Apple Pay sees high sign-up rate but low repeat usage, says study

Apple Pay sees high sign-up rate but low repeat usage, says study

02 APR 2015

Eleven per cent of credit card-owning households and 66 per cent of iPhone 6 owners in the US have signed up for Apple Pay, four months after it was launched, according to a study by Phoenix Marketing International, which used a survey base of 3,002 respondents.

However, issues like low repeat usage and lost payment opportunities are hindrances in its success.

Eighty-two per cent of users linked a credit card to Apple Pay, while 53 per cent went for debit cards and 20 per cent included a GPR prepaid card.

Eighty-eight per cent of those who signed up went on to make an in-store or in-app purchase. “In the pre-Apple Pay market, the average conversion rate hovered around 50 per cent,” the report notes.

It estimated the Apple Pay user base at around 8 million households and 12 million individuals.

But it’s not all good news. Greg Weed, Director of Card Research at Phoenix, believes “the early-on transaction potential is being undercut by low repeat usage and lost payment opportunities.”

While the demand is there – 59 per cent of users went into a store and asked to make a purchase with Apple Pay –  47 per cent found that although the store they went into was listed as an Apple Pay merchant, it did not accept Apple Pay.

Before the service launched, two leading US retailers – Wal-Mart and Best Buy – said they would not support Apple Pay, followed by drug stores CVS and Rite Aid.

Both are members of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which has its own mobile wallet called CurrentC.

“Even though Apple Pay users generally give the scheme high marks and 23 per cent expect to significantly increase use over the next 3 months, problems at check-out are downgrading transaction potential,” said Leon Majors, senior vice president at Phoenix.

“Two-out-of-three Apple Pay users have reported a problem at checkout – mostly related to terminals not working or taking too long to make the transaction, inaccurate posting of transactions and the inability of cashiers to help buyers who needed assistance in using Apple Pay,” Majors added.

“Since Apple Pay is still in an introductory mode and the NFC acceptance network still has a long way to go, adding a continuously updated ‘local store directory’ to the Passbook app is a necessary, short-term product improvement,” Weed has suggested.

“Posting a list of participating retailers on a website is not cutting it. In the last four months, 48 per cent of users have paid with Apple Pay just one time and that’s not going to cut it either.”

In January, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that Apple Pay was still only in the “first innings” since its launch in late 2014, adding that the company is looking to add functionality and more countries to the service.

He also claimed Apple Pay accounts for more than $2 out of $3 spent on contactless payments across the three leading credit cards in the US, which is a relatively small figure.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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