First introduced in October 2014, Apple Pay has become one of the leading digital payment services for U.S. consumers, but it doesn’t yet dominate the global market. Chinese competitors WeChat Pay and Alipay have a combined 1 billion users, followed by PayPal with 210 million users and Apple with 87 million, as of August 2017. Apple is aggressively working to close that gap using a number of different tactics, and it’s working—kind of.
To start, Apple has worked on expanding its base by improving its compatibility with local financial institutions and credit cards so that the service is available to more iOS users. Every few weeks, Apple has extended Apple Pay to new banks and credit unions, and now more than 2,700 institutions support the service. It’s also been expanding to new countries, most recently Norway and Poland. And it has expanded beyond retail purchases to peer-to-peer payments, largely the domain of Venmo. Apple introduced Apple Pay Cash in December. To facilitate adoption, Apple Pay Cash is built directly into the Messages app, making it a more convenient, built-in payment option for iOS users to turn to when haggling bill details via text with friends.