Visa, MasterCard ‘excited’ by Apple Pay

Apple's April: Apple Watch, Apple Pay international, will we learn more on Beats, too?

Visa CEO, Charlie Scharf, is full of praise for Apple Pay, hinting the service will soon become international while also warning it won’t be the only mobile payments system in town. MasterCard CEO, Ajay Banga, made similar comments.


“We are very excited about what Apple is doing,” said Scharf. Visa is “very actively working with issuers in other parts of the world,” (on Apple Pay),” Scharf said.

Apple seems set to begin international roll out of Apple Pay from March. Previous reports have claimed the service is set to launch in Canada then, while in the UK The Telegraph has said UK banks are in talks with Apple toward a Q1/Q2 2015 launch of the service.

Just in time for the launch of the Apple Watch.

MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga said: “You saw Apple Pay talk about their mobile payment growth, and at the end of the day, yes, they’ve done a great job and it’s excited the market, but it’s still a very small percentage of what the total number of transactions are.”

Competitors are coming

In the US, Apple Pay has accounted for two of every three dollars spent through contactless payments on Visa, Mastercard, and American Express since the service launched in October, Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week. That’s big in the US, but in the context of payments on a global basis it remains relatively small, as MasterCard said.

Apple Pay’s success seems likely to be emulated internationally as the service rolls out elsewhere.

That’s not to say Apple will be the only game in town. Both Visa and MasterCard are “actively working” with other partners to put their payment solutions inside other systems. PayPal recently poached some some key executives from the Apple Pay team.

“On the topic of other people, whether its handset manufacturers or others, there is a very, very active dialogue that’s going on,” the Visa boss said. Visa expects to deliver similar tokenization technologies for what Scharf called “browser-enabled solutions” later this year.

It is widely known that Samsung wants to be able to offer their own mobile payments services in order to continue to appear to be a viable Apple competitor for a little longer.

Good luck with that.

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