Apple launched its Apple Pay mobile payments service today with the release of its iOS 8.1 upgrade. Later, during the company’s earnings call, CEO Tim Cook was a bit more frank than in previous comments about the intent of the new initiative, as well as the terms.
Cook and the other executives on the call didn’t say much about Apple Pay, until an analyst asked about Apple’s motivations.
Cook said, “What we wanted to achieve is an excellent user experience — the most customer-centric mobile payment system that there is.
“We do think we will sell more devices, because we think it’s a killer feature that people will want.”
Cook went on to point out that there is no charge to the merchant or the consumer to complete an Apple Pay transaction. “There are commercial terms between Apple and the [card] issuing bank, but we’re not talking about that,” Cook said.
Apple has said that around 220,000 merchants are now ready to process Apple Pay payments — that is, they have “contactless” payment terminals. But businesses in the U.S. number more than 6 million, and Apple will need to push to get those merchants upgraded.
The company has already worked with some larger merchants, such as Disney and Uber, to ready them for this new type of transaction. But users might ignore Apple Pay if only a subset of the stores they frequent have compatible systems.
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