Apple Pay is Apple’s contactless payment service, and it’s available to the all recent iPhones starting with the iPhone 6S. The service, like Android Pay, requires stores to have NFC terminals at checkout so that you can simply tap your phone to make a payment.
While Apple was hardly the first with contactless payments, the company’s solution has banks, stores, and companies jumping on the bandwagon and pledging their support for Apple Pay. The payment service also offers reward programs as well as loyalty cards with a number of participating stores and restaurants.
Apple Pay is only growing. This year, it’s expected that the service will reach a mind-blowing 10 billion transactions. Not only that, but it’s gaining momentum around the world — in the U.S., the service is expected to be available in 70 percent of retail locations in the U.S. It’s available in more locations in Europe, and in Australia, adoption has hit 99 percent.
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 is going beyond simply allowing you to use your existing cards in Apple Pay — the company has announced a card of its own. The card is aptly named Apple Card, and is a credit card serviced by Goldman Sachs and using the MasterCard network. The idea is that you use the card through Apple Pay, and you can see things like your credit limits, interest rates, and more, all through the Apple Wallet app. In case you run into a location that doesn’t support Apple Pay, there’s also a physical card that you can use. Apple Card also uses machine learning to match transaction names to real locations — meaning you should be able to quickly and easily see where you’re spending your money at a glance.
Since launch, Apple has inked deals with dozens of banks and providers. At launch, Apple Pay supported Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Apple also boasts support for thousands of banks and credit unions in the U.S. Users can even send money transfers from Apple Pay at Western Union locations. Discover users in particular recently got some pretty handy features. Namely, Discover card users with Apple Pay who have the Discover Mobile app can apply their rewards balance to purchases over $1. It’s easy to do so — just hit “Tap for details” under the Discover redemption message in Apple Wallet, then tap to redeem the bonus. One caveat to note is that if you’re on T-Mobile, you have to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. Non-traditional cards work with Apple Pay too. For example, users can use Square virtual payment cards with Apple Pay.
Apple has been working on adding support for banks outside of the U.S., too. Banks and credit unions in China, Russia, Australia, Switzerland, the U.K., Taiwan, and so on also have support.
In February 2015 at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Pay will support government employees’ credit cards, federal benefit cards for veterans, and social security benefit cards. According to Bloomberg, the government’s deal with Apple Pay includes the Direct Express payment network and government cards from GSA SmartPay.
“We can imagine a day the not-so-distant future when your wallet becomes a remnant of the past.”
At the summit, Cook also hinted that Apple Pay will replace every card in your wallet one day — even drivers’ licenses.
“We can imagine a day the not-so-distant future when your wallet becomes a remnant of the past,” he said. “Your passport, your driver’s license, and other important documents can be digitally stored in a way that’s safe, secure, and easy to access.”
Initially, Apple Pay only worked in the United States, but Apple is interested in bringing the service to users in many countries. Apple has to prioritize which countries it will reach first, as the company has to take several factors into account. Apple evaluates credit and debit card 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. Indeed, that’s likely why so many countries kick off Apple Pay launches with limited support for Amex and Visa cards only.
So which countries support Apple Pay? Well, dozens. Most of Europe supports the standard, including most of the U.K. There’s also support in Australia and New Zealand, as well as countries in Asia like China, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand. Other countries include Canada, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Check out a full list of countries that support Apple Pay here.
When Apple Pay launched in September 2014, only 220,000 locations were supported. Since then, however, that number has grown month after month, despite growing competition from other mobile payment platforms. Earlier this year, it was announced that Apple Pay was supported at 65 percent of U.S. retail locations, thanks to deals Apple has made with hundreds of retailers around the country. It’s expected that this number will only grow in the future. By the end of the year, Apple is expecting that Apple Pay will be supported in over 70 percent of retail locations.
Apple Pay support is growing for public transportation too. The New York metro system, including the MTA eTix app, is getting Apple Pay support and by the end of the year, full support is expected for public transportation systems in New York, Chicago, and Portland.
In other countries, acceptance is even higher. In Australia, for example, Apple Pay acceptance has hit a hefty 99 percent, meaning you can likely get away with leaving your wallet at home.
You can use Apple Pay with the Apple Watch and select apps, too
Seeing as the Apple Watch has NFC technology built-in, it too can tap to pay. With the Apple Watch, you don’t have to physically tap it against the terminal, you just need to get close enough for it to register. A tap of the side button will bring up your credit card, and then you’re good to go.
Online shoppers will also be pleased to note that Apple Pay works with several apps, and more will be added shortly. The Apple Store, Target, Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Groupon, Instacart, OpenTable, Panera Bread, Sephora, Spring, Starbucks, Tickets.com, and other apps all work with the new system.
Apple Pay rewards for loyal customers
Customers can receive rewards through Apply Pay at retail locations and restaurants they frequent often. Punchh — a cloud-based technology platform meant to attract a loyal customer base at restaurants through personalized offers — will be participating in Apple Pay starting later this year according to an announcement.
Brands like Smashburger, MOD Pizza, and Quiznos will give customers the option to add a loyalty card to their iOS wallet app during transactions to rack up points for special offers and giveaways.
JCPenney has been added to the list of retail stores accepting Apple Pay within its U.S. locations. This includes support for the store-branded credit cards and rewards points through its loyalty program. Customers will also soon be able to make purchases through Apple Pay using the JCPenney app. Kohl’s was the first retail company to offer reward points on Apple Pay with the addition of Dunkin Donuts and Panera. Wegman’s and Whole Foods are set to do the same in the near future.
Updated on March 25, 2019: Fully revised article and added news about Apple Card and location support in the U.S. and around the world.
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