Apple Pay now available at 36% of U.S. merchants; adoption will be over 50% by 2018

iPhone being held near a contactless terminal

Apple Pay is the preferred method of alternative payments for U.S. merchants, according to a survey carried out by retail consulting firm Boston Retail Partners.

36% of the merchants surveyed had already installed Apple Pay capabilities in their store, and a further 22% said that they would be accepting Apple Pay within 12 months, meaning that if the survey is accurate over 50% of merchants will be accepting Apple Pay in 2018.

During a previous conference call to discuss Q1 2017 earnings, Apple CEO Tim Cook reported that usage of Apple Pay had tripled in 2016, and that year-on-year transaction volumes had increased 500%, hinting that the number of merchants accepting Apple Pay had skyrocketed.

The survey, which was conducted with over 500 significant retailers in the U.S., indicated that PayPal is currently the second most accepted method of alternative payment, slightly behind Apple Pay at 36%. 21% of merchants surveyed indicated that they would be implementing PayPal within 12 months, and a further 9% said that they planned to integrate the technology by 2020, which would indicate that the gap between Apple Pay and PayPal’s adoption will grow in the next three years, but PayPal will comfortably remain ahead of the rest of the market.

The survey does suggest that the biggest mover in the market in the next three years will be Android Pay. By 2020 Android Pay will have overtaken MasterCard PayPass to sit third in the market and will have slightly narrowed the gap to PayPal.

Another point of note to take from the report was the market’s uncertainty with Bitcoin adoption. 5% of the merchants surveyed planned to implement some form of Bitcoin payment system in 2017, which seems reasonable considering the issues the digital currency currently suffers from, including its fluctuating exchange rate. What is perhaps more concerning to Bitcoin advocates is that only a further 4% of merchants are planning to adopt the technology within three years, indicating that the clear majority don’t currently see a clear long term future for Bitcoin as an alternative payment.

91% of merchants indicated that they would adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach with the blockchain tech, suggesting that traditional retailers are far from convinced in the future of the digital currency.

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