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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Only six percent of iPhone users in the United States who have Apple Pay set up actually use the feature, according to a detailed study by PYMNTS.


Seven years after Apple Pay launched in September 2014, 93.9 percent of consumers with Apple Pay activated on their iPhone do not use it to pay for in-store purchases, meaning that only 6.1 percent do.

In 2015, the year following Apple Pay's launch, PYMNTS found that Apple Pay usage was just 5.1 percent among those that had the feature activated. This means that Apple Pay usage has only increased by one percentage point in six years.

The growth of Apple Pay in this time may be attributed to more contactless terminals in stores and more users having iPhone models with an NFC coil to facilitate Apple Pay, rather than increased usage. Since 2015, the total amount of Apple Pay transactions at U.S. retail stores has increased from an estimated $5 billion to $90 billion this year.

In 2015, 19 percent of U.S. merchants were able to accept contactless payments, but in 2021, this rose to 70 percent. Likewise, in 2015, only 36 percent of consumers had an iPhone that offered Apple Pay, but now 96 percent of users have access to the feature. Apple Pay support from banks has also ballooned. This has all led to the number of Apple Pay transactions growing overall, but it is still unused by the vast majority of those that have the feature enabled.

The main reason behind the lack of usage may be attributed to the continued dominance of plastic cards. In addition, in the time since Apple Pay's launch, banks have issued an increasing number of contactless debit and credit cards, which most users have preferred to Apple Pay. According to PYMNTS, Apple has struggled to persuade users that Apple Pay is valuable enough to replace the more familiar plastic card, which does not require additional button presses and authentication steps such as Touch ID or Face ID.

"But to be successful, innovation must solve a problem, fix a source of friction or improve an experience that is so painful that consumers or businesses are motivated to switch," the report explained. The study suggested two options for Apple to bolster Apple Pay usage:
Path one is for Apple, the smartphone, to take share from Android to make the eligible Apple Pay pie bigger and to ride retail's continued growth. Currently, Apple has a 52% share of smartphones in the U.S., up from 47% in 2019. That seems hard, if not pretty unlikely.

Path two is for Apple to get more iPhone users to use Apple Pay in the store.

That's something that Apple has failed to do over the last seven years – including over the last two years, when contactless payment in-store was its (and every Pay's) oyster.

Seven years in, Apple Pay just hasn't lived up to its potential for transforming the point-of-sale experience in the store. Maybe there is a grand plan that goes beyond offering users discounts to use it at checkout. But unless it does, its past is likely to be prologue – and its usage will likely be stuck at around 6% of iPhone users who like to wave their phones in the store when they buy.

Nevertheless, of the various mobile wallets, such as Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal, Apple Pay has generally been the most popular with a 45.5 percent share of mobile wallet users in 2021.

PYMNTS's findings are based on a study of 3,671 respondents in the United States between August 3 and August 10, 2021 and identical studies from previous years.

Article Link: Survey: Only 6% of U.S. iPhone Users Who Set Up Apple Pay Actually Use It


macrumors 6502
Oct 11, 2016
Would love to not carry a wallet. Some holdouts, including the drivers license.

It's maddening that people think Apple Pay is somehow less safe than a credit card or cash. Cash can be lost and used by anyone. Credit cards are easily stolen or ripped. Apple should invest a lot more in advertising and educating about Apple Pay.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2018
I try to use it when I can but its behavior makes it difficult. Sometimes it does not appear to respond to a payment attempt. Other times it pops up long after payment is complete (using an alternative method). It might be related to the age of my phone (6s).

I don't doubt that others have no problem at all using it. I'm just adding my two cents as to why the data shows low use for those with the feature enabled.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 22, 2008
New York
Full disclosure, didn’t read the article. But, I didn’t setup Apple Pay until I got an Apple Watch— and that is how I *always* use it. It is so convenient not to have to pull out a wallet/card, nor a phone. Just flash my watch.

I wonder the adoption rate among AW owners. (Will read article later, perhaps it speaks to this)
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