Apple Pay Expanding to China, Possibly France and Canada’s Big Banks

Apple Pay has launched in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia to date, and the mobile payments service could expand to a fifth country this week: China. A customer service representative for China’s Guangfa Bank, using the bank’s public WeChat account, appears to have confirmed that Apple Pay will officially go live in the world’s most populous country on February 18 at 5:00 a.m. local time.

(Image: Sina via Tech in Asia)

Apple previously announced that Apple Pay will expand to China in early 2016 in partnership with UnionPay, a state-run interbank network that holds a monopoly on the country’s credit and debit card processing. UnionPay cardholders will be able to use Apple Pay on iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad – the latter for in-app purchases only. iOS 9.2 or watchOS 2.1 or later will be required, according to the screenshot.

In November, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple reached deals with China’s big four state-run banks, including the Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Agricultural Bank of China, to launch its iPhone-based payments service in the country. The report said Apple Pay could launch by the weeklong Chinese New Year, which concluded on February 13.

That prospective date has since passed, but a pair of YouTube videos surfaced in January that appeared to show Apple Pay working with UnionPay bank cards in China for both in-store and in-app purchases. It is possible that Apple soft launched Apple Pay in China with select participating issuers in order to test the payments service, ahead of its official launch in the country in a few days.

Meanwhile, French website iGeneration claims that Apple is preparing to launch Apple Pay in France and could make an announcement in the first half of 2016 – perhaps at WWDC in June. The report claims it is unclear when Apple Pay will become available in French stores, nor does it have information about which banks and participating issuers will support the service upon launch.

Last, new evidence has been uncovered that hints at Apple Pay support coming to Canada’s big banks. Specifically, Twitter user ChaseFromm2016 recently discovered a „NetworkInterac“ string hidden in iOS 9.2.1 code, as shared by the blog iPhone in Canada. The same string was also shared on Chinese website Feng last month, in the screenshot pictured right, according to the report.

(Image: iPhone in Canada)

Interac is Canada’s official debit card network, adopted by the country’s largest banks and credit unions nationwide, including BMO, CIBC, Desjardins, Meridian, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust, and many others. TD Canada Trust already stirred speculation in October when it inadvertently listed Apple Pay as a method of payment on its website, before quickly removing it.

Apple Pay is currently limited to American Express cardholders in Canada and Australia, and the same partnership will be extended to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain later this year. Apple Pay is now available at more than 2 million retail locations, and Au Bon Pain, Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A, Cinnabon, Chili’s, KFC, and Starbucks stores now do or soon will accept the payments service in the U.S.

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Apple Pay hits 2 million locations as Chick-fil-A and more jump aboard

iPhone users will soon be able to get their chicken fix without busting out their wallets. Apple revealed today that Apple Pay is now accepted at more than 2 million locations across the US, and it’s continuing to grow by adding new retailers like fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, Crate & Barrel, as well as Au Bon […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Pay hits 2 million locations as Chick-fil-A and more jump aboard

Apple Pay Coming Soon to Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain

Apple Pay is now available at more than 2 million retail locations, with merchants such as Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain set to accept the system in stores imminently, reports The Business Times.

Online clothing retailer Zappos.com also added Apple Pay to its iPhone and iPad apps on Tuesday, following a number of requests from customers to use the feature.

The announcement by Apple comes alongside news that the mobile payment service exceeded the company’s goal to make it available at 1.5 million locations by the end of 2015. In-app purchases using the service also more than doubled in the last six months of 2015 compared with the first half, says the company.

Despite the upbeat announcement, Apple still has work to convince U.S. customers to use Apple Pay at retail stores. According to a survey by consumer researcher Pymnts and InfoScout, 16.6 percent of people who own newer iPhones tried Apple Pay in October, an increase from 9 percent in November 2014.

Apple Pay is set to expand to China early this year, making it the fifth country to adopt the payments service since its U.S. launch in October 2014. The service expanded to the United Kingdom in July 2015, followed by Australia and Canada last November in partnership with American Express. Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain are also expected to gain support later this year.

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Apple Pay Coming Soon to Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain

Apple Now Selling Square’s New NFC Reader for Apple Pay and Contactless Payments

Square has announced that its new NFC reader that enables small businesses to accept Apple Pay, Android Pay, and other contactless payments can now be purchased from Apple online or in U.S. stores for $49.

The reader is compatible with NFC-equipped smartphones, including the iPhone 6 or newer, and contactless EMV chip debit and credit cards based on technologies like American Express ExpressPay, MasterCard PayPass, and Visa payWave.

The small square-shaped reader functions like other NFC-enabled payment terminals, allowing users to wave an iPhone, paired Apple Watch, or contactless EMV chip card near the reader for a few seconds to complete a purchase.

The NFC reader, which connects wirelessly with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth, also works with EMV chip cards that are inserted for Chip-and-Signature payments. Square includes a magstripe reader in the box for accepting traditional swipe payments as well.

Apple Pay is accepted at more than 1 million locations in the U.S., but its early rollout has mostly been limited to larger franchises. Square’s new NFC reader, and similar products, will help expand Apple Pay to smaller businesses across the country.

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Apple Now Selling Square’s New NFC Reader for Apple Pay and Contactless Payments

Wells Fargo and Bank of America to Add Apple Pay Support to ATMs

Bank of America and Wells Fargo are working on implementing Apple Pay into their ATMs, reports TechCrunch, citing a source with knowledge of the project. Both companies are said to have engineers working on the technology that would likely allow Apple Pay to be used at an ATM in place of a physical debit card.

When questioned about the possibility of Apple Pay at ATMs, Wells Fargo head of ATMs Jonathan Velline suggested the information was accurate and that Wells Fargo was working on adding support for mobile wallets that would meet all of its customers needs.

Wells Fargo’s head of ATMs Jonathan Velline implied Apple Pay would come to its ATMs. He confirmed that „We’ve been working on the technology that allows us to hook to digital wallets, leveraging NFC on mobile phones to replace the card at the transaction at the ATM. Right now the wallet that we support is Android Pay.“ […]

„But we’re also looking at lots of different mobile wallets and evaluating which ones are going to be appropriate for our customers. We’ll likely add more mobile wallets throughout the year.“

Bank of America was less forthcoming about its plans, but told TechCrunch the company is developing a cardless ATM solution that would let customers use NFC technology on their smartphones to authenticate and complete transactions at Bank of America ATMs. The company would not confirm which phones it will work with.

Bank of America plans to begin rolling out its cardless ATM solution starting in late February at ATMs in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Charlotte, New York, and Boston before a wider rollout set to take place in mid-2016. Wells Fargo did not provide information on when it plans to implement its NFC-based card replacement feature.

Apple Pay at ATMs would be a big win for Apple, given their prevalence across the United States. Wells Fargo has more than 12,800 ATMs, while Bank of America has more than 16,000.

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Wells Fargo and Bank of America to Add Apple Pay Support to ATMs

Apple Pay Gains Over 50 New U.S. Banks and Credit Unions

Apple updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list today with 51 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has over 950 participating issuers nationwide, and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.

The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it’s worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple’s website.

The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:

Achieve Financial Credit Union

Advantage Federal Credit Union

Alloy Federal Credit Union

Altoona First Savings Bank

Altura Credit Union

Amalgmated Bank of Chicago

Associated Credit Union of Texas

Bank of Ann Arbor

Beehive Federal Credit Union

Brand Banking Company

Business Bank of St. Louis

Capitol Credit Union

Charlotte State Bank & Trust

Citizens Bank (AL)

Citizens Savings Bank

Community Credit Union

Credit Union of Texas

Earthmover Credit Union

Employment Security Credit Union

Family Trust Federal Credit Union

First Community Bank of Beemer

First Interstate Bank

First Service Federal Credit Union

First State Community Bank

Fort Community Credit Union

Georgia Bank and Trust

HomeStar and Financial Services

Houston Highway Credit Union

IDB-IIC Federal Credit Union

Katahdin Federal Credit Union

Lion’s Share Federal Credit Union

Mainstreet Community Bank of Florida

Marine Bank & Trust

Marine Federal Credit Union

Monona State Bank

Navy Army Community Credit Union

Northway Bank

Plaza Park State Bank

Reliant Community Credit Union

Security Bank and Trust Company

Silver State Schools Credit Union

Spencer County Bank

Summit Community Bank

Sundance State Bank

The Commerce Bank of Washington

Tioga State Bank

Torrance Community Credit Union

Total Community Credit Union

Triangle Credit Union

United Community Bank

USNY Bank

Apple is committed to an international expansion of Apple Pay, having launched the mobile payments service in Australia and Canada in November in partnership with American Express. Apple Pay is also coming to Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain this year, and the service will launch in China in early 2016 in partnership with UnionPay.

Apple Pay gained support for BJ’s Wholesale Club private label credit cards and 66 new U.S. issuers on December 15, plus nearly another 60 issuers on January 5. On the merchant side, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Domino’s, KFC and Starbucks will support Apple Pay in the U.S. starting this year.

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Apple Pay Gains Over 50 New U.S. Banks and Credit Unions

New 4-Inch ‘iPhone 5e’ Could Feature A8 Chip, 1GB of RAM, Apple Pay and VoLTE Calling

Chinese website cnBeta [Google Translate] is the latest source to claim Apple will release a new 4-inch iPhone early this year. The blog, citing Foxconn sources, shared many new details about the so-called „iPhone 5e“ that we have broken down for comparison against previous 4-inch iPhone rumors below.

iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, both released in 2013

„iPhone 5e“ vs. „iPhone 6c“

Apple’s next-generation 4-inch iPhone has been given several names, including „iPhone 6c,“ „iPhone 7c“ and „iPhone 5s Mark II,“ but this is the first report where it has been called „iPhone 5e.“

The website claims „iPhone 5e“ will represent an „enhanced“ iPhone 5s and replace the latter in Apple’s smartphone lineup once released. iPhone 5e would be Apple’s new entry-level handset.

A8 Chip with 1GB of RAM

The report says the „iPhone 5e“ will be powered by Apple’s 64-bit A8 chip and 1GB of RAM. Apple devices with an A8 chip: iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad mini 4, Apple TV 4, iPad Air 2 and the newest iPod touch.

Japanese website Mac Otakara also said the new 4-inch iPhone will have an A8 chip, without disclosing potential RAM, while Chinese website MyDrivers said the device will have an A9 processor and 2GB of RAM.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said the 4-inch iPhone will have an A9 chip in a research note to investors, but that appears to be more of a prediction rather than supply chain evidence.

16GB/64GB Storage

The report claims the „iPhone 5e“ will have 16GB base storage, with a 64GB model also available. Chinese website MyDrivers also said the new 4-inch iPhone will have 16GB base storage.

iPhone 5s Camera

„iPhone 5e“ will have the same rear-facing 8-megapixel iSight camera as the iPhone 5s, according to the report. If the „iPhone 5e“ proves to be an „enhanced“ iPhone 5s, then this makes sense.

No other reputable iSight camera rumors have surfaced about the new 4-inch iPhone, but Mac Otakara said the device will have an improved FaceTime HD camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture.

Slightly Thinner and Lighter

The report claims the „iPhone 5e“ will be lighter, implying that it will likely also be thinner. Mac Otakara previously reported the new 4-inch iPhone will resemble a sixth-generation iPod touch.

Mac Otakara now says the new 4-inch iPhone will have dimensions of 122.90 mm ​​x 57.63 mm, which is fractionally thinner than the iPhone 5s. Apple could use 2.5D cover glass like the iPhone 6s.

Apple Pay

Apple will reportedly add NFC and Touch ID to the „iPhone 5e“ to support Apple Pay, which is not available on the iPhone 5s unless paired with an Apple Watch.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also claimed the new 4-inch iPhone will feature Apple Pay to complete Apple’s lineup of NFC-enabled devices.

VoLTE Calling

The report claims the „iPhone 5e“ will support VoLTE calling, allowing for wideband, high-quality phone calls on select carriers in the U.S. and nine other countries.

Rose Gold and Colors

The report corroborates previous rumors claiming the new 4-inch iPhone will be available in Rose Gold and other existing iPhone colors.

Multiple reports claim the device will have an anodized aluminum finish like the iPhone 5s, rather than plastic casing like the budget iPhone 5c.

Pricing and Availability

The report claims the „iPhone 5e“ will launch in February-March, possibly around the Chinese New Year, lining up with multiple other reports claiming the new 4-inch iPhone will launch in early 2016.

Pricing could start at around 3,288 yuan ($500 U.S.).cnBeta accurately reported on the iPhone 6s Plus’s packaging and smaller battery, but also incorrectly claimed the A8 chip would top 2 GHz a few years ago.

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Tags: cnBeta.com, iPhone 5e, VoLTE
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New 4-Inch ‘iPhone 5e’ Could Feature A8 Chip, 1GB of RAM, Apple Pay and VoLTE Calling

Apple Pay Gains 40 New Participating U.S. Issuers

Apple has updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list with 40 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has nearly 800 participating issuers nationwide, and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.

The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it’s worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple’s website.

The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:

American Heritage Federal Credit Union

Associated Credit Union

Bangor Savings Bank

Bank of Bourbonnais

Bank of Clovis

Bank of the Pacific

Baton Rouge Telco Federal Credit Union

BHCU

Cardinal Bank

Corning Credit Union

First Financial Credit Union (IL)

First National Bank of Trenton

First Nations Bank

First Republic Bank

Flint Area School Employees Credit Union

Glass City Federal Credit Union

Guaranty Bank and Trust Company

Hawthorn Bank

Hills Bank and Trust Company

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

Leader Bank, N.A.

Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union

Midcoast Federal Credit Union

Oatworth Capital Bank

Ohio Valley Bank

Partnership Financial Credit Union

Penn Liberty Bank

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union

Prime Merdian Bank

Reading Cooperative Bank

Republic Bank

Section 705 Federal Credit Union

Secured Advantage Federal Credit Union

Southern Bank

Southwest Missouri Bank

TowneBank

West Plains Bank and Trust Company

WesTex Federal Credit Union

Wilmington Savings Fund Society

WSFS Bank

Apple is committed to an international expansion of Apple Pay, having launched the mobile payments service in Australia and Canada last month in partnership with American Express. Apple Pay is also coming to Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain in 2016, and is rumored to launch in China by February 2016.

On the merchant side, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Domino’s, KFC and Starbucks will support Apple Pay in the U.S. starting in 2016.

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Apple Pay Gains 40 New Participating U.S. Issuers

JCPenney Testing Apple Pay Support for Store Cards, Nationwide Rollout Coming in Spring 2016

JCPenney has started testing its store credit cards with Apple’s Apple Pay payments service, allowing customers at one location in Texas to add their JCPenney charge cards to Apple Pay. Customers in the Dallas–Fort Worth area visiting the JCPenney store at The Village at Fairview are able to participate in the Apple Pay pilot program, which is set to roll out to stores nationwide in the spring of 2016.

Customers with a JCPenney charge card receive a notice about the Texas pilot program when attempting to add a JCPenney card to Apple Pay using the Wallet app. The notification also includes details about the full launch of the JCPenney Apple Pay service.

Apple Pay support for store credit cards is a new feature, introduced alongside iOS 9 but announced at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Thus far, Kohl’s is the only major retailer that currently allows its store cards to be added to Apple Pay, but both Kohl’s and JCPenney have been touted as the two major partners for the feature.

iOS 9 also brought Apple Pay support for in-store loyalty cards, allowing customers to add their rewards cards to the Wallet app to further cut down on the number of physical cards that must be carried. Walgreens is the first retailer to support the Apple Pay rewards program.

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JCPenney Testing Apple Pay Support for Store Cards, Nationwide Rollout Coming in Spring 2016