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Retailers report strong customer interest in Apple Pay after first weeks of service

It appears that Apple Pay is off to a good start as participating retailers nationwide report the service is generating high levels of interest from customers looking to try it out, something heretofore unheard of in the mobile wallet space.

According to The New York Times, initial Apple Pay transaction statistics from major retailers across the U.S. may not be indicative of booming adoption rates, but the numbers indicate interest is substantially higher than previous rollouts from the likes of Google. The publication reports Apple Pay is even creating a tailwind for competitors by raising awareness of mobile payment options.

It was reported earlier this week that Apple Pay accounts for one percent of all transactions at upscale grocer Whole Foods, and the Times now says the chain has logged more than 150,000 iPhone-based transactions. Similarly, McDonald's says Apple Pay makes up half of its "tap-to-pay" transactions, while Walgreens has seen digital wallet buys double since Apple Pay launched toward the end of October.

Some retailers are not seeing the same adoption rates, however. For example, Toys "R" Us said in-store mobile payments has risen only slightly over the past three weeks, speculating that most customers are still adapting to the new technology.

According to Softcard, a mobile NFC-based joint venture backed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, the rollout of Apple Pay has increased consumer interest in the overall mobile payments sector. CEO Michael Abbott said Softcard app downloads have spiked and more transactions are being conducted by existing users. He attributes the boost to Apple's decision to use NFC technology, meaning terminals compatible with Apple Pay are likely to work with Softcard.

Abbott said that because of Apple Pay, other companies are looking to incorporate NFC into their own proprietary solutions.

Today's report lends concrete data to Apple Pay adoption, offering welcome perspective on the system's rollout. Previously, Apple CEO Tim Cook said over one million users activated credit cards through Apple Pay in the first 72 hours after launch.

Apple is slowly adding to its list of stores that accept Apple Pay, the most recent being Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo.