Mobile payments aren’t exactly new, even if all previous attempts to kill the wallet have failed miserably. Now that Apple Pay is available to all iPhone 6/6S, 6/6S Plus, and iPhone SE users, however, mobile payments are heating up. Banks, stores, and companies are jumping on the bandwagon and eagerly pledging their support for Apple Pay.
It seems as if new partners are joining every day, so we’ve put together this handy list of all the major partners, which we’ll update as more are added. Here are all the brands and countries that support Apple Pay.
Apple Pay around the world
Initially, Apple Pay only worked in the United States, but Apple is interested in bringing the service to users in many countries.
On October 4, Apple Pay expanded its services to Russia, with Sberbank and MasterCard clients able to use the contactless payment option. This latest announcement brings the total number of Apple Pay-supported countries to 10.
At Apple’s September 7 event, the company announced that it was bringing Apple Pay to Japan. Of course, in Japan, they actually use a different technology to NFC, so along with the launch of Apple Pay in the country, Apple will also be selling the iPhone 7 with support for a technology called Felica — it’s very similar to Bluetooth, but the broader point is that the iPhone will now support Apple Pay in Japan.
In July and April, Apple added France, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively, to the list of countries that support Apple Pay. Australia, Canada, the U.K., and China have all joined the list of countries where Apple Pay is live. Spain should also get the service soon.
Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay, told TechCrunch in May that the company plans to bring mobile payments to many more countries in 2016. “We’re working rapidly in Asia and also in Europe, our goal is to have Apple Pay in every significant market Apple is in,” she said.
Apple products are available in a large number of countries around the world, and Apple has to prioritize which countries it will reach first. Bailey explained that Apple takes several factors into account when considering which countries might be ready for Apple Pay. The company evaluates credit and debit acrd penetration, the current infrastructure in place for mobile payments, and the popularity of iPhones in each country.
Whether or not Amex and Visa cards are accepted in each country is also part of the vetting process, because both credit card providers are partners with Apple Pay. Their presence in any given country speeds up Apple Pay adoption, Bailey explained. Indeed, that’s likely why so many countries kick off Apple Pay launches with limited support for Amex and Visa cards only.
In France, Apple Pay works with Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards from Carrefour Banque, Banque Populaire, Ticket Restaurant, and Caisse d’Epargne. Boon and Orange will soon support the service.
In Switzerland, Apple Pay works with credit cards issued by Bonus Card, Cornercard, and Swiss Bankers.
In Hong Kong, Apple Pay is compatible with Mastercard, Visa, and American Express accounts. Supported banks within the country include the Bank of China, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, The Bank of East Asia, Standard Chartered, and “soon” Tap & Go.
In Singapore, only American Express cards are supported at launch, but Apple says it’s working with Visa to get Singapore’s biggest banks onboard with credit and debit card support. The company expects to add DBS, UOB, and Standard Chartered to the mix in the coming months.
Although cracking the Chinese payments market is considered extremely tough, Apple Pay got a boost from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is the biggest lender in the country, Reuters reported. In total, Apple has 19 of China’s biggest banks on-board, and around 80 percent of Chinese credit and debit cards will work on the service from the get-go. The main disadvantage Apple faces in the country is the prevalence of other mobile payment services like Alibaba’s AliPay, WeChat, and UnionPay.
The first country to get Apple Pay other than the States was the U.K. You can read our full guide to Apple Pay in the U.K. here. The payment system also works in Canada and Australia, albeit in a limited capacity. In May 2016, Canada’s CIBC, RBC, ATB, and Canadian Tire credit and debit card companies announced support for Apple Pay. BMO, Scotiabank, and TD also said they’ll support the service soon.
Only Australians with American Express cards can use the service at present, but AmEx cards that have been co-branded with banks won’t work. The Sydney Morning Herald says there are 6.8 million AmEx cards out of 42 million credit cards in the country, which is pretty decent.
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The main challenge that Apple Pay faces in other countries is convincing banks and financial institutions to pony up the high transaction fees Apple wants from each purchase made with its mobile payment service. We’ll keep you updated as more countries support Apple Pay.