Apple Pay grows its list of partners and adds new features

June 3, 2015

Apple Pay continues to partner with financial institutions and retailers, as well as introduce new features to the app. 

This week, Apple Pay added 12 more issuers to its list of participating financial institutions. The company will soon introduce a loyalty program as well. iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch users have much to look forward to in coming months. The service is accepted at over 700,000 retail locations and has inspired other technology companies to introduce their own mobile payment programs. However, it seems that Apple Pay continues to lead the pack and as the industry continues to expand, it will only get stronger.  

Apple Pay continues to partner with participating issuers in the US
MacRumors reported on the Apple announcement regarding the inclusion of 12 additional financial institutions, credit unions and banks to the list of participating issuers that currently work with its mobile payment program Apple Pay. With over 300 participating issuers across the country, and more expected to be added soon, Apple Pay is on its way to becoming ubiquitous in the U.S. Among the issuers that Apple partnered with are: Wood & Huston Bank, Staley Credit Union, Prestige Community Credit Union, HAPO Community Credit Union, Banner Bank and Centier Bank.

“Apple Pay is accepted at over 700,000 retail locations in the U.S.”

As of now, Apple Pay is only available in the U.S., but the mobile payment service is expected to be rolled out in other countries soon – starting with Canada, China and the U.K. With new regulation coming in effect in October, prompting U.S. retailers to upgrade their point of sale systems in order to accept EMV debit and credit cards, the NFC-based technology is likely to accelerate in its rapid expansion toward becoming the country’s preeminent mobile payment service. Canada is already well-prepared for the technology, as most of the country’s point of sale terminals are already NFC-compatible. 

The Apple Pay retail partner list is growing as well
Apple Pay is accepted at over 700,000 retail locations in the U.S., and new retailers continue to be added all the time. The mobile payment service is even accepted at popular hotel chains and at CocaCola vending machines. AppleInsider noted that on Tuesday, Home Depot officially announced it will support Apple Pay at more than 2,000 of its stores. Some retailers, notably those part of the Merchant Customer Exchange, have vowed not to accept the technology, but some original members of the exchange are now beginning to turn around.

The MCX is getting ready to introduce its own app  to the market – CurrentC – to be used at member locations such as Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid and The Gap. However, Best Buy, originally part of the consortium, recently deflected and agreed to start accepting Apple Pay transactions – a move that really speaks to the power of the service. Brian Day, a mobile payments expert with credit processor TMG explained that Apple Pay’s popularity has given life to the mobile payments sector as a whole, noted TheStreet. 

“Apple Pay created market demand for mobile payments,” said Day, according to the news source.

Jared Isaacman, CEO of Harbortouch, had similar comments and pointed out that Android Pay will likely benefit from Apple Pay’s media attention.

“Apple has already done a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of consumer and merchant education for Apple Pay, and Android Pay can now benefit from those efforts,” said Isaacman.

Apple Pay leads the pack in the mobile payments space. Apple Pay will offer customers a loyalty program.

A rewards program for Apple Pay is coming soon
TechTimes reported that, starting in June, Apple plans to reward Apple Pay members through a new loyalty program. At a developer conference this month, the company explained that Apple Pay is designed so that Apple Pay customers are encouraged to return to preferred merchants. The rewards program will be compatible with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch as well. Sucharita Mulpuru, Retail and payments analyst at Forrester Research, explained that Apple Pay might be able to take on a role similar to some of the biggest retail giants in the market with this latest move.

“They want to be as disruptive to payments as Amazon has been to retail,” said Mulpuru, according the new source. “By being early they can shape the customer experience and expectations.”

The media outlet also mentioned that researchers predict, in 2019, the mobile payment industry in the U.S. will be valued at $142 billion – nearly three times what it was in 2014. While cash, debit and credit cards are still the most accepted form of payment around the world, digital wallets are expected to gain traction with consumers. With financial institutions, retailers and government agencies endorsing the technology, its potential remains strong. A loyalty program will likely bolster what is already a pretty good thing. Ultimately, Apple Pay is here to stay.  

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