Driven by pandemic, the US enters the world of Apple Pay

Apple’s decision to invent arguably one of the world’s best mobile payment systems seems a really great move now as US consumers shift away from cash in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple Pay advances in the US

We know the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated global digital transformation projects, nurturing new respect for fron- line and essential workers and prompting what seems likely to be a lasting move to work from home.

It has also driven mass adoption of mobile payments systems, according to the latest Worldpay Global Payments report. “2020 catapulted payments years ahead of projections,” the report says.

What’s important is that it is well known that the US had a slow start in mobile payment acceptance, though there is evidence to show that Apple Pay was already the most popular such service in the US pre-pandemic.

Discussing the state of mobile payments, Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors last year:

“As you can imagine, in this environment, people are less want to hand over a card…  contactless payment has taken on a different level of adoption in it that, I think, will never go back. The U.S. has been lagging a bit in contactless payment, and I think that the pandemic may well put the U.S. on a different trajectory there.”

Toward a cash-free future

Mobile wallets are catching up with cash, even in the US. In 2020, 10% of spending at points of sale (cash tills) made use of a digital or mobile wallet such as Apple Pay. In comparison, 11.9% of such transactions took place in cash, so the use of contactless mobile payments is clearly catching up. (In Canada, cash was used for just 5.4% of transactions.)

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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