There is a lot of internet buzz about the all new Apple Credit Card that just came out. But people forget that Apple Pay has been out for nearly 5 years now (Apple Pay first started in the United States on October 20th 2014). When I go overseas on travel I am always amazed at just how prevalent contactless payment is over there. You can use Apple Pay virtually anywhere in the major cities across the UK (specifically in the London area where I have made several trips). Compare that to the US and I still can’t use Apple Pay to pay for my groceries and up until very recently it was very hard to find a gas station that would accept it either. Very few of my normal haunts allow me to use Apple Pay. Why is the US so far behind?
Our lack of progress here in the US was really driven home to me last month while I was on vacation in Kansas. I went to Marysville, Kansas to visit the Pony Express barn and museum. I walked into the 150 year-old barn and was able to use my Apple Watch (via Apple Pay) to pay for admission to the museum and buy a few books. Seriously?!? Come on, if I can use Apple Pay in a 150 year-old Pony Express barn why is it so blasted hard to get contactless payments in a major grocery store chain and at gas stations? In less than 2 months the Pony Express went from ZERO to operational back in the 1860s. Fast forward to 2019 and even after 5 years we can’t get contactless payments into many of our chain stores. Some of our current day retailers have a lot to learn from the folks that started the Pony Express about how to rapidly set something up. But the lesson should probably end there because the Pony Express only lasted about 18-months and I like my local grocery store chain (despite their draconian payment methods).