Apple reported better than expected earnings this afternoon, and one nugget shared on the call by CEO Tim Cook could be a good sign for the company's mobile payments service. Cook said that according to retailers, Apple Pay now represents 75% of all contactless payments made in the U.S.
Apple Pay was launched in 2014 as a way to let shoppers load their credit card and debit card information onto iPhones' “mobile wallets.” Customers can then use either their iPhone (or linked Apple Watch) to pay at retail stores equipped with point-of-sale registers supporting near-field communication (NFC) technology, which enables frictionless payments between smartphones and registers. People simply place their phones or watches near the point-of-sale register sensors for a payment to be made without swiping a card.
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Although Reuters recently reported that Apple Pay is struggling to drive usage outside the U.S., Cook said on the earnings call that half of transaction value from payments made through Apple Pay are coming from non-U.S. markets. Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S. the U.K., Switzerland, Canada, Australia, China, France, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Cook also said that Apple Pay user numbers are up 450% year-over-year. Apple hasn’t revealed exact volume or usage numbers, but it has said the service adds one million new users each week. Apple has also said in the past that transaction volume through Apple Pay is five times the amount from a year ago. But without a baseline usage number, it’s impossible know whether the current volume is significant.