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Apple Says 35% of U.S. Merchants Accept Apple Pay

While speaking at the Code Conference today in San Francisco, Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey announced that 35% of U.S. merchants now accept Apple Pay, reports The Verge. She said that only 4% of merchants accepted the payment option two years ago when it debuted.

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Bailey says the new EMV chip cards are annoying customers and have helped drive adoption. "Once you figure out you have to chip, you wait a while, you wait awhile," she said before imitating the "BEEP" sound the chip reader makes when you can remove your card.

Apple won't be marketing Apple Pay to take advantage of the annoyance toward EMV chips, Bailey said, instead focusing on creating new partnerships with banks and merchants. "Knocking EMV is not necessarily the way to go," she said. "I think it's to increase acceptance and work with great partners."


The Cupertino company is also focusing on offering deals with retailers and banks. In November, Apple debuted exclusive holiday offers for those who use Apple Pay on the web. Promotions included one- or two-day free shipping with Adidas and 50% off a one-year subscription to The New York Times. Bailey notes that Apple has to work with partners for special offers because Apple doesn't collect transaction data, eliminating its ability to offer promotions by itself.

Bailey says that Apple is excited by the speed of the transition to contactless payments. However, Bailey says that the challenge for Apple is that they have to match the speed of the transition to EMV chip readers. Apple has to get retailers and merchants to adopt Apple Pay at the same time they adopt EMV chip readers so that consumers can more easily see the benefit of Apple Pay.

Bailey also teased what was next for Apple Pay, saying that the company is thinking about "everything in your wallet."



Top Rated Comments

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29 months ago
I have to say.... it is such a pleasure using Apple Pay over the new chip card terminals. Holy crap they are slow!
Rating: 18 Votes
29 months ago
Not in my podunk neck of the woods. Lack of knowledge of it in the stores that actually support it astounds me.
"Do you take ApplePay?"
"Huh? What's that?"
"Never mind, I'll just....yes, you do."
"Wow, that's cool!"
"Mmmhmm"
Still using a signature for verification, even with ApplePay sometimes. It's ridiculous, so I just draw a smiley face for a signature.
Rating: 14 Votes
29 months ago
This story personally resonated...

The EMV delay is real and super annoying. I use ApplePay whenever possible.
Rating: 12 Votes
29 months ago

Bailey also teased what was next for Apple Pay, saying that the company is thinking about "everything in your wallet."

An Apple Pay condom?
Rating: 8 Votes
29 months ago
35% of all U.S. merchants accept Apple Pay? I don't buy that figure. Maybe 35% of all U.S. merchants have the ability to accept Apple Pay (as in, they have compatible equipment).

The big variable is whether the merchant has actually enabled NFC functionality on their POS equipment. I'm looking at you CVS, Kroger, Publix, Costco, and on, and on, and on. All of those places in my area have POS equipment that is capable of accepting NFC payments, but NFC has not been turned on for whatever reason.

The Costco near my house completely overhauled their gas pump POS equipment recently and it has the tap to pay/NFC logo right on the pump and the light is flashing inviting you to use NFC. Imagine my excitement when I tried to use my iPhone 6 to pay for gas for the first time ever. When my iPhone wasn't bringing up my debit card as it should've been, I tried using my Apple Watch. Nothing there, either. The Costco employee came over and asked me what I was doing. When I told him I was trying to use NFC, he said, "Oh yeah, we haven't turned that on yet and I'm not sure we're going to". :rolleyes:
Rating: 8 Votes
29 months ago
I've seen rapid adoption of Apple Pay recently, mostly due to merchants upgrading their credit card processing machines. My local pet store even promotes Apple Pay on their door now. I think in 3-5 years, it'll be more odd to see a merchant not supporting Apple Pay.

Eventually, even the big retailer holdouts like Wal-mart and Target will have no choice but to accept it; they're just delaying the inevitable.
Rating: 6 Votes
29 months ago

95% in Canada now, 94% in Canada when it launched. We've had EMV support for a while, and the cards work much better than they describe it by the way. It takes less than a second to do the beep most of the time. And it's rare you have to move it or whatever.


It's simply a worse system than what we had with swiping. It demands a very specific set of actions from you done at specific times. It demands your attention at multiple steps.

We had reached the point with swiping where you could swipe the card at any time, even before the cashier had finished ringing up the order. Then you might have to sign when it's all done. Now it's wait for the prompts, try to find the stupid hole that's usually hidden on the edge of the POS, insert the card, get beeped at, wait for some other prompt, don't accidentally remove the card too soon, get beeped at, remove the card, sign.

It's BS.
Rating: 6 Votes
29 months ago

I wonder what you do of that extra time saved.


It's not about saving small amounts of time. It's about watching what was a common everyday interaction made much worse and more annoying by badly designed technology. It's a regression in a world where things are only supposed to get better. I have no patience for people who derail discussions about bad technology on a technology board by screaming "first world problems".
Rating: 6 Votes
29 months ago
It's kind of incredible how the US is so behind on payments technology, with the most widespread method of payment being an easily cloned magnetic strip and still using god damn signatures to verify payment!

In Toronto, ApplePay is accepted at somewhere nearing 99% of merchants because most merchants that accept debit cards already have tap payments built into their debit terminals. I haven't touched cash or my debit card in months.
Rating: 6 Votes
29 months ago
I find the 35% number hard to credit. I was in California January-May and there were only a couple of places where Apple Pay actually worked. CVS near my house had an NFC terminal but it was not operational. Most merchants didn't even have that much. Here in Canada NFC is ubiquitous and I rarely have to take out my credit card. It does happen in smaller shops and in restaurants. I think restaurants don't like NFC because there is no tip prompt when you tap. Or can the terminals be configured somehow to include a tip prompt and still use NFC? I don't think I've seen that.
Rating: 5 Votes

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