BOSTON – Recent Boston Retail Partners research reveals that Apple Pay is now accepted by 36% of U.S. merchants, up from 16% in 2016.
The group found that 22% of retailers who don’t currently support Apple Pay said they plan to accept the payments service within the next 12 months, while 11% plan to do so in the next one to three years. Thirty-one percent plan to take a “wait and see” approach before implementing Apple Pay support.
PayPal was the next most widely accepted payments service at 34%, while MasterCard’s PayPass came in third with 25%. Twenty-four percent of merchants claimed support for Android Pay, while 18% said they accept Samsung Pay. Given that many of these technologies are all NFC-based and accepted anywhere NFC payments are available, it seems merchants may be referring to “official” support or may be unaware of the way contactless payments work.
The study notes that fewer retailers are adopting a “wait and see approach” for Apple Pay and PayPal, likely because of the growing support from the payment software ecosystem and the acceptance for these mobile payments by the public.
“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,” notes the study.
“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. The other critical factor is explaining the value of tying mobile wallets to loyalty rewards programs. Customers need to feel that utilizing mobile payments enhances the shopping experience and that they are being rewarded for the experience; this will enable a win-win experience for retailers and customers,” according to the study.
Convenience stores make up 34% of all retail, a universe of 450,000 stores in the United States. Those 154,000 overall convenience stores are the largest category of store, with 98,000 one-store convenience operators coming in as the second largest category of store.