Why Apple Didn’t Try to Disrupt Credit Cards With Apple Pay
When Apple introduced Apple Pay in 2014, it was working with credit card providers—not trying to replace them.
“When we thought about Apple Pay, we thought, there are a lot of payments out there that our customers already love and trust,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple VP of internet services and Apple Pay, said Tuesday morning during Fortune‘s Brainstorm Reinvent conference in Chicago. “We don’t sit around and think about, ‘what industry should we disrupt?’—we think about, ‘what great customer experiences can we develop?'”
Plus, getting a bank charter would have put Apple in regulatory territory—and “we don’t want to be regulated,” Bailey said.
Bailey heads Apple Pay at the tech giant and is the one for responsible for the product’s explosive growth over the past four years. She joined Fortune‘s Adam Lashinksy onstage in Chicago.
Apple expects that Apple Pay will be in 60% of U.S. retail locations by the end of the year, Bailey said. The Apple Wallet is now in 24 countries, with even faster growth outside the United States. Owners of iPhones can enter public transit with the Apple Wallet in 12 cities worldwide, including Tokyo, Beijing, and Shanghai via closed loop technology and London and Moscow via open loop technology. Transit adoption has reached particularly high penetration in Tokyo, Bailey said.
Besides transportation, the Apple Wallet is being used for customer loyalty programs and could soon be used for corporate access and hotel key cards. Apple’s own campus lets its employees gain access via their Apple Wallet. And next week, Apple is set to roll out student ID cards on the Apple Wallet for Duke University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Alabama. That feature will combine access and payments, allowing students to use their Apple Wallet ID card to enter their dorms and pay for laundry.
“It’s a tremendous new area for us to focus on, which is really access,” Bailey said.
Restaurants and gas stations are two categories that are lagging behind on the contactless revolution, in part because of how expensive it is for gas stations to update their pumps. Restaurants don’t have that exact problem, and some chains like Chili’s and Olive Garden are catching up.
The United States, really, is the furthest behind on payments technology as a whole—not just Apple Pay. Its size and its lack of regulation in this area compared to other countries made the transition to more secure chip, or EMV, credit cards a delayed one and is also affecting contactless payment adoption.
Apple makes money off of its payments transactions, Bailey confirmed with a “perhaps,” but its other additions to the Apple Wallet are about keeping Apple customers hooked on their Apple devices.
“It’s all actually about making people love their iPhones,” Bailey said.