Despite widespread success in the United States, it looks as through Apple Pay is having a few troubles conquering the rest of the world.
According to Reuters, a combination of “technical challenges, low consumer take-up and resistance from banks” are responsible for Apple’s slow progress overseas. Apple Pay is used to make secure contactless payments by touching an iPhone or Apple Watch to a payment machine, but technical issues have meant machines in some countries – Australia in particular – have seen frequent failures.
The report suggests that although Apple Pay is relatively popular with “core Apple followers,” it has struggled to make much impact with the general public. In Britain, contactless payments with debit cards became mainstream long before the introduction of Apple Pay, and it’s likely most users don’t see flashing an iPhone at a cashier as a particular step up from flashing a card. Similarly, in Australia and Canada Apple is competing directly with pay services from banks.
Apple exec Jennifer Bailey defended the slow progress, saying that “like any set of major technology changes, it takes time.” In fairness, banking and payments are complicated fields and Apple has been taking its time carefully and gradually expanding the service. Deals with banks in different countries take a long time to settle, and rushing the job could lead to further issues. Expect Apple Pay to continue to be a slow burner.