Apple Pay Will Take Time to Gain Popularity Outside the U.S., Says Company


Have you been using Apple Pay? Now that Canada’s ‘Big 5’ banks have all jumped on board, there’s really no excuse to not try the mobile wallet, given our vast contactless point-of-sale infrastructure.

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A new report from Reuters suggests Apple Pay and its “quality of service” and “interest in it” varies in new launch markets such as Britain, China and Australia, based on “anecdotal evidence”.

For example in Australia, one mid-sized bank Bendigo said they were “experiencing some unforeseen technical issues in accepting Apple Pay payments at selected merchant terminals,” adding the lack participation from major banks has resulted in limited opportunities to test the new technology.

One unnamed large retailer in Australia said there was “very little uptake of the payment option.” So far, ANZ Bank stands as the only major bank to have adopted Apple Pay down under, alongside American Express.

A customer from Apple Pay-holdout Commonwealth Bank, said the mobile wallet is appealing but wouldn’t switch banks just to use the technology, saying “Not over that. There’s too much work involved just for tap-and-go.”

Apple Vice President Jennifer Bailey addressed the doubts over Apple Pay adoption, telling Reuters these experiences were “premature” and don’t reflect actual situations on the ground, adding “Like any set of major technology changes, it takes time,” noting “We want to move as quickly as possible, we push it as quickly as possible.”

Apple Pay needs to be experienced to fully understand how seamless and secure the mobile wallet is for contactless payments. Most of the time, doubters don’t understand the robust security features and just how easy it to use Apple Pay:

With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. When you make a purchase, the Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment. And unlike credit cards, on iPhone and iPad every payment requires Touch ID or a passcode, and Apple Watch must be unlocked — so only you can make payments from your device.

Beyond security, Apple Pay is private. Your transactions are never stored by Apple, while your name, card numbers and security codes are never revealed to merchants.

Previously, one research firm believed “Canada is attractive for Apple Pay” and could be a showcase example of the mobile wallet, despite being a smaller market, since we have a vast network of chip-and-pin and contactless terminals, compared to the United States. So far, Apple Pay adoption in Canada has been “quite strong” according to CIBC based on data from customers adding cards to the mobile wallet.


  • Anthony ?

    This doesn’t surprise me really. most non-techie sorts that I run into don’t know anything about Apple Pay, to the point that they’ve never even heard of it. These are people with the necessary devices, and who typically will use tap to pay, but they just don’t know about Apple Pay, probably because the banks haven’t really gone out of their way to let customers know it’s an option.

    Also, aside from the initial setup of the iPhone, most users will never see anything related to Apple Pay unless they specifically make an effort to set it up, so again, out of sight, out of mind.

    I deal with a lot of corporate iPhone users as part of my job, and I’d say maybe 1 in 25 has actually heard of Apple Pay. Most seem interested in using it once they hear about it, so it might just be one of those word of mouth things that takes some time to spread.

  • George K

    I agree that it will take time, we’ve only had it for a short time in Canada, and already I can’t be bothered with it anymore. If I’m in somewhere new and I don’t know whether they accept tap or not, I have my card ready. If they don’t accept tap, no big deal, I’ve got my card out ready to insert. If they do accept tap, well I’be already got my card out, I’m not going to put it back just to use my phone.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a neat technology trick, but it will take a long time before it becomes a commonplace practise rather than a just a way to show off the tech.

  • Dave B

    I agree, other than us fanboys & girls who’ve been actively waiting for it, people don’t really know what Apple Pay is or that it exists, but like the idea once explained.
    I think Apple needs to step up and market it a bit more publicly, like with some TV ads.