Apple has invested a lot into its Apple Pay mobile payments solution since its launch last fall. Since launching in October, the payment method is already accepted at more than 700,000 retail locations, according to the company. Reuters today has published a new report in which Apple says that Apple Pay will be accepted by half of the top 100 merchants in the United States by the end of this year, with more planned in 2016. Currently, a fourth of the top 100 retailers support Apple Pay.
According to a retailer that Reuters contacted, Apple has been pushing its mobile payment service aggressively to retailers. The retailer, which remained anonymous and has no plans to accept Apple Pay, said this:
“They have been pushing hard and it’s been that way for months. They have called and tried to persuade us even after we communicated our decision to them.”
That same retailer has no plans to accept Apple Pay because not even a “small percentage” of its customers have requested it. Nevertheless, the research found that retailers accepting Apple Pay are generally happy with the service, and its customers are too…
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For instance, Whole Foods stated that its shoppers are enjoying the “speed, convenience, and security” of Apple Pay. Whole Foods also noted that 2 percent of its sales as of March were accounted for by Apple Pay.
Walmart, which has commented before on why it doesn’t accept Apple Pay, reiterated its previous stance. A senior executive for the company said that the biggest problem Walmart has with Apple Pay is the lack of data control. Companies don’t get the same level of information with Apple Pay as they do when a user swipes a credit card. Walmart, however, is a supporter of CurrentC, although recently we’ve seen other supporters of CurrentC, such as Best Buy, come out and announce Apple Pay support.
Another problem retailers have with Apple Pay is the cost of upgrading their already in-place terminals.
“What is the return on investment?” asked Maureen Elworthy, director of treasury at Ahold USA, which runs supermarket chains like Stop&Shop, during a panel discussing Apple Pay at an industry conference. “The [return] is negative,” she said.
She told Reuters that Ahold USA does not plan to accept any wallets because they see it as an investment cost without immediate returns.
Apple, of course, downplays the cost of accepting Apple Pay with one of its payment partners adding that “as long as the retailer is upgrading to the new payment terminals, which are enabled with contactless payment technology, there is very little additional cost to accept Apple Pay.”
Earlier this year, Tim Cook stated that Apple Pay accounted for $2 out of every $3 spent with contactless payment. Apple has previously stated that the launch of Apple Pay was “overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.”