The problem with introducing any new form of currency or payment system is finding buyers and sellers willing to accept it.
This week, when Apple unveiled its new iPhone6 and iWatch, one of the new features it particularly highlighted was the mobile pay option: instead of paying for things with a credit card, you could use your mobile device instead.
Problem is, how many businesses are willing to accept Apple Pay? In addition to Apple itself, the list of merchants accepting this option includes CVS, Walgreens, McDonald's, Bloomingdale's, Macy's and Whole Foods, among others. And credit-card companies and other financial institutions are happy to work with Apple Pay, too. Now, how many other merchants will climb on board?
The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart and Best Buy will not be accepting Apple Pay. Instead, those stores are working with “a retailer-owned mobile technology group called Merchant Customer Exchange, which also counts Target Corp. among its members.” Other stores working with MCE include 7-Eleven, Southwest Airlines, Shell and the Gap.
In 2015, Merchant Customer Exchange is expected to release its own mobile-phone payment option, in the form of a downloadable app called CurrentC. Unlike Apple Pay, it will be usable on any Android or iPhone, not just the newest Apple products. Nor will it require specialized checkout scanners, as Apple Pay does.
One thing seems certain: the era of widespread mobile payment options will soon be here. The only question is, which technology company will be the first to dominate the market?