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Major retailers show unwillingness to adopt Apple Pay ahead of expected launch

Apple Pay is primed to launch as one of the most secure and convenient digital payments solutions ever devised, but certain popular retailers may slow adoption by refusing to offer support due to a conservative stance on next-gen commerce or conflict with their own ambitions in the sector.



When Apple announced Apple Pay at its iPhone 6 event in September, the company revealed that it had struck deals with all three major credit card networks —Visa, MasterCard and American Express —as well as top card-issuing banks like Citi, Chase and Wells Fargo. While a huge step in payments branding never before achieved, Apple still faces significant hurdles in winning widespread adoption with merchants.

The Daily Dot compiled a list of retailers hesitant to get on board the Apple Pay bandwagon, illustrating the complex network of alliances necessary for an industry newcomer to roll out an entirely new platform. Indeed, many firms entrenched in traditional credit card systems are wary that Apple and its tokenized payment method could upend the industry.

The publication first points to Best Buy, questioning why the big-box electronics store, supposedly in tune with cutting edge technology, is not supportive of Apple's new solution. Those closely following the subject will remember that Best Buy is partnered with the likes of Walmart in a consortium of powerful retailers called the Merchant Customer Exchange, which is trying to get its own out-of-network payments systems off the ground.

Unsurprisingly, both Best Buy and Walmart said in September that they had no plans to support Apple Pay.

"While we will not be accepting Apple Pay at this time, we will continue to evaluate it as an option, as well as several other competing platforms," Best Buy spokesman Jeff Shelman told The Daily Dot.

Other big-name stores are also reticent about plans to adopt Apple's NFC-powered payments initiative, including Bed, Bath & Beyond, department stores Sears, Kmart and Belk, clothing brands H&M and Coach, BP gas stations, grocery chain Publix, and restaurants Chipotle, Pizza Hut and KFC. Worldwide coffee purveyor Starbucks will fold Apple Pay compatibility into its iOS app, but is not looking to install NFC point-of-sale terminals at its outlets anytime soon.



As noted by payments and banking expert Tom Noyes of Starpoint Blog, companies like Starbucks already have effective mobile app strategies complete with built-in customer engagement systems (Starbucks Rewards offers a free drink for every 12 food or drink purchases) and may not be interested in Apple Pay. At this point, Apple promises to streamline and secure mobile and eCommerce payments for consumers, but offers little in the way of new value for merchants.

Apple Pay is set to cause a splash in the large payments pond, but the ripples may not reach as far as some believe. At least not at first.

Apple is rumored to activate Apple Pay assets for iPhone 6 users with the upcoming iOS 8.1 maintenance update. Hidden Passbook settings menus and a privacy policy for Apple Pay credit card purchases were discovered in the most recent iOS 8.1 beta 2 build, suggesting a public launch is drawing near. Apple may choose to release the software update at a special media event scheduled for Oct. 16, at which the company is expected to unveil new iPad models.