Though Apple Pay hasn’t lit the world on fire since its launch in October 2014, Apple’s dominant role in mobile e-commerce means its mobile wallet still has the power to hurt payment industry rivals, analysts say.
That’s why payments industry observers are closely watching developments around Apple Pay that could surface when Apple Inc. hosts its annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week in San Francisco.
Some of the possibilities in the air include new capabilities for P-to-P payments within Apple Pay; a link to third-party loyalty programs and the addition of an Apple Pay button within Apple’s Safari browser, according to New York-based equity analysis firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
About 30% of total U.S. e-commerce comes through mobile channels with smartphones and tablets — and within mobile e-commerce, Apple powers about 75% of all orders, KBW said in a June 9 report, citing data from Custora.
“What Apple does or enables with Apple Pay could have material competitive implications to the overall e-commerce and payments ecosystem,” said KBW analysts in the report.
Apple Pay adoption remains relatively low and stagnant, KBW noted. According to numbers Apple released early this year, about 2 million payment terminals support Near Field Communication contactless payments, amounting to about an acceptance penetration of about 20%. Apple Pay awareness is above 80%, but only 20% of eligible users said they’ve tried it at least once, and only 15% are using it regularly, KBW said, citing data from First Annapolis Consulting.
Forty-eight percent of regular users of Apple Pay used it at the point of sale only, while 34% used it for in-app payments and 18% used it for both.
There’s a large opportunity for Apple Pay to take share from digital wallet operators like PayPal, Visa Checkout and others, KBW said. But PayPal holds a strong market position because of its strategic positioning, critical mass and ongoing innovations, particularly through its Braintree unit, the firm said.
Separately, Visa said the U.S. EMV migration is having a measurable effect on reducing counterfeit card fraud, based on new data available through April.
At merchants whose payment terminals are enabled to accept EMV chip cards, counterfeit card fraud declined 26% in January compared with a year earlier, Visa said.
The volume of chip-enabled transactions also continues to rise. Total U.S chip-card transactions rose 12.5% in April to $20.7 billion from $18.4 billion in March, according to Visa.
Just over 1 million merchants have enabled EMV at the point of sale, and more than 75% of those are small and medium-size businesses, Visa said. An average of 23,000 new merchants have been activating chip acceptance each week since the liability shift went into effect in October 2015, the network added.
About 284 million Visa-branded chip cards have been issued; slightly more than half of those in circulation are debit cards, Visa said.