Apple is about to increase the availability of Apple Pay, the company’s mobile payment system, with the announcement that it plans to expand it to Australia and Canada later this year – thanks to American Express.
“We believe it is critical to be on the forefront of seamless and innovative payment solutions for our Card Members and we are pleased to be able to deliver on that with Apple Pay,” Tony Prentice, the vice president of Mobile Products and Payments at American Express, said in a statement.
“Our customers love their experience with Apple Pay and we want to bring it to as many of our users worldwide as possible. With a global issuer like American Express, we are thrilled to seamlessly bring our easy, secure and private way to pay to more customers internationally,” Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay, said.
However, don’t get your hopes up just yet. Apple Pay will be initially available for American Express customers. Apple has not confirmed if the big four banks – Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ and Westpac – will be supporting Apple Pay. This might be due to the banks and Apple being unable to reach an agreement regarding how much Apple will get as a cut of their fees, according to the Australian Financial Review.
It should be noted that all four banks have provided contactless payments through Android smartphones via NFC. In addition, Commonwealth Bank has a “PayTag” so iPhone and other non-NFC smartphones can ‘tap and pay’ via their phone.
Having American Express as a partner might also be problematic for Apple Pay as not as many merchants accept their cards, compared to Visa and Mastercard. As noted by the Sydney Morning Herald, this is because their fees are – on average – twice the rate of Visa and Mastercard, at 1.7 percent per transaction.
Apple Pay has been available since October 2014 in the United States, and extended across the Atlantic in the UK in July. However, its success has been hotly debated. One research firm has stated that only 14 percent of US households with credit cards are users of Apple Pay; despite Apple saying they have seen “double-digit growth” in the number of transactions processed month after month.
Apple and American Express have also confirmed that they plan to roll out Apple Pay in Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong next year.