Apple Pay Adoption Disappointing, Says Gene Munster


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When Apple introduced its mobile payments service in 2014, former Piper Jaffray analyst and now managing partner at Loup Ventures, Gene Munster, expected the company to process $207 billion in transactions by 2016. That compares to his estimate for last year, according to which Apple Pay last year handled $36 billion in transactions, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Apple doesn’t publish Apple Pay figures, so without a single piece of reference data it’s easy to make assumptions, but even Apple agrees that adoption of its mobile payments services has been lower than expected.

Ultimately, there are various factors that contribute to that, with merchant adoption one of them. We know that in the US, for example, the number of contactless point-of-sale terminals is still low compared to Canada and some other markets.

But Apple exec Eddy Cue doesn’t seem to be worried about the results Apple Pay is showing. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, he said that the service has been adopted faster than the payments systems, and that he believes it will eventually replace cash debit and credit cards.

“Does it matter if we get there in two years, three years [or] five years?” Mr. Cue said in an interview. “Ultimately, no.”

Apple says more than 3,500 banks have so far signed up for Apple Pay, but let’s not forget that the majority of these banks are US-based. And now that Apple is re-negotiating the extension of three-year agreements with banks this year, growth will be a key “feature” of the talks, according to James Wester, a research director at IDC Financial Insights.


  • bbousquet

    This should read: NFC payments adoption disappointing in the US (while the rest of the world embraces them). How ironic that an American can use ApplePay in Canada, Australia, France, the UK, etc. more than he/she can at home…

  • Many99

    There are still idiots like Champs in (dufferin mall) who have NFC terminals but has the NFC turned off

  • poopchute

    The only major store I can find in Canada that doesn’t use Apple Pay is Walmart.
    Everywhere else, I use my watch to pay.

  • Jay

    Wish apple pay would work at gas pumps… its basically the only place I still use a card

  • Mario Gaucher

    I’m probably using Apple Pay nearly every day since the availability with my banks (RBC and Desjardins).
    But a lot of stores just have just recently switched on the NFC terminals or have made them compatible with Apple Pay. Also, in my area, only Costco has gas pumps compatible with Apple Pay.

    Even if this has been available for at least a year now, I’m still getting some weird reactions from employees when using my watch to pay.

  • Joe

    I use Apple Pay quite a bit, but there are a lot of places in Canada that still don’t work with tap cards. The $100 transaction limit also gets in the way sometimes. That’s probably a factor as to why Apple Pay isn’t processing as much as analysts thought they would.

  • Chris

    I must say that I love Apple Pay. I have been using it for about 95% of my purchases since upgrading to a iPhone 7 Plus 2 months ago. About the only place I can’t use it is Walmart sadly.

  • Jesse

    Yeah Walmart and Home depot are the only ones that I run into that do not have NFC.

  • johnnygoodface

    The thing about NFC payment in Canada is that it’s available since ages. So for a lot of Canadians, it’s still easier (physically) or cheaper to keep using their Pay Pass cards. Why bother using Apple Pay, unless you’re aware that it’s much safer with Apple Pay then using a card. Note: I use Apple Pay all the time and I love it 🙂

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Agreed. Some merchants even set the limit at $50. Apple still needs to improve security to prove that it is really me making the purchase to satisfy the insurance companies covering the merchants from identity theft charges.

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Some restaurants turn off NFC because they cannot figure out how to add tipping to the transaction. It can be done. One restaurant owner said it was because the banks charge more for Tap-and-Pay. I complained to the bank and they said it was not true. I am convinced it is for lack of understanding on how to get tipping to work properly.

  • bbousquet

    If I didn’t own an Apple Watch I’m not sure I’d use ApplePay as much. Pulling out a credit card or dabbling with my phone is pretty much the same (I’m aware of ApplePay’s added security but I’ve never ever had credit card issues, ever).

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  • erth

    i would suggest removing the $100 limit. this would make their numbers pop…

  • Dehop

    I believe that’s a limit linked to the credit card issuer though. It makes sense for an NFC card with zero authentication, it’s just too bad the system can’t recognize when a tap is backed up by a more robust security/authentication scheme.

  • Sam

    Looking at the two usage scenarios below, Apple pay seems way more convenient to me. And if you remove the optional step ONE, Apple Pay is just plan fast! And of course, there is the safely factor and the possibility of setting up confirmation of transaction via sms or bank app notification.

    Credit Card:

    1. Pull out wallet (or pull out the card from pocket – most people do not carry credit card lose in their pocket)
    2. Open wallet
    3. Locate card and pull it out
    4. Tap OR swipe credit card to terminal
    5. Wait for approval (~ 5 secs??)
    6. Put credit card back in wallet (or not)

    Apple Pay

    1. Pull out phone
    2. Hold phone above terminal and tap home button
    3. Wait for approval (~ 0.5 secs??)

  • Mario Gaucher

    it’s a combination of both.
    The Costco Capital One Master card has a tap limit of $200 when used at Costco… while all other card are at $100 (I’ve tried to use my RBC Master with tap for a $102 purchase and it didn’t work).
    I’ve also seen some places limit tap payment to an amount much lower than $100. Also the Costco Mastercard can sometimes be used for up to $200 elsewhere… but most of the time, it’s blocked to $100.

