Apple Pay is finally offering something that both retailers and customers want

Many of these retailers are also adding Apple Pay to their websites.
Many of these retailers are also adding Apple Pay to their websites.
Image: Reuters/Robert Galbraith
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Apple Pay, the iPhone maker’s mobile wallet service, has received a tepid response from the US public since it was released in September 2014. The problem has been twofold: First, it can’t be used in that many places yet, as retailers have been slow to upgrade their equipment. Second, pulling a credit card out of your wallet isn’t a big deal. Sure, the process has gotten a bit more cumbersome with chip cards, but it remains one of the smaller inconveniences in life.

The same can’t always be said about paying for items online. Unless an online merchant already has your credit card, shipping, and billing info, online purchases can be a tedious ordeal. Each keystroke or missed required box is another opportunity for the consumer to abandon their shopping cart, a persistent problem in e-commerce.

That’s where Apple Pay can really change things. Earlier this month at WWDC 2016, Apple announced that Apple Pay would be coming to Safari—allowing you to pay in your mobile or desktop Safari browser by using Touch ID on your iPhone—in the fall. (For desktop Safari users, you simply Pay with Apple Pay and the information gets sent to your phone, where you then confirm your purchase by scanning your fingerprint.)

Apple Pay has already made good progress in attracting merchants on that front. According to an investor note from Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster on Monday (June 20), Apple has signed up 21 of the top 100 online retailers, with another 10 “coming soon.” Among those on board are Staples, Target, Kohl’s, Nike, and Under Armour. Munster also noted that, given how easy it is for online retailers to add Apple Pay, more will likely join soon.

None of this is good news for PayPal. Munster says the online payments company works with 54 of the 100 top online merchants, but there will be a 43% overlap with Apple Pay merchants. And since Apple Pay is more seamless and faster than using PayPal, Munster said in an earlier research note, Apple’s web payment feature could hurt PayPal’s main business.