I don't know about you, but retailers are buying NFC capable terminals around here. That functionality's just either being kept turned off for the time being (possibly waiting for EMV enablement or any exclusive deals such as CurrentC to run out) or it's at a small business that has no clue that they can now accept Apple Pay. It's pretty stupid for large retailers to buy the highest end terminals if they're not going to use all of the features, especially since there are less expensive options available. Lowe's for instance probably won't do NFC any time soon because the terminal they did buy doesn't have it built in and requires an attachment.But Apple Pay IS a niche option, and in the US, most retailers - especially small-medium sized businesses don't have NFC enabled hardware. Apple pay relies on NFC. All the banks in the world can support Apple Pay all they like, but Apple won't have a single customer using it unless the retailers have the hardware and software to make it possible.
FYI, AMEX NFC doesn't work on all terminals, neither does Union Pay - some only accept Mastercard and Visa. Which means that even those companies with NFC enabled terminals still might not be able to apple pay - especially with AMEX/Diners/UnionPay cards.
Apple seriously underestimated their influence and power in this instance. Customers might want it, but the number of customers using Apple Pay is so few that it's not a compelling reason for most business to change anything.
I'm more worried about the smaller businesses, honestly. The training they're getting is really, really bad to nonexistent. I've seen a fair number of brand new NFC capable terminals placed in a way such that they can't be used by customers. Good luck if they happen to be listed on MasterCard's website and you try to ask to tap.