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Apple Pay makes long-awaited debut in Brazil

Apple Pay officially launched in Brazil on Wednesday, making good on both promises by Apple and long-standing rumors.




At the moment, support is available only through one local bank, Itau Unibanco, according to Apple's Brazilian website. Some compatible merchants include Taco Bell, Starbucks, iPlace, Drogaria Iguatemi, and Livraria Cultura/Fnac.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Pay would be coming to Brazil in a February results call. He provided few other details beyond a 2018 window, though in December people trying to add Itau Unibanco's Visa Platinum Personnalite card to the iOS Wallet ran into a terms-of-service agreement.

Rumors of Brazilian Apple Pay actually reach back to 2016. At the time, Mastercard was expected to be Apple's exclusive launch partner, but today's premiere includes both Visa and Mastercard offerings from Itau.

Apple Pay is now present in numerous countries, such as Canada, China, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, and the U.K. The extent of support can vary considerably —some regions have just a few banks onboard, while places like the U.S. and China are saturated with card issuers. Merchant adoption remains a problem in the U.S., where some major chains have yet to make the transition, and a few —above all Walmart and Target —have actively resisted support.

The platform first arrived in October 2014, a month after the first Apple devices to support it, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Most national U.S. banks and credit unions were signed up within the first year, with Apple constantly expanding the list with smaller providers nearly every month since launch.

The technology has since spread to most Apple devices, including iPads, Macs, the Apple Watch, and of course later iPhones. People can pay at retail, in-app, and/or on the Web, depending on the merchant and the device.