Chase Pay is now available for download, making the bank-branded available on a small scale for the holiday shopping season.

At launch, the app will work at 7,500 Starbucks locations in the U.S. and 1,400 Best Buy locations, the bank announced Nov. 21.

The official launch comes just three weeks after Chase cemented Chase Pay as an option at Walmart stores, even though use of the bank's mobile pay app won't be in play at the giant retailer until after the first phase of the launch. Walmart agreed to accept Chase Pay in its stores as well as in-app operating side-by-side with Walmart Pay.

In building up a merchant base for the Chase Pay mobile payment app, JPMorgan Chase zeroed in on a national launch late this year or early next year. In the year leading up to the launch, Chase had established the mobile pay app as an option within the apps of the Merchant Customer Exchange retailer joint venture, as well as Starbucks.

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News

The MCX wallet app never materialized, but Chase's arrangement of lower fees and zero liability at a time when retailers were dealing with expensive EMV chip card conversions resonated well, with MCX member Best Buy adding Chase Pay acceptance in its stores. While Chase also has arranged for the app to be accepted at Phillips 66 and Conoco gas stations, and some Shell stations, as well as ShopRite and the Fresh Grocer, those retailers will begin taking Chase Pay transactions at a later date.

Chase Pay allows users to initiate transactions at the physical point of sale, in-app or online, while operating on all mobile operating platforms and integrating with loyalty programs.

While the tech-company "Pays" like Apple, Android and Samsung all operate with Near Field Communication technology and handset secure elements (Apple and Samsung) or host card emulation (Android), Chase Pay operates through QR codes and cloud-based security.

“Chase Pay is special because it’s the first digital payments solution that benefits both consumers and merchants,” Jennifer Roberts, president of strategic alliances and loyalty solutions for Chase, said in a Nov. 21 press release. “By focusing on merchant needs first – lower cost, zero fraud liability – we’ve got a real opportunity to break through the mobile payments noise.”

Chase customers can download the Chase Pay app from the App Store and Google Play store. Once they sign in using the same User ID and password as they use on, customers will see their Chase Visa Credit, Debit and Liquid cards already loaded in the app. Users can set up Touch ID biometric fingerprint authorization on their phones for future use of the app.

Chase built its Chase Pay app over the last two years, operating under the strategy that its 94-million-plus credit, debit and prepaid accounts represented a solid foundation a bank-branded app.

Prior to Chase making a move for a branded mobile wallet, most major banks had taken a "wait-and-see" approach before entering that landscape. Capital One launched an NFC-based mobile pay app for Android devices in October of 2015.

Chase began approaching retailers and establishing those merchant relationships at a time when the Softcard mobile wallet was folding, Google Wallet was being transformed into Android Pay, and Apple Pay, almost a year along, was still scuffling more with consumer use than actual adoption, since it came loaded on the newest model iPhones.

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