International expansion has paid well for Apple Pay.
According to Bloomberg, Apple Pay is now accepted in more than 2 million retail locations around the world, with more retailers—like Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A, and Au Bon Pain—planning to incorporate Apple’s mobile payment system soon.
Originally, Apple wanted to expand Apple Pay to 1.5 million retail locations worldwide by the end of 2015. In addition to surpassing that goal, Apple also saw in-app Apple Pay purchases more than double in the last six months of 2015. That statistic is likely attributed to the growing number of online retailers offering Apple Pay during checkout.
“We’ve been getting requests from customers to use Apple Pay for quite a while,” Aki Iida, head of mobile for Zappos, told Bloomberg. “It makes the customer experience easier, why not try it?” On Tuesday, the company released an updated version of its iOS app that incorporates Apple Pay.
Starbucks, KFC, Chili’s, and Best Buy are all going to support in-store Apple Pay transactions later this year as well.
Why this matters: Although Apple Pay is gaining traction, the service got off to a slow start, especially in the United States. In October 2015, one year after the service was initially released, Apple Pay accounted for only 1 percent of all retail transactions conducted nationwide, according to an earlier Bloomberg report.
Retailers claimed that the reason Apple Pay was not more popular was that customers were satisfied with the current payment systems offered in stores, and they weren’t convinced about the benefits of switching to Apple Pay. Another complaint was that Apple was not adequately promoting the service to iPhone users.
Apple then set its sights internationally, expanding Apple Pay into the UK, China, Canada, and Australia. Square has also started rolling out its Apple Pay readers, allowing small businesses to accept Apple Pay and other NFC-based payments. These expansions give us some insight on how Apple hit the 2 million location mark worldwide in the last few months.
Perhaps Apple is still laying the groundwork—recruiting as many retail locations as possible—before the company starts to educate and convince shoppers to become regular Apple Pay users. After all, it’d be pointless to get people excited about Apple Pay only to be disappointed when their favorite fried chicken joint doesn’t accept it.