  • Mario Gaucher

    Apple Watch is a little bit faster…
    Double click on side button
    hold watch above terminal
    wait for approval.

    I’m using this daily to pay everywhere.
    Even when I want to buy a drink or small snack… most vending machine that are accepting credit card have been updated to accept Apple Pay now. This is very useful at the gym where I don’t have my wallet/money or my phone with me…. my watch is always on my wrist.

  • Brian W Pietrzyk

    I try to use it as much as I can but the finger print reader on my iphone 6 is so temperamental its just easier to pull out my credit card and tap that instead. I find if there are any smudges on the sensor its especially difficult to get it to register when using apple pay. I clean the sensor every morning but its still not enough. Most of the time I have to enter my code even to unlock it. I tried carrying around a microfibre cloth to wipe the sensor but that just got to be too much of a hassle. Not sure if its just my phone or the limits of the iphone 6 sensor. The $100 tap limit is a barrier as well.

  • NOHoldsBar

    You guys certainly don’t represent the majority. Most major retailers accept Apple Pay? No way. Loblaws, Safeway, Overwaitea, Walmart, McDonald’s,Costco, has stations and more certainly don’t accept Apple Pay.

  • erth

    costco allows $200 tap. i would think that standard would be better.

  • Mario Gaucher

    Loblaws, McDonalds’s and Costco all accept tap to pay and Apple Pay here (I’m in Quebec).
    Walmart has its own electronic payment solution… this is probably why they don’t have the tap to pay available.
    We don’t have Safeway or Overwaitea here…
    That said, last Christmas when I went to New York, I’ve exclusively used Apple Pay with my watch to pay everywhere for all my purchases below $100. It worked well absolutely everywhere.

  • Mike Hunter

    I tried to use my Apple Pay with Canadian credit cards in the US this past winter. he ONLY store where I was successful was Walgreens. The US credit card system remains a complete mess, with Chip and PIN still not common.

  • Sam

    Nice! Don’t the you need wifi (internet connection to us apple pay via apple watch?

  • Mario Gaucher

    wifi or mobile data is not needed to use Apple Pay on your iPhone and also on the Watch.

  • Sam

    Ah, learned something new today. thks 🙂

  • Sam

    I use apple pay at the counter to pay for my gas so I can use apple pay.
    One gas station personnel told me the boss do not allow apple pay because AP is less secure and they are losing money from fraud. I kindly asked the employee to inform the owner that they lost a customer!

  • Mario Gaucher

    Apple Pay less secure than what?
    Less secure than tap pay directly with the credit card? Hahahah funny guy!!

  • Seb

    The major drawback is the $100 limit. But another major problem is that a lot of merchants want to know if you’re paying debit or credit. When you pull out a card, the choice is obvious, a little less with a phone. And last but not least, there are a lot of machines that don’t accept tap. So, if you’re not a regular at a given store, you basically have to pull out your phone, tell the merchant it’s on credit, and then learn that the machine is not tap and take your credit card out. Grr!

  • MichaelYYZ

    The problem that I have with Apple Pay is the $50 (sometimes $100) limit that merchants implement. Apple Pay is secure via fingerprint or password, unlike tapping a card, so these limits should not apply. Most of my purchases are in excess of $50 so, although I love Apple Pay, regretfully I have to stick to the plastic cards.

  • Z S

    Same here. Even a lot of dine-in restaurants, such as Boston Pizza, now accept tap. Very rarely do I ever take out my wallet.

  • Z S

    From what I’ve seen it’s $100 for debit and $200 for credit.

  • Z S

    You’re not wrong. A lot of people, especially older generations, will continue to just use their card. I still see people using chip on their tap-capable cards for small transactions.

    But Apple Pay is great for those times when you just need to run to the store and forget your wallet. Or you don’t want to dig into a purse to find your cards. A lot of people have their phone more accessible than their wallet. My sister-in-law swears by Apple Pay now.

  • Z S

    Nope, you do not need any internet connection in order to use Apple Pay, because the DAN (Device Account Number) is stored on your phone/watch’s secure element. At that point, it’s no different that your normal card. It’s just transmitting that info to the terminal. The terminal then contacts the bank and returns with an approved/declined message.

    You don’t even need your phone if you’re using your Apple Watch. I left my phone in the car once, went out of range, and had no trouble making a purchase with my Watch. Again, it’s only transmitting the DAN.

    Now, the message you get on your iPhone afterwards ($XX.XX spent at [Store]) — that requires an internet connection. That’s a push notification from your bank.


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