Apple’s Apple Pay digital payment service is now available in Brazil thanks to a partnership with Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil’s largest private lender.
According to news from Reuters, Itaú Unibanco said Apple Pay is available to its 1.2 million cardholders for an exclusive 90-day period. Customers must have an iPhone 6 or higher. During this 90-day period, Brazilian retailers will provide a discount for purchases using Apple Pay. Google Pay launched in Brazil about a month ago, with Google’s parent company Alphabet inking a partnership with Bradesco SA, the country’s second-largest lender. Brazil is the first South American country to support Apple Pay.
Although Apple is inking deals overseas for its Apple Pay digital payment service, the mobile wallet has failed to take root in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Apple hopes to boost acceptance by prompting users of its iPhone with notifications to enroll in Apple Pay, which has created a mixed reaction from the public. The prompts to enroll are tied to the iPhone’s most recent operating system update, yet they’re subtle. The strategy works thusly: Users who do not enter their credit card information for Apple Pay upon setting up their phones will see a red circle that denotes incomplete setup. Some users also get notifications that stop only after entering the data. Apple, it should be noted, hopes to bring its $29 billion Apple Pay business line to $40 billion by fiscal year 2020.
The move is one that not only seeks to get users to adopt Apple Pay, but, of course, to staunch the efforts of its rivals, all by dint of hardware. In one interview with the WSJ, Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, said the tech giant’s actions — which were similarly undertaken by peers such as Amazon and Google — are tantamount to antitrust behavior. He likened Apple’s efforts to those of Microsoft’s bundling Internet Explorer with Windows decades ago. Kay said for the Department of Justice, in cases like this, “They used to have actual behavioral remedies and [said] you can’t do this.”