Apple Pay Expands to Additional Banks in Europe
Apple Pay has gained several new partners in Europe this month, including American Express in the Netherlands, ING in Italy, Santander in Portugal, and UBS in Switzerland, according to a recently updated list on Apple's website. Canadian carrier Rogers has also introduced Apple Pay support for its line of Mastercards.
Apple Pay launched in 2014 in the United States and is now available in over 40 countries around the world. To add a card to Apple Pay, open the Wallet app on an iPhone and tap the plus sign in the top-right corner. Your card issuer will verify your information.
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In Germany, the largest banking groups, co-operative banks/credit unions ("Volksbanken") and savings banks ("Sparkassen", owned mainly by municipalities) each did create their own digital payment solution (which was only available on Android because Apple blocks access to NFC by third-party payment solutions) but as in Switzerland caved in in 2020 and 2019, respectively, and also offered Apple Pay. The general pattern being the same, in that the largest bank was holding out the longest.
BTW, the Swiss solution, TWINT, does work both on Android and iPhones because it doesn't use NFC but custom Bluetooth beacons that need to be added to the payment portals. It got good coverage in Switzerland because it managed to strike deals with the two largest supermarket chains (which together have an almost 70% market share for the whole retail sector).
Germany and Switzerland might also have been at a disadvantage since the usage of cash in both countries has remained high, thus making it harder for local digital payment solutions to gain critical mass. But in the end, probably only a pan-European solution with at least most major countries joining forces could have created a viable competitor to Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Just to give you an example: users in Mexico and the rest of Hispanic America pay at least 15-20% more than US users for an iphone or apple watch due to taxes, exchange rates, etc. Yet those users don’t get a lot of features that US users do get use such as News, Apple Pay, Apple Cash, the Apple Card, ECG on the apple watch, Covid 19 exposure notifications, most of the features of Apple Maps and any other new feature or service that apple may announce when they launch new hardware. Then why are they still required to pay for apple products at full price and even a bit more due to taxes and exchange rates when they can’t use more than half their features?