About 60% of the first cards loaded onto Apple Pay are Visa cards, and the card network plans to build on this beginning in an aggressive mobile commerce strategy, according to CEO Charles Scharf.
Of the one million cards that were loaded onto Apple Pay in the service's first three days, more than 600,000 were Visa cards, Scharf said during Visa's earnings call Oct. 29, adding Visa was working with more than 1,000 financial institutions to support Apple Pay.
Visa next plans to release a series of developer tools and a programming "sandbox" to encourage new digital payment and mobile commerce services, he said. "Apple Pay is just the early use case."
These developer tools are currently being tested and should be widely available by January 2015. Developers have built early features connected to Apple Pay, Scharf said.
Other technology initiatives are also advancing, Scharf said, noting Visa Checkout, the card network's recently rebranded digital payments system, is approaching 2 million registered users and currently has more than 200 financial services partners. Recently signed merchants include United Airlines, Virgin America and American Apparel, Scharf said.
The EMV migration in the U.S. is also progressing, Scharf said, though he noted only 3.6 million terminals accept chip cards.
"Issuers, acquirers and merchants are working to increase those numbers," Scharf said, predicting that 90% of cards and 40% of terminals will be chip-enabled by the end of 2017. While the card networks have set Oct. 2015 as the deadline for most merchants to migrate to chip cards (gas stations have until 2017), most payments experts expect the migration will take longer than that.
For the quarter ending Sept. 30, Visa announced adjusted net earnings of $1.4 billion in the quarter, an increase of 14% over the prior year, when it earned just north of $1.2 billion. The performance was better than analysts' expectations.
"It's gratifying given the subdued economic environment globally and the geopolitical environment," Scharf said.