Apple is preparing to expand its new Apple Pay payments service internationally with at least the Canadian launch currently scheduled for early 2015, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources say partners are currently in negotiations with Apple regarding the launch scheduled to come sometime in the first half of this year. Apple and Canadian launch partners are in the process of planning advertising and other promotional material for March, which indicates that the launch could come as soon as then. Of course, these are still active discussions and it’s possible the talks could fail to result in a launch by March. Several sources, however, tell us Apple is currently targeting that timeframe.
Apple first launched the service in the U.S. in October and has added new banks and card issuers to its list of supported partners almost weekly. Last month the company said it now supports cards that make up around 90% of US credit cards by transaction volume, and it’s already announced plans to support over 500 banks in the US.
Hints at an international expansion for Apple Pay first came last month when Apple posted job listings seeking individuals to help roll out the service in Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia. Other reports pointed to expansion into the UK for the first half of this year. While US cards loaded into Apple Pay are confirmed to work abroad at supported NFC terminals, Apple has only officially launched the service in the US for both card issuers, banks and retailers accepting the payment service in stores and apps.
March also happens to be the timeframe currently scheduled for the launch of Apple Watch, Apple’s new wearable that is highly integrated with the payments service. Apple’s US webpage for the device says the Watch will launch early 2015, while other regions, including Canada, simply state “available in 2015.”
It’s possible Apple could launch the Watch in the U.S. in Q1 before rolling it out to other countries later in the year, but timing the Watch debut with the launch of Apple Pay abroad would certainly make a lot of sense.