NEW YORK, N.Y. – Apple’s year-old mobile-payments service is expanding to more countries, banks and merchants, as it faces growing competition and some challenges before it becomes as commonplace as plastic cards.
Apple Pay is available in Canada starting Tuesday and in Australia on Thursday. Those are two countries where “tap” payments — tapping a phone or chip-embedded card to the store’s payment machine — are already more common than in the U.S. In those countries, however, Apple Pay is limited initially to American Express cards.
In the U.S., where Apple Pay started in October 2014, the service will expand Tuesday to more than 100 additional card issuers — mostly smaller banks and credit unions. Apple Pay already accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards from most major banks. In the U.K., Tesco and TSB banks will join Apple Pay on Tuesday.
The developments come a few months after Google launched its own tap-and-pay service, Android Pay, while Samsung started Samsung Pay. Both are for Android phones, while Apple Pay requires iPhones.
Why only American Express?
Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice-president for Apple Pay, said the company is starting with American Express in Canada and Australia because it’s both the card issuer and the payment-network operator, so co-ordination is easier. With Visa and MasterCard, individual banks issue the cards, and each bank has its own way of verifying a customer’s identity when setting up Apple Pay, for instance.
Meanwhile, Apple is working with makers of various payment machines to bring tapping capabilities to additional merchants, small and large. When Apple Pay launched, the U.S. had 200,000 tap-capable machines. That’s expected to surpass 1.5 million this year. The growth includes about 100,000 small to medium-sized merchants each month, Apple said.
Apple said Tuesday that Cinnabon will add Apple Pay to all its U.S. locations next year, while Domino’s company-owned pizza stores will get it by year’s end. Earlier, Apple said Starbucks will conduct a pilot this year, with a broader rollout next year, while KFC will launch next spring.
Despite the momentum, several million more U.S. retailers still have older machines that lack the right technology, a problem that some Canadian retailers may face as well.
Where to use Apple Pay in Canada right now
According to Apple, these stores currently have Apple Pay:
The Apple Store
Chapters and Indigo
Coming soon to…
Toronto Transit System