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Apple, Google and others look to goose mobile payments

Matt Hamblen | June 8, 2015
Apple's expected to add a user rewards element to Apple Pay at WWDC, which begins Monday.

Apparently aware of the need to bring in more merchants, Apple has reportedly been aggressive in signing up the 100 biggest U.S. retailers this year. A spokesman for Apple, according to a Reuters report, said that about half of the top 100 will accept Apple Pay by the end of 2015, with many more in 2016.

However, Reuters surveyed the top 100 merchants and found fewer than 25% currently accept Apple Pay, while nearly 66% said they won't be accepting Apple Pay this year. Four of the 100 said they have plans to join next year. The top reasons retailers cited for not accepting Apple Pay were insufficient customer demand, lack of access to personal data about buying habits generated by Apple Pay transactions and the cost of the technology.

Some in the Reuters survey said they belong to the MCX coalition of big retailers, which includes WalMart and 18 others in the top 100. They support an alternative new payment system called CurrentC coming later this year.

Moorhead believes that Apple's projection of getting half of the 100 top retailers to accept Apple Pay by year's end is spot on. Some retailers might be reluctant to say they are moving ahead in a survey format because they could be bound by nondisclosure agreements, he explained.

"Granted, there's going to be no sudden 'on' switch to mobile payments, but as more and more people use it and as wearables get more pervasive, it will come," Moorhead said. "It's going to be like the difference between going to the bank to get money versus using an ATM."


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