Apple Inc. measured a strong pickup in mobile payments during the last six months of 2015, CEO Tim Cook said on Jan. 26 during a discussion about the company’s results from the final quarter of the year.

"In the second half of 2015, we saw significant acceleration in usage with a growth rate 10 times higher than in the first half of the year," Cook said, noting that consumers have spent billions through the company's mobile wallet.

The statement addresses concerns from banks and credit unions that, despite the sacrifices they had to make to support Apple Pay, consumer interest has been underwhelming.

But in contrast to a year ago when Apple Pay was fresh, the mobile payments service barely registered more than a blip during the latest conference call with analysts. Cook announced record profits of $18 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 26, 2015, and said that although product sales remain strong, Apple may soon see its first-ever year-over-year quarterly decline in iPhone sales.

Apple reported record sales of 74.8 million iPhones during the final quarter of 2015. If the company sells less than 61.2 million iPhones during the current quarter, it will fall short of total iPhone sales during the same quarter a year earlier.

That’s not good news for Apple Pay, which so far isn’t generating much total volume or repeat use from customers, according to consumer surveys. Apple Pay only works at the point of sale with Apple’s iPhone 6 models, introduced in the fall of 2014, or the Apple Watch, which launched in the spring of 2015.

Apple recently began to feel the effects of slower economic growth around the world, falling commodity prices and weaker currencies, Cook said. He noted that 60% of iPhone customers who had a phone prior to the iPhone 6’s launch still have not yet upgraded their handsets.

Cook emphasized that the company recently launched Apple Pay in Canada and Australia with American Express, and has announced plans to introduce Apple Pay in China, Hong Kong, Spain and Singapore in the coming year.

"Consumers have spent billions of dollars with Apple Pay,” Cook said, adding that Apple Pay will soon be accepted at thousands of ExxonMobil gas stations across the U.S. through the fuel company’s Speedpass app.

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