Beginning this fall, Discover card customers with the latest iPhones or iPads will be able to make on-the-go, contactless purchases with their devices using Apple Pay. Announced today, Discover's new support for Apple's mobile payment system will also allow purchases via the just-released Apple Watch.
Apple launched its payment system in October with three major credit card companies on board: American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Discover tweeted in September that it was "in discussions" with Apple to offer Apple Pay, and updated customers in November saying it hoped to have more news to report soon.
Supported by the iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and Apple Watch, Apple Pay lets users make Touch ID-enabled payments through contactless, near field communication readers in stores. It also allows in-app purchases through applications like Airbnb, Groupon, Ticketmaster and Uber.
'Just Started Integration'
Discover public relations director Jon Drummond told us that the company has "just started integration" so he was unable to offer a more specific timeline for when customers will be able to start using Apple Pay.
"We've been working collaboratively with Apple since the initial Apple Pay roll out, and Discover felt that this is the right timing for our cardmembers," he said. Further details about the agreement Discover reached with Apple were confidential, he added.
The company does not disclose how many credit cardholders it has, according to Drummond. However, Discover's earnings report for the first quarter of 2015 showed a 5.1 percent annual growth in credit card loans, with a total of $53.5 billion. Sales of Discover cards were reported to have increased by 2.7 percent over 2014.
Next Stop: Canada?
Apple Pay had been adopted by 11 percent of all credit card-owning households in the four months since it was launched in the U.S., according to a survey released in March by Phoenix Marketing International. Usage among iPhone 6 owners was 66 percent, the survey of 3,002 cardholders found.
Based on those findings, the research firm estimated that there are around 12 million individual Apple Pay users in the U.S. However, Senior Vice President Leon Majors noted that, "Even though Apple Pay users generally give the scheme high marks and 23 percent expect to significantly increase use over the next three months, problems at checkout are downgrading transaction potential."
Apple Pay is accepted by a number of retailers across the U.S., including American Eagle Outfitters, Bloomingdale's, the Disney Store, Firehouse Subs, Macy's, McDonald's, Panera Bread, Subway, Toys R US, Walgreens and Whole Foods Market.
With the largest credit card companies in the U.S. now on board, Apple's next step for Apple Pay is apparently expanding the service to Canada. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the company is currently in talks with six of that country's largest banks and expects to launch service there in November.
Image credit: Product shots by Apple.