Slideshow 7 Unusual Apple Pay Marketing Moves

  • September 18 2015, 10:39am EDT
8 Images Total

Apple Pay's ever-growing list of partners and competitors makes it hard for any one company to stand out among the pack. But several companies have found inventive — and sometimes baffling — ways to get attention.


Rather than market on TV and radio, Discover is pouring its budget into rewards, offering a hefty 10% cash back to consumers who use its card with Apple Pay before the end of 2015.

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PayPal said it considers Apple a longtime partner and wanted to be a funding source for Apple Pay, but its first reaction to Apple Pay's announcement last year was to attack Apple's reputation for security. Maybe it's playing hard to get?


Square is hoping to let Apple Pay's hype lift sales of its own devices. When it began pre-sales of its NFC card reader, Apple was the one to make the announcement, and the device is being marketed as a way for small merchants to accept Apple's mobile wallet.

U.S. Bank

Marketing was tough for Apple Pay's launch partners, which were under strict NDA. Only 10 people at U.S. Bank knew about Apple Pay before its formal announcement, but they had to arrange a companywide in-branch marketing push around it. "We reserved branch space months in advance for no particular reason," said Jason Tinurelli, the bank's SVP of retail payment solutions.

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Devoted Demonstrator

Sometimes the sales pitch doesn't quite line up with the bank's expectations. One U.S. Bank branch banker kept enrolling and deactivating the same card with Apple Pay as a way to demonstrate the process to customers, but it left the bank's tech team scratching its head as to why a single account had enrolled 58 times.

Panera Bread

Apple Pay's pre-launch retail partners faced similar challenges. At Panera Bread, only eight people at the company other than its senior management knew about Apple Pay before its launch, but the merchant had to deploy compatible terminals to every one of its stores. The company also had to figure out how to teach consumers the process of paying with an NFC mobile wallet.

Choosing Sides

Rite Aid and CVS quickly shut off support for contactless payments when Apple Pay launched. The move, which was meant as a show of support for the rival CurrentC wallet, certainly made headlines. But Rite Aid's protest lasted barely a year; it now accepts Apple Pay officially.