Apple Pay Adds a Few More Stores

The glacial speed at which retailers are added to Apple Pay does not seem to be improving, despite the vast number of banks that are accepting the app. A recent visit to Apple Pay’s website, shows little or no progress in getting American retail to sign on with the app.

The only large retailers recently added are Crate & Barrel and the Supervalu (NYSE: SVU) supermarkets. Supervalu’s supermarket brands; Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbachers, Shop N’ Save and Shoppers are now prominently displayed in the use Apple Pay in these stores: category. Conspicuously absent is Save a Lot the franchised chain of discount grocers that Supervalu also owns.

The problem is that these are regional supermarkets with limited numbers of stores compared to grocery giants such as Kroger (NYSE: KR) and Safeway. The only major grocers currently accepting Apple Pay are Winn Dixie, Whole Foods Markets (NYSE: WFM), Sprouts Farmers Market (NYSE: SFM) and the privately held Trader Joe’s. Several regional grocery chains like Stater Brothers Markets and Wegmans are also taking Apple Pay.

Entire Retail Sectors Missing from Apple Pay

Interestingly enough, Albertsons is still featured on Apple Pay’s “coming soon” list. The problem is that Albertsons has been on that list for over a year. Raley’s also appears on that list.

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Entire sectors of retail; including discount and home improvement are avoiding, Apple Pay. In others Apple has only been able to sign up just one or two players, for example; it signed up Walgreen (NASDAQ: WBA), but not its competitor CVS Health (NYSE: CVS).

Nor is that the biggest problem here, just .2% of US retail purchases were made with phones last year the eMarketer research firm estimated. That number still adds up to $8.7 billion but it is a tiny fraction of the $4.35 trillion spent in Us stores in 2015, The New York Times Dealbook reported.

To make matters worse, a large percentage of that spending was done through one app issued by Starbucks. That means that store based apps – and not digital wallets – could be the real future of phone payment.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) itself seems to realize this. Re/Code reported that the tech giant is planning to a feature that lets people pay use Apple Pay to pay with their fingerprints on mobile apps later this year. That could make it easier to add Apple Pay to Apps like Starbucks and Walmart Pay. It could also encourage more retailers to create apps.

Another reason for this is to speed up integration with Current C; the Merchant Customer Exchange’s answer to Apple Pay, that is being beta-tested in Columbus, Ohio. Current C is a mobile App; that is accepted at some big retailers that do not take Apple Pay, including Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club and CVS Health.

The major reason stores are not using Apple Pay is the high cost, Dealbook reported. The new apps integration could lower the cost and speed up the solution’s adoption. Apple needs to do something to boost Apple Pay’s use or this app could end up as little more than a curiosity.