Apple Pay Launches in Australia for American Express Cardholders
Apple Pay has launched in Australia in partnership with American Express, expanding iPhone-based mobile payments to a fourth country following Canada earlier this week. The service can be used at Coles, Harvey Norman, Kmart, McDonald's, Starbucks, Woolworths and other select Australian stores that accept American Express and have NFC-equipped payment terminals.
American Express cardholders can add credit cards in the Wallet app on iOS 9.1 by tapping the "Add Credit or Debit Card" option. Apple Pay currently only works with cards issued directly by American Express, and not bank-issued cards like the CommBank Awards American Express or Westpac Altitude Black American Express cards.
Apple says Australian customers will "soon" be able to add store credit cards and loyalty cards to Wallet, and use them to make purchases and redeem rewards with Apple Pay. Kohl's became the first U.S. retailer to offer store-branded cards in Apple Pay last month, while Walgreens launched the first stateside Apple Pay loyalty rewards program a few weeks ago.
American Express is not as popular or widely accepted as MasterCard or Visa in Australia, but the partnership could place pressure on negotiations between Apple and Australian banks like Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac. No bank-issued debit and credit cards work with Apple Pay in Australia at this time.
#ApplePay day is here in Australia. pic.twitter.com/8C5XfSnpWv — Mike Boyd (@mike_boyd) November 18, 2015
Apple has slowly rolled out Apple Pay since announcing the service, starting with the U.S. in October 2014 and expanding to the U.K. last July. Beyond Australia and Canada, Apple is also partnering with American Express to bring Apple Pay to Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong next year.
Apple Pay recently gained support for Tesco Bank and TSB in the U.K. and over 90 new participating U.S. issuers. Yesterday, Apple confirmed that Apple Pay support is also coming to Domino's and Cinnabon in the U.S. by yearend and 2016 respectively. Starbucks, KFC and Chili's locations will adopt Apple Pay next year.
Apple's website has a new page with more details about Apple Pay in Australia.
Top Rated Comments
CONTACTLESS PAYMENT: Has been up and running for 5 years already by simply tapping your credit/debit card on the reader at almost every retailer, or more recently your phone with NFC chip sticker on the back. Apple Pay is not a revolution in Australia, its a "who cares" moment. So instead of tapping your phone or card, you tap your phone or watch. Whoop-de-doo!!!
BANKS: there are four main banks in Australia who dominate banking. They take 82 cents per $100 card payment and they are unwilling to make a deal with Apple to hand over 15 cents when the contactless system that exists is in use everyday by nearly every Australian with a bank account. What's in it for the banks to do a deal with Apple? Nothing except a loss of profit.
AMEX: in Australia has in the past charged retailers EXCESSIVE fees for accepting payments. To share the love, retailers have in the past either decided not to accept Amex or charged customers additional fees on top of their purchase cost.
As a result many many Australians do not now and never will use Amex as they are viewed as overcharging scumbags. Some retailers, presumably in order top pick up the tourist dollar from overseas visitors, now accept Amex but for many Australians Amex carries a lot of negative baggage.
Amex has tried to expand its foothold in Australia by:
- reducing its fees slightly to retailers, although their reputation is ingrained in the Australian psyche and some retailers still charge higher fees for using Amex because the public expects them too.
- introducing co-branded Amex cards with large retailers like David Jones. These will work with Apple Pay as they are genuine Amex cards
- introducing co-branded Amex cards with the four banks (although these are usually supplementary cards to a Visa or Mastercard account with those banks). These are the bulk of Amex cards and WILL NOT WORK with Apple Pay because the banks will not give up their lucrative fees.