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Lack of customer data keeping some merchants from supporting Apple Pay

Despite the progress that they have made with Apple Pay since it launched last October, Apple is still taking an aggressive approach in their attempts to get retailers on board. The company has apparently lined up about half of the top 100 U.S. retailers to use the system in 2015.

However, many retailers are apparently still choosing to hold off on using Apple Pay, with the primary sticking points being lack of customer interest and limited access to customer data, according to Reuters:

For 28 of the retailers surveyed by Reuters, lack of access to data about customers and their buying habits is a key reason they don't accept Apple Pay. "One of the biggest concerns is data control," said Mario De Armas, senior director, international payments at the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Several merchants are putting their hopes on CurrentC, a payment system that offers more data to retailers while cutting out the credit card fees they would have to pay. Several merchants will not be participating in Apple Pay simply due to the contract with MCX, the company behind CurrentC, which prevents them from accepting other mobile wallet solutions.

Despite roadblocks, Apple Pay is gaining traction. In March, Apple announced that over 700,000 locations were accepting Apple Pay, and major retailers like Best Buy announcing support for the system.

Source: Reuters

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

23 Comments
  • Lack of customer data??? They know what I just bought, and they know I just paid for it. That should be enough data for them.
  • You are wrong and that’s the point. The merchant DOES NOT know what YOU just bought if you use Apple pay. They don’t know your name, your address, your credit card number. Same goes if you use cash. You are anonymous to them. They don’t know anything about you the individual and that means they can’t target you for advertising and they don’t like that at all.
  • The point is that they know what he/she purchased, just can't place a name (or any other data about the buyer) with the transaction. Some retailers want more but I and pretty much anyone paying attention is not interested in providing that. Sent from the iMore App
  • How have you done all of your shopping previously? You've paid cash for everything?
  • I find the whole article suspect since the main retailer quoted is Walmart. Walmart just happens to be trying to get there own payment system off the ground called CurrentC. Sent from the iMore App
  • Oh joy! I want to give even more of my personal data to retailers.
    - Said by no one.
  • I'll never use CurrentC. I only trust Apple Pay Sent from the iMore App
  • haha
  • I'll never use currentC because I don't need something tied directly to my bank account. I prefer a buffer, and rewards. I don't even use a visa check card. Everything I purchase is either by credit card (for the rewards), or by cash. I then send a payment to my CC company for the full statement amount each month. I never pay interest and end up saving money thanks to various rewards on different cards. Some people will probably say that credit cards make things more expensive at retailers because of the fees. To a certain extent they might be right, but so does the cost of minimum wage, so does providing benefits, and I don't see store dropping prices just because credit cards fees are gone. Sent from the iMore App
  • I have been seeing more stores starting to use it. GO APPLE PAY!!!!!!!!
  • We will find out pretty soon now if people really are concerned about their privacy and personal data. If these secure payment systems coming like Pay out don’t catch on then we know the general public is just paying lip service to privacy and they don’t care who has their data
  • What information do you have that leads you to this conclusion?
  • He is probably talking about the new credit cards that create one use tokens for their purchases, Samsung pay, Google pay, and whatever else is coming out. None of these things protect your security though. Information is still gathered by someone, just not the retailer. Why do you think so many retailers use a rewards card? It is so that they can data mine, even if you pay by cash. Sent from the iMore App
  • I would be happy if Apple provided consolidated and anonymized user data to merchants that use ApplePay. I get the feeling that it would not satisfy merchants though. They want a creepy amount of detail about individual users. As an app developer, it would be great if Apple could tell me the percentage of my paying or non-paying customers are airline pilots for example but I don't need to know their names and addresses.
  • How much data would they get if I walked in and paid cash? I don't hear them rejecting greenbacks...
  • Greenbacks don't cost retailers in terms of fees, credit cards and most anything associated with them do. If they have to pay a fee, they want a means in which to recuperate it. That means is your and my data.
  • Accepting credit cards is a cost of doing business - they couldn't go away from it even if they wanted to; consumers would abandon them if they tried. Retailers have shown time after time they cannot be trusted to safeguard consumer financial data, thus the enthusiasm for abstracted financial payment systems such as Apple Pay.
  • I'm not defending retailers gathering information, only stating why they do, and more importantly, why you don't hear them complaining when someone uses cash.
  • They can still collect data via an opt in system called a rewards card. I know of at least one grocery store chain that has two prices for every item: a regular price and a price with membership card. I know of a few gas stations that have a cash discount, but three or so gas stations is probably close to 1% or less. Those gas stations and vending machines that take cards are the only entities I have seen give a discount for cash.... well, other than a few repairmen that will work for less if it is cash, but they are doing it to tax dodge. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yeah but now Apple knows how much lotion I buy, wait nvm
  • I guess I don't really get what the retailers are complaining about honestly. Most of these stores have loyalty cards. If I go into a Walgreens the card which is stored in my Passbook automatically pops up. Even if I use Apple Pay to complete the transaction, they have a full record of it. The only thing that changes is using that loyalty card is a decision that i made in exchange for the benefits it provides versus the retailer just taking that information because they happen to have my credit card number. It's a canard anyways. Even if a retailer doesn't get on the NFC bandwagon, they have no choice on chip and pin and they won't have the ability to get personally identifiable info or card numbers with it either. To me in the end, I don't care which solution they ultimately use as long as they use either chip and pin or NFC. I'm more interested in not getting 2-3 letters a year and a complimentary subscription to a credit monitoring service because yet another retailer screwed up though I will say I look forward to a day when the only card I need is a backup and not the file folder of bank and loyalty cards I need to carry now. Sent from the iMore App
  • "Limited access to customer data"... And that's a bad thing?? More secure the better.... I wish BlackBerry had more of a % percent of users and company's supported that platform (still don't understand why not) so when I buy with my phone it's secure and not on Apple land or Droid free space. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I have started my own business with the help of merchant cash USA which I borrowed from one the company. It is the best way to give a start up and in return you have to give the interest rate.
    https://merchcash.com/