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Apple Pay is the most popular mobile payment system in the U.S.

Why it matters to you

While there are plenty of players in the mobile payments game, it looks as though Apple Pay is surging ahead of the competition.

If you’re making a digital payment, chances are you’re doing so by way of Apple Pay. Despite a highly competitive landscape, it looks as though the iEmpire reigns supreme when it comes to adoption in the U.S. According to new research from Boston Retail Partners (BRP), Apple Pay boasts the largest percentage of supporting U.S. merchants. As of today, 36 percent of sellers accept the mobile payment service, an increase of 20 points from last year.

This proportion is expected to grow, as 22 percent of retailers say they have plans to accept Apple Pay within the next year, while another 11 percent will aim to do so within the next one to three years.

Also popular is PayPal, which enjoys a 34-percent acceptance rate in the U.S. Coming in a surprising third-place finish (given how little we tend to hear about it), is Mastercard PayPass, which is accepted by a quarter of merchants. Android Pay certainly has its work cut out in terms of catching up to Apple Pay, with 24-percent acceptance, whereas the slightly newer Samsung Pay has 18-percent acceptance.

These percentages, however, are also expected to grow, as 18 percent of surveyed retailers had plans to add Android Pay within the next 12 months, with 11 percent planning to accept Samsung Pay in the same time period.

“There are a multitude of mobile wallets and payment apps on the market today, and the arena keeps changing,” BRP said of its research. “In the past year, we have seen the demise of the merchant-backed CurrentC and rise of Walmart Pay. PayPal has been bumped out of its top spot in this year’s survey, with Apple Pay now being accepted at 36 percent of the retailers participating in the survey.”

And as the arena changes, so too are retailers’ plans. Only 11 percent say they are steadfastly refusing to accept mobile payments within their stores, whereas nearly a quarter of respondents say that they’ve already added the technology and that it is “working well.”

“One of the critical factors for any mobile payment success going forward is education. We have found repeatedly that not only are consumers unsure of how and when mobile payments can be used but, even more telling, associates are unsure,” BRP added. “For mobile payments or mobile wallets to succeed, there must be further education at the point of sale to ensure that a transaction using a mobile device is not longer or more complicated than traditional payments methods for either the customer or associate.”