use Apple Pay, and the growth has stalled due to Apple’s poor education and minority share of mobile devices.

    1. I assume that you’re talking about what you’ve observed in the USA, because in Canada and Europe, Apple Pay is widely used and is a very fast way to pay.

      Retailers in the rest of the world have no problems with contactless technology or Apple Pay. Apple hasn’t needed to educate users or train retailers in Europe, they’re smart enough to work it out for themselves because it’s strait-forward to use. The problem with Apple Pay being poorly adopted is specific to the USA.

      A store assistant only needs to know how to handle contactless payment transactions. Apple Pay is conducted in exactly the same way.

      1. Your last statement actually points out where the problem lies. The US retail sector in general may be far behind in being educated in knowing how to handle contactless payment transactions. If ApplePay is depending on that education for its growth, it may help to be part of the solution by actively participating in educating the retail sector.

        Visa/MC/Discover/AMEX have a pretty vested interest in keeping the status quo.

    2. Are you familiar with the socio-economic demographic profile of an average JCP customer? I think not.

      Very little of your comment is backed up by the facts and stats.
      Your conclusions have no basis other than your personal opinion. I get it and don’t disagree with all of your comments, but come on regarding the underlying reasons. You clearly don’t understand too much about consumer behavior and different demographic profiles across the brick and mortar landscape. Nor do you understand that contactless payment system have extremely wide adoption throughout population centers in almost all other parts of the world. There are places in Europe and Asia where I go regularly where they will suspect you of some fraud if you pull a physical card out. Fraud losses and are dramatically reduced in contactless systems. The vendors refuse to invest in the resources to get properly incorporated. The only evidence of Apple’s effort to market Apple Pay is their success and surpassing all target goals for the product.

    1. I care about security. Supporting legacy technology almost always ends up causing security holes. Samsung tries to do too much and has a poor track record with that approach. What good are all these features if they suck or make our phones less secure?

        1. Everything can be hacked. It is common sense that packing more features into any tech opens up more avenues for attacks and vulnerabilities. You can educate yourself on Samsung’s security track record. It is okay but not great. If you’re good with “okay” then that’s a choice you get to make. Not for me though.

    2. Good point. But reading into the details it does require that the vendor (or service provider for the vendor) update the software on the POS to accept Samsung Pay’s magnetic strip support tech. Still, it is a far more affordable solution for those vendors that are reluctant to upgrade to a true contactless payment POS and still support Samsung Pay.

      1. What you fail to grasp is the deadline has passed for all vendors to have already upgraded their Point-of-Sale credit/debit card machines to use Chipped cards and NFC, all with the intent of eliminating swiping, a very insecure card system. Many places are no longer accepting swiping. Most vendors lease their POS equipment from a card processing service in any case. . . Upgrading the lease unit can cost between $5 to $10 per month added to the monthly lease.

        Years ago they did the same when they dropped the physical imprinting machines using embossed cards. It’s likely magnetic stripe cards will be phased out within five years as too insecure and obsolete.

  7. European Countries like Austria, and in Asia now accepting Apple Pay.. while poor old JC Penney can’t. Pathetic.. I’ll wait for the “JC Penney 75% Off Going out of Business Sale” and bring some cash!

  8. WOW. So much resistance to change.
    The rest of the world has been using contactless, tap, cards for years.
    Apple attempts to bring the USA into the current millennium.

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