Apple Pay is now available in a sixth country; the city-state of Singapore. That means you can now use Apple’s payment solution in the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, as well as the island country.
Unfortunately you still cannot use Apple Pay in most of the world; including almost all of the European Union, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, India, Africa and Russia. The slow international rollout shows how long it takes the world to adopt new payment solutions and payment apps in particular.
The limited international use; and slow acceptance by retailers in the United States, are limiting Apple Pay’s usefulness. One has to wonder how much revenue it will actually add to Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) bottom line?
Apple Pay for the Unbanked
There is one interesting addition to Apple Pay in the United Kingdom, boon, a payment app for the poor. 9 to Five Mac reported that boon; a payment app that accesses a line of credit on a prepaid MasterCard account, can be accessed through Apple Pay in Britain.
Boon is offered by the German based money transfer company Wirecard AG (ETR: WDI). Boon offers contactless payments through Apple Pay in the UK and Android Pay in several countries including Germany. There’s no word on when boon or a similar product will be available through Apple in the US.
Boon is an important step because it allows the unbanked; persons without bank accounts or credit cards to participate in Apple Pay. Around one third of Americans; or 106 million people, are either unbanked or underserved by banks according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. That’s a huge market that Apple Pay currently cannot serve. This means that it will soon be possible to access Apple Pay without a bank account.
Bitcoin Visa now Here
Apple Pay is not the only payment solution that is expanding; the privately-held payment processor BitPay is rolling out a Visa debit card that can be loaded from Bitcoin. The BitPay Visa can be reloaded with Bitcoin, and used to make payments at any store that accepts Visa; which is virtually every store in the US.
It can also be used to withdraw cash from Visa ATMs; which is one of the cryptocurrency’s major flaws, Coin Desk reported. This solution may not seem like much; but it could be critical for getting everyday people to use Bitcoin. One of the limitations of the cryptocurrency is the difficulty of converting it to cash or using it for everyday purchases such as gasoline or groceries.
Around 120,000 transactions were made through BitPay in First Quarter 2016, Coin Desk reported. This makes BitPay a serious competitor to established payment processors such as PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) and American Express (NYSE: AXP).
It looks like bitcoin is coming of age; one has to wonder when bitcoin and Apple Pay will be integrated. If that would happen; Apple could become the king of payment processors. Although BitPay might take that honor soon, whether we like it or not the age of mobile payment has arrived.