Skip to main content

Apple Pay at three: 20 markets covering 70% of payments, 4,000 issuers

Apple Pay is everywhere. At least where I live. It's so ubiquitous that, these days, I only notice when the terminal is broken or I end up at one of the very few places that don't take tap... or plastic. That's not to say it's perfect — a few gas pumps still crash on tap, and a few coffee shops always error the first time only to work perfectly the second. But, in the vast majority of cases where it does work, it's idyllic and one of the most dramatic daily examples that the future is increasingly now.

Jennifer Baily, Apple's VP of Apple Pay, help drive that point and more home during her appearance today at the Money 20/20 conference.

See more

That number includes Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launching in a few days.

What's more, in areas where it's available, 90% of all mobile contactless transactions are conducted using Apple Pay.

The U.S. may not have the tap-to-pay penetration of Canada or some places in Europe, but Apple Pay is now accepted at more than 50% of all retail locations there, including 67 of the top 100 retailers.

Baily announced that Albertsons Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the U.S., is rolling Apple Pay out to 2300 stores, including Safeway. Dick's Sporting goods is now live with Apple Pay in 675 stores. And Saks Fifth Avenue is in the process of deploying Apple Pay as well.

See more

Later this fall, person-to-person Apple Pay will also be coming to iPhone owners in the U.S. I've had the chance to try it at a demo earlier this month and it worked well. From my previous report:

You have to approve [person-to-person Apple Pay] first, so someone can't simply spam you with requests for cash and hope to trigger an automated response. (Sorry, colleagues who've tried!). Once it is approved, though, it works intelligently to detect potential triggers and offer itself when and as needed. For example, if one of my buddies messages me that my share of beverages is $42, iMessage could ask me if I want to send it to her right there, right then.Sending money is also a breeze. You simply tap it out in iMessage or tell Siri, Apple's intelligent voice assistant, who you want to send money to and how much. If and when you receive money, it goes into an "Apple Pay Cash" card stored in Wallet where you can quickly and easily buffer funds until you decide to make purchases or withdraw to a traditional account.

According to Baily, thousands of our Apple employees have been testing person-to-person as part of an internal beta already

Can't wait for that part to go global.

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

4 Comments
  • Retailers around here in Central Florida that take Apple Pay are still far and few between. At least many of the places that I frequent don't use AP.
  • We still have a way to go when it comes to mobile payments. Specifically, retailers will forego Apple Pay (and Android Pay, too) so they can forge ahead with their own payment system. So I can't use AP at CVS because they have their own payment system. I can't use AP at Target or Walmart for the same reason. Instead of one unified system, I have to give out my card info to multiple retailers, which makes me more vulnerable to a data breach. Of course, I could just use my card(s) the old-fashioned way, but then what's the point of mobile payments?
  • Just was at a Von's (upscale Safeway) on Saturday and they said they knew it was available on their contactless terminals, but they had no idea how to make it work. Sprouts down the road has had it for years.
  • If they have NFC (commonly called "tap" in Canada), they don't have to make it work. Just use your phone or your watch instead of the card. Should just work.