Apple Pay now accounts for more than two-thirds of Visa, MasterCard and American Express contactless payments by value across the US, Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed during a first quarter earnings call.
Some 750 card issuers have now signed up for the NFC payments service, he told analysts, more than 200,000 vending machines are being added to the acceptance network and 2015 is set to be the “year of Apple Pay”.
As Cook revealed Apple made the largest ever quarterly profit by a public company of US$18bn, he said Apple Pay was “off to a very strong start and the feedback that we are getting from both individuals and institutions is extremely positive”.
“Today, about 750 banks and credit unions have signed on to bring Apple Pay to their customers and, in just three months after launch, Apple Pay makes up more than $2 out of $3 spent on purchases using contactless payment across the three major US card networks,” he said.
“In merchants who already accept Apple Pay, the rates are even higher. Panera Bread tells us Apple Pay represents nearly 80% of their mobile payment transactions and, since the launch of Apple Pay, Whole Foods Market has seen mobile payments increase by more than 400%. More merchants are excited to bring Apple Pay to their customers and adoption is strong.
“Just today, USA Technologies announced they made Apple Pay available at about 200,000 places where everyday payments happen, including vending machines and businesses, airports and schools, colleges, universities, laundromats, and parking meters and payment kiosks in lots across the country.
“Point-of-sale suppliers tell us they are seeing unprecedented demand from merchants, and all of our partners and customers simply love this new service. With all this momentum in the early days, we are more convinced than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.”
“In terms of how it evolves, I think we’re in the first inning on it, we haven’t even completed the first inning yet,” Cook continued. “There’s tons of things on our roadmap of adding functionality to it. We’re just in the US right now and so there’s tons of countries to go to and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t get notes from many businesses outside the US wanting Apple Pay.
“And, of course, we still have a lot of merchants left in the US but I have to tell you that, given that we launched in October, I’m actually unbelievably shocked, positively shocked, at how many merchants were able to implement Apple Pay in the heart of their holiday season.
“Generally, most people sort of lock down and don’t do very much but we were able to get this in a lot of different merchants and I give them a lot of credit for that. I think we’re just on the front end, but I think this is the year of Apple Pay.”
Sales of the iPhone 6 Plus appeared to help boost profits and increase the iPhone’s gross profit margin, although Cook did not give a detailed breakdown of the 74.5m iPhone sales recorded during the three months to the end of December 2014.
Development of the Apple Watch meanwhile was “right on schedule and we expect to begin shipping in April,” Cook added. “Developers are hard at work on apps, notifications and information summaries that we call Glances, all designed specifically for the watch’s user interface.
“The creativity and software innovation going on around Apple Watch is incredibly exciting and we can’t wait for our customers to experience them when Apple Watch becomes available.”