Say what you will about Apple, but when it throws one of its product rollout parties, almost everyone wants to play. With Apple’s first official step into mobile payments Tuesday (Sept. 9) and the unveiling of Apple Pay, few in payments wanted to be excluded. Although loyalty may not run deep—more than a few of those companies may abandon Apple at the first sign of trouble—there was no shortage of news release loyalists on Tuesday.
Amongst payments vendors, TSYS was among the first to offer its embrace. “TSYS’ support of Apple Pay is a landmark opportunity for us and demonstrates our people-centered approach to payments for all parties in the payments ecosystem,” said M. Troy Woods, president and chief executive officer, TSYS. “Our number one priority is security for the banks and retailers we serve, so their customers can conduct their lives with confidence and convenience. Apple Pay will change the face of the mobile payments industry and our role in the digital marketplace.”
NCR quickly followed: “With Apple Pay, Apple has transformed mobile payments and will have an impact on the industry like never before. We are thrilled to be working closely with Apple to help Retail and Hospitality customers integrate this new method of payment into their operations, providing an easy, safe and secure way to pay with a single touch,” said Jimmy Fortuna, Vice President of Product Development and Chief Technology Officer, NCR Hospitality. “We believe Apple Pay and Apple’s extraordinary reach among consumers will further enable NCR to create business-transforming innovations for our customers.”
Over at First Data, CEO Frank Bisignano was eager to match his lot with Apple’s. “Our overriding purpose is to help clients grow their businesses, and a key driver of that is through technology allowing card issuers and merchants, large and small, to bring new payment options to their customers, including revolutionary trends in mobile payments,” Bisignano added. “Staying ahead of these trends, as a grand collaborator, we are also giving developers tools they need to quickly and easily code and enable online and mobile payments, including Apple Pay.”
OTHER FINANCIAL PLAYERS
The key financial players were also abundantly in evidence in the virtual world of news releases, where making a statement is generally seen as making a statement.
MasterCard opened the compliment-fest. “Apple has a long tradition of introducing breakthrough products with features that really matter to people. Apple Pay, combined with MasterCard’s payments technology, gives consumers an easy, secure and private way to shop,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard. “We have been a pioneer of mobile commerce innovation for years – including the world’s first contactless and mobile payment solutions. We’re thrilled that MasterCard cardholders will soon be able to make payments from their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, knowing that every purchