Apple Pay activates 1m cards in just 72 hours, says Tim Cook

28 Oct 2014

Apple’s new contactless payments technology Apple Pay has been instrumental in enabling 1m cards for NFC mobile phone commerce in the US within its first 72 hours, according to CEO Tim Cook.

The news reveals Apple has taken a strong lead in the NFC contactless payments space.

It comes amid reports that some retailers in the US – including pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid – are working on a rival system as part of a consortium called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) which is developing a mobile payment system called CurrentC.

Either way Apple, which has MasterCard, Visa and American Express on side as well as signing up 500 US banks in the past month, is pleased with its progress. Apple also counters a myriad of prominent retailers from Disney to Walgreens and Home Depot as early customers of the new payment system.

The system uses a dedicated near field communication (NFC) chip called the Secure Element. For extra security Apple doesn’t store the credit-card numbers, just the device numbers.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJD Live event Cook said that within 72 hours of the service going live Apple has activated 1m cards.

Cook said he was inundated emails from customers who described the simplicity of paying for goods using their iPhone devices as sort of Eureka moment.

Describing the spat between Apple and retailers like CVS as a skirmish, Cook said he was confident the retailers would eventually come around.

Apple Pay image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years