Company / division: Apple Pay
Apple Pay Promised to Make Plastic Obsolete. Then Came Wary Shoppers, Confused Clerks – WSJ (Apr 5, 2017)
It’s been clear from the very beginning that Apple Pay was only going to get so far as long as most retailers didn’t support the technology. Mobile payments are a tough habit to get going when it only works occasionally, and when there’s significant uncertainty about whether it will work at a given retailer, and both are certainly the case right now. As such, I would guess that many iPhone owners have either never tried it or tried it once or twice only to stop using it because it’s rarely available as a payment mechanism. Compounding the problem is the fact that, though the EMV liability shift drove adoption of new payment terminals, and many of those terminals have NFC capability, but Apple Pay support is switched off because retailers favor other methods of payment. As such, even the widely-recognized contactless payment symbol present on many terminals is no guarantee of availability. Ultimately, unless acceptance rates at retailers rise considerably, adoption by users it going to continue to be a long, slow slog.
Apple Pay most popular mobile payment service among US retailers, survey finds – NFC World (Feb 7, 2017)
This survey suggests that Apple Pay is the most popular mobile payment service among 500 top retailers surveyed by Boston Retail Partners (BRP). It beat out PayPal (which I’ve never seen at retail other than at Home Depot, but appears to be largely used by smaller entities rather than big chains), and a variety of other card network-, bank, or store-specific alternatives like Chase Pay, MasterCard PayPass, and Visa Checkout, as well as Android Pay, which was accepted by 24% versus Apple Pay’s 36%. That’s good progress for Apple Pay, but still makes it a minority option even among these larger retailers, which tallies with my own experience of trying to find places to use it – where I live, two of the nearby grocery stores take it, but our closest and default store doesn’t, Subway and one or two other fast food places take it, but most don’t, and several other places (including CVS) have NFC-enabled terminals but block Apple Pay. The progress is good, but until Apple Pay is available more often than not, I suspect many people will just never bother trying – there’s too much embarrassment around a failed payment for most people to endure the trial and error process it often entails.
Apple Pay on the Rise – TXN (Jan 23, 2017)
The headline here is a positive one about Apple Pay, whose adoption does seem to be on the rise, as this data from consumer spending analytics app TXN suggests. However, it’s also worth noting that the actual penetration of Apple Pay within the set of retailers in the data is still very low – no retailer has higher than 4% of their total credit card transactions going through Apple Pay, and that includes those that have iOS apps where it is by far the easiest way to pay (assuming you have Apple Pay set up in the first place). Apple Pay continues to be a fantastic technology where it works, but it still works in relatively few places, and as such most users haven’t been able to develop the habit of trying to use it everywhere. Even where it seems it might work (e.g. my local CVS) it often fails, which causes embarrassment and a barrier to trying again next time. We’re still waiting for the big tipping point for mobile payments like Apple Pay to go truly mainstream – for now it’s mostly still a niche technology.