Apple Pay launches in Australia with limited card & retailer support

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2015
On Thursday local time Apple launched Apple Pay in Australia, relying on the same American Express partnership it used to introduce the platform to Canada earlier in the week.




No co-branded cards are currently supported, and only stores equipped for AmEx wireless payments are accepting transactions. This does include major chains though, among them Coles, Harvey Norman, Starbucks, Woolworths, and others.

Like Canada, Australia is typically better-equipped than the U.S. for wireless payments. Related technologies such as chip cards have been common in the region for some time.

The same AmEx deal should bring Apple Pay to Spain, Hong Kong, and Singapore sometime in 2016. Also due next year is support for more merchants, including Domino's Pizza and Cinnabon.

AmEx isn't a popular card brand outside of the U.S., but Apple Pay head Jennifer Bailey recently explained that the company functions as both a card issuer and payment network operator. That makes it a convenient spearhead, even if Apple will need partners like Visa and MasterCard to have much global reach.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    Come to the U.S. for the full ApplePay experience.
  • Reply 2 of 21

    question... does the iOS 'fan' spin counter clockwise in Australia?

     

  • Reply 3 of 21
    anomeanome Posts: 1,199member
    Already set up, just waiting for an opportunity to use it...
  • Reply 4 of 21
    Between Coles and Woolworths, they have 80% market share in the supermarket space. Out of the 4 major banks, which issue 80% of the terminals, only NAB won't work, leaving what, 60% of the terminals accepting. Despite the use of only Amex, I'd say there is pretty good coverage at a merchant level.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Coles and Woolworths accept and have 80% market share in the supermarket space. Of the 4 major banks that issue 80% of the terminals, only NAB doesn't currently work, leaving what, 60% acceptance? Apart from only working with Amex, I'd say there's pretty good coverage at a merchant level.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member

    I see amex getting a lot of business out of this. Certainly since they're not well used and seemingly in decline in Australia.

  • Reply 8 of 21
    anomeanome Posts: 1,199member
    ecats wrote: »
    I see amex getting a lot of business out of this. Certainly since they're not well used and seemingly in decline in Australia.
    Everyone keeps saying that. Hadn't noticed it, myself. I use it for all sorts of things. There are a few places that don't take it, and a couple that charge extra (allegedly because of their higher interchange fee) but hadn't noticed any decline.
  • Reply 9 of 21
    Or
    Come to the U.S. for the full ApplePay experience.

    ...or even better the uk. Contactless chip and pin terminals mean that even rural corner shops accept Apple Pay. Completely love it, but interestingly really poorly understood by non-Apple watchers. I spend a lot of time at work explaining the benefits and helping people register their cards. However, we've now created our own modest Apple Pay enclave. Once people try it then there is no stopping them. A couple of weekends ago I had an Apple Pay only weekend (even works for all London Underground and buses) - I don't think it will be long before I can jettison cards. Only issues - the totally illogical £30 limit (given that Apple Pay is more secure than chip and pin or over the phone purchases - how does it make any sense) and battery life. On the second issue the fact the watch Apple Pay works without the phone has pretty much removed that issue.
  • Reply 10 of 21

    What does "limited support" mean? That there are few NFC terminals where ApplePay can be used?

     

    For me, it really doesn't matter whether the terminal says "ApplePay" or not: as long as I can use my Watch or iPhone, I don't mind the extra couple of seconds to hit 'credit' and sign if/as needed. It is by far the most brilliant way to pay. Paying with the Watch, in particular, still gets me six months later.....

  • Reply 11 of 21
    Paying with the Watch, in particular, still gets me six months later.....

    100% agree with the watch comment and also how many shop staff comment as well.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Background to card payments in Australia...


     


    CONTACTLESS PAYMENT: Has been up and running for 5 years already by simply tapping your credit/debit card on the reader at almost every retailer, or more recently your phone with NFC chip sticker on the back. Apple Pay is not a revolution in Australia, its a "who cares" moment. So instead of tapping your phone or card, you tap your phone or watch. Whoop-de-doo!!!


     


    BANKS: there are four main banks in Australia who dominate banking. They take 82 cents per $100 card payment and they are unwilling to make a deal with Apple to hand over 15 cents when the contactless system that exists is in use everyday by nearly every Australian with a bank account. What's in it for the banks to do a deal with Apple? Nothing except a loss of profit.


     


    AMEX: in Australia has in the past charged retailers EXCESSIVE fees for accepting payments. To share the love, retailers have in the past either decided not to accept Amex or charged customers additional fees on top of their purchase cost.


     


    As a result many many Australians do not now and never will use Amex as they are viewed as overcharging scumbags. Some retailers, presumably in order top pick up the tourist dollar from overseas visitors, now accept Amex but for many Australians Amex carries a lot of negative baggage.


     


    Amex has tried to expand its foothold in Australia by:


    - reducing its fees slightly to retailers, although their reputation is ingrained in the Australian psyche and some retailers still charge higher fees for using Amex because the public expects them too.


    - introducing co-branded Amex cards with large retailers like David Jones. These will work with Apple Pay as they are genuine Amex cards


    - introducing co-branded Amex cards with the four banks (although these are usually supplementary cards to a Visa or Mastercard account with those banks).  These are the bulk of Amex cards and WILL NOT WORK with Apple Pay because the banks will not give up their lucrative fees.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    What does "limited support" mean? That there are few NFC terminals where ApplePay can be used?


     

    I think they mean there's few merchants that take Amex.

  • Reply 14 of 21
    I was in Toronto 4 months ago and they accepted Apple Pay at 90% of the places I went.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    gtr wrote: »
    Greed is NOT good.

    You got that right GTR ! C'mon guys implement Apple Pay, geez

    Source wiki: "In Australia, the "big four banks" refers to the four largest banks[3] by market share, who between them hold 80% of the home loan markets in the country. In 2012, their combined total asset is A$2.66 trillion, which is about 200% of Australian GDP in 2011. In order of size, these are:

    Commonwealth Bank (CBA) (government owned until 1996)
    Westpac (WBC)
    Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
    National Australia Bank (NAB)
    A longstanding policy of the federal government in Australia has been to maintain this status quo, called the "four pillars policy". The policy has been maintained through the Global Recession of 2008–09, as Westpac acquired St.George Bank and the Commonwealth Bank acquired Bankwest, reinforcing the special status of the "big four".

    Being New Zealand's closest neighbour, with very close ties culturally and economically, has helped Australia dominate the banking sector there. Often referred to collectively as the 'big banks'[4][5][6] or the 'big Aussie banks', the "Big Four" Australian banks also dominate the New Zealand banking sector in the form of:

    Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, or ANZ, also comprising the former business of The National Bank.
    ASB Bank, formerly Auckland Savings Bank, wholly owned by the Commonwealth Bank
    The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), wholly owned by the National Australia Bank
    Westpac, formerly known as WestpacTrust after a merger with the Trust Bank.
    Together they hold over 90% of gross loans and advances in New Zealand [7] as well as close to 90% of all mortgages.[8]

    These four subsidiaries are massively profitable and in some cases even outperform the Australian parent company.[9] The extent to which they dominate the banking sector can be seen in profits: In the 2012/2013 financial year, the largest of the Big Banks, ANZ New Zealand, made a profit of NZ$1.37 billion. The smallest, BNZ, made a profit of NZ$695 million.[4] State-owned Kiwibank, community trust-owned TSB Bank, SBS Bank (formerly Southland Building Society) and Heartland Bank, the next four largest banks by profit, made NZ$97 million,[10] NZ$73.5 million,[11] NZ$14 million[12] and NZ$7 million (albeit with an underlying result of about NZ$30 million) respectively.[13] In other words, the profit of New Zealand's next four largest banks (after the Big Four) is equal to less than 30% of the smallest of the Big Four, BNZ."

    :no::no:
  • Reply 16 of 21
    Several inaccuracies with this article.

    It's not so much co-branded cards that are not supported yet, only bank-issued cards (because banks are yet to come to an agreement with Apple). Co-branded cards issued directly from AMEX such as Qantas, Virgin and David Jones work no problems.

    "Limited retailer support" makes it sound like only a few stores are accepting it out of the gate. Contactless payment terminals are so widespread here that it's anything but limited. The reality is that you're only going to run into problems because some stores don't accept AMEX due to the high fees they charge merchants.

    It's so widespread that Apple doesn't even bother listing supported Australian retailers, as is also the case in the UK.

    Maybe it'd help to have a local who knows what the actual situation is. ;)
  • Reply 17 of 21

    Maybe if they charged lower merchant fees there'd be higher take up. I only use my AMEX card at places I know accept it without additional fees.

     

    A lot of people don't bother with AMEX because you often have to ask if a retailer accepts them or if they charge the customer a transaction fee for using them.

  • Reply 18 of 21
    anomeanome Posts: 1,199member
    I thought, since Australian interchange fees are lower than the US, the margins were quite tight for the banks, but it seems they're about 83c per $100. Apple's cut still leaves them with 68c per $100 in a billion dollar market, and it's not like Apple are going to take up even the majority of their payments.

    Anyway, just paid with Apple Pay. Worked exactly as it was supposed to. Very boring. The cashier didn't even blink.
  • Reply 19 of 21
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,005member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Anome View Post



    I thought, since Australian interchange fees are lower than the US, the margins were quite tight for the banks, but it seems they're about 83c per $100. Apple's cut still leaves them with 68c per $100 in a billion dollar market, and it's not like Apple are going to take up even the majority of their payments.



    Anyway, just paid with Apple Pay. Worked exactly as it was supposed to. Very boring. The cashier didn't even blink.

    http://www.visa.com.au/aboutvisa/interchange/interchange.shtml

     

    more like .275% if we're talking about the same thing.

     

    On that assumption taking more than half that cut, *and* giving up sales data, it's obvious where that would be heading.

     

    I bought my 5S, then 6, then 6s specifically to get access to Apple Pay when it became available through MC/VISA but the longer this drags the more I realise that tap and go is more and more entrenched (the ATMs do it now FFS) and no-one gives a turd about Apple Pay when it's stupid easy to simply tap and go. Fraud is a 'so what' thing when bank offers to eat the cost.

     

    sorry for the run on sentence.

  • Reply 20 of 21
    anomeanome Posts: 1,199member
    djsherly wrote: »
    http://www.visa.com.au/aboutvisa/interchange/interchange.shtml

    more like .275% if we're talking about the same thing.

    On that assumption taking more than half that cut, *and* giving up sales data, it's obvious where that would be heading.

    I bought my 5S, then 6, then 6s specifically to get access to Apple Pay when it became available through MC/VISA but the longer this drags the more I realise that tap and go is more and more entrenched (the ATMs do it now FFS) and no-one gives a turd about Apple Pay when it's stupid easy to simply tap and go. Fraud is a 'so what' thing when bank offers to eat the cost.

    sorry for the run on sentence.
    Not sure where I saw the number I mentioned above, but both the Visa and MC sites have a wide range of Interchange rates dependent on the type of business. But, yes, 25-30c per $100 seems to be closer. That does present a problem for the banks, either they raise their fees or give over a big cut to Apple. Apple ought to be able to vary their rates to fit local markets, but they've presumably run the numbers and decided it doesn't work out for them. I hope they do lower the rates, because the alternative is that the banks will raise their interchange fees, which will ultimately screw us, the end users.
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