500 banks sign up for Apple’s new mobile wallet service
Apple says that over 500 financial institutions have signed up to its new payment service.
When Apple launched its new mobile wallet service last month, it would have been easy to lose sight of it in the furore over the tech giant’s long-awaited smartwatch. But it’s a major innovation in its own right that will finally introduce near-field communication (NFC) payment technology to iPhones and iPads, as they have existed in some Android models for some time.
The world of finance clearly agrees, since Apple says that its new mobile payments service has already seen more than 500 separate banks and financial institutions sign up.
Apple Pay – The new mobile wallet function, which is expected to become available today (20 October), allows consumers to load details of their different credit and debit cards onto their mobile device and then use it to pay for purchases both in person and online.
All they have to do is either tap the merchant app that they have already loaded onto their phone to process an online payment, or they can tap the phone against a card machine to pay at the till in store.
MasterCard, Visa and American express were already involved by the time of the announcement, as were many of the biggest US banks. MasterCard is still working on signing up more institutions. But many smaller banks and lenders were apparently caught by surprise, and a substantial number have since rushed to catch up with the trend.
That said, getting the banks involved is one half of the problem. Merchant adoption is the other, and that’s where the system is currently a little less popular.
Big brands from McDonald’s and Macy’s to Texaco have all said they plan to accept Apple Pay, but the number of merchants signing up remains lower than it is for other forms of payment – even considering the popularity of contactless payments in general.
Whether it will encourage more mobile users to make purchases using their smartphones, or whether it will make Apple devices even more attractive to its loyal fans, remains to be seen. However, it looks as though Apple Pay is definitely heading in the right direction.
< Top image: Apple >