Apple Pay Is Struggling to Gain Traction Abroad, Here’s Why

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At a certain point, numbers become too high for us to comprehend. The $10.9 billion in Apple Pay transactions last year certainly seems impressive, but the number is a mere blip on the radar in the global sphere.

A recent report published by Reuters documents Apple’s struggle to popularize Apple Pay abroad, as nearly all Apple Pay transactions take place in the U.S. The service certainly has an uphill climb towards mass adoption but Apple is determined to see Apple Pay break through in established markets abroad.

Trouble Abroad

Since its introduction in 2014, Apple Pay has only made it to the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. There are all sorts of hoops Apple has to jump through to bring the service to a new country, but only six in almost two years of existence is disappointing for a company the size of Apple. And that’s not to mention the service hasn’t really caught on anywhere other than the U.S.

Of course there are good reasons for the struggle. Take the UK for example. Contactless payment cards have been in wide use for years prior to Apple Pay. Convincing iPhone users to go through the process of setting up an already contactless card with Apple Pay is a tall order. Research analyst Windsor Holden recently elaborated on the problem. “You have over 86 million contactless cards in circulation, you have to persuade Britons to register their cards to the (Apple Pay) service when they can already use them to make a contactless payment,” Holden said.

In China, Apple faces a similar issue. There are major competitors who beat Apple to the punch. Popular payment services from both Alibaba and WeChat are already prevalent in China. Furthermore, it’s been reported users in China complain Apple Pay is not as seamless as the services that are already available.

Technical Issues

Apple is also reportedly facing technical issues. Various banks, mostly abroad, say they are having technical problems with transactions made via Apple Pay. Apple executive Jennifer Bailey recently spoke about the technical issues with the service. “Like any set of major technology changes, it takes time,” she said.

Giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, Apple Pay is a massive endeavor. However, we have lofty expectations from Apple and the service hasn’t caught fire the way both Apple and many customers hoped.

Of course Apple Pay is a long-term project for the company. Apple has taken the approach of rolling out the service slowly in hopes of minimizing issues. Although, Apple seems to have been forced into this slow approach. Bailey also indicated the company is pushing Apple Pay forward as fast as they can. Reading between the lines, it’s not hard to see Apple is disappointed with the slow rollout.

As someone who regularly uses Apple Pay here in the U.S., the service is certainly convenient. It will be interesting to see if Apple can manage to break into already established contactless markets abroad.

Do you use Apple Pay? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

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