Tim Cook Doesn’t Understand Contactless or Mobile Payments, Claims Apple Victory

by Ben Jackson 0

Apple CEO Tim Cook either doesn’t understand the world ofcontactless and mobile payments, or is trying to put one over on the public byclaiming that apple is the leader in contactless payments at a Wall StreetJournal Live event, The Verge reports.

Speaking at the WSJD Live event,hosted by The Wall Street Journal, Cook said that Apple is already the leaderin “contactless” payments, “more than the total of all the otherguys.” Within 72 hours, Apple apparently activated one million cards, andwe presume it’s only gone up significantly since then.

The problem is that Cook is ignoring all the contactlesscards, the closed-loop applications, and the volume of payments out there.

A million downloads is nice, but Starbucks Coffee Co.,according to its latest annual report, has 4 million mobile payments (which arecontactless) every week in the United States alone. They are likely closely followed by Dunkin’Donuts, Tim Hortons, Subway, and McDonald’s among others. Google Wallet andISIS have yet to release any numbers, so it is hard to say what the competitionis doing.

It is a similar story when you move from mobile payments tocard-based contactless payments. According to the 2013 Federal Reserve Study ofConsumer payments, there were 13.4 million chip-initiated general-purposecredit card and 29.8 million chip-based general purpose debit card transactionsin 2012. The Fed says in a footnote that these are typically contactlesstransactions. Given the low prevalence of EMV in 2012, it is a fairassumption.

So, it is a little early for Apple to declare itself thecontactless leader. Maybe the marketing leader, but it still has a lot ofground to cover when it comes to loads and transactions.


Overview by Ben Jackson, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service for Mercator Advisory Group

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