Shoppers can use Apple's mobile-payment service, Apple Pay, at more than 2 million retail stores, highlighting its growing acceptance by merchants as an alternative to cash and credit card swiping.
Apple, which released the new adoption numbers on Thursday, also said that Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A, and Au Bon Pain would soon accept the mobile payments service.
Introduced in 2014, Apple Pay lets users upload credit and debit card information to a “mobile wallet.” Customers can then use their iPhone or Apple Watch to pay at retail stores that have point-of-sale registers equipped with near field communication technology, known as NFC. People can also use their Apple Pay accounts to pay for items within apps if the app developer has integrated the service. The service is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia, and is expected to expand to China this year.
Starbucks also recently announced it will begin accepting Apple Pay, in addition to Best Buy, Rite Aid, Dunkin’ Donuts and Kohl’s. And Target accepts Apple Pay within its mobile app.
Apple used the latest update about Apple Pay to relay that it is growing faster than expected. CEO Tim Cook had set a goal of the service being accepted by 1.5 million U.S. stores by the end of 2015.
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Apple said that shoppers are increasingly using Apple Pay when paying for purchases made through mobile apps. Bloomberg reported that Apple Pay's in-app purchase volume more than doubled in the last six months of 2015, compared to the first six months of the year.
Apple hasn’t released any concrete information about the number of people who have used Apple Pay. It's therefore tough to know whether customer adoption is gaining traction.
A recent survey from Auriemma Consulting Group showed that 42% of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners have used Apple Pay and that 70% of Apple Pay users are more likely to choose a store that accepts Apple Pay.
But mobile payments are also a competitive market. Google recently launched a rival payments service called Android Pay, and Samsung debuted its mobile payments service, Samsung Pay in 2015.