Home Depot announces future Apple Pay support, will become largest partner retailer

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Home Depot on Tuesday officially announced upcoming support for Apple Pay, and with more than 2,000 stores will be the largest retail chain to sign on to Apple's branded NFC-based mobile payments initiative.

Speaking on behalf of the home improvement retailer, company representative Steve Holmes told Bloomberg that his company plans to introduce in-store support for Apple Pay, but declined to specify an exact rollout timetable.

Today's announcement comes hours after media outlets relayed customer complaints of recent changes to Home Depot's NFC payments protocol. The retailer's point-of-sale terminals officially accept PayPal mobile, but iPhone 6 owners reported that many locations have been processing Apple Pay purchases since the service launched in October.

Within the past week, however, customers who normally use Apple Pay at their local Home Depot discovered the chain abruptly reversal of policy. AppleInsider received word from one customer who reached out to Home Depot via email regarding the apparent change. In response, the retailer said it is "evaluating a number of new payment methods, including a number of mobile payments but have not made any permanent decisions and we cannot confirm whether these technologies are fully supported at this time."

Many NFC-equipped POS terminals compatible with mobile payment platforms like Google Wallet can also accept Apple Pay transactions. The decision to include support comes down to store owners, who must work on the backend with card processing companies and credit card networks.

Compatibility aside, some companies proactively opt out of Apple Pay, a high-profile example being partners of the Merchant Customer Exchange. As MCX is primed to introduce a mobile payments competitor in CurrentC, merchant members like Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, The Gap and more are forbidden from running Apple Pay transactions. Most recently, however, Best Buy confirmed a start to in-app Apple Pay transactions, with in-store support coming later this year.