The reach of Apple Pay, Apple’s digital payment service, may be about to expand. The company reportedly wants to have the service available wherever Apple products can be found -- and that’s just about everywhere.
Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey told the TechCrunch Web site Friday that the company is "working rapidly" to find ways to establish Apple Pay in other areas apart from the six countries where it’s now available.
Bailey’s comments came shortly after Apple Pay expanded its presence in Singapore, where the service now supports five major banks covering more than 80 percent of payment cards. Apple Pay launched in that country last month. The service is also available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and China.
France, India Next?
Bailey said that the payment service is also likely to reach Hong Kong soon, with other parts of the Asia Pacific region following. However, discussions with potential partners and banks are still ongoing in that effort. In February, rumors surfaced that France, Brazil and Hong Kong were in Apple’s sights as new markets for Apple Pay, but a presence in only the latter country seems likely soon. Recently Apple CEO Tim Cook said that India is another possibility for Apple Pay, but he hasn’t provided any details.
Apple Pay garnered 3 million accounts during the first two days it was available in China (Apple Pay officially launched in China on February 17). The service is adding about a million new users per week throughout the world, according to Bailey. She added that several big consumer technology companies are integrating the service into their apps to more easily enable digital payments.
Apple Pay is now available via 2,500 bank locations in the U.S. In China, the service is currently available via 19 banks. Apple is planning to beef up the service via a number of avenues. Those could include adding support for more banks and cards; bringing Apple Pay to ATMs; increasing loyalty programs in addition to the handful that it’s introduced in the United States; and supporting online and in-line app payments in more markets.
Move Makes Sense
China was a sensible first target market for Apple Pay in Asia since it’s the world’s most densely populated country and a top market for Apple products. So far the company has focused on wooing existing Apple customers with Apple Pay, but it could still find a way to bring the service to areas dominated by Android devices. Bailey said that process could accelerate with help from Apple’s network partners.
When it looks for fresh Apple Pay territory, the company considers credit and debit card penetration and existing contactless payment coverage, which uses radio-frequency identification or near field communication for making secure payments. Bailey said that the company also intends to bring Apple Pay to markets where the penetration of contactless payment coverage is low but has the potential to grow.
Image credit: Product shots by Apple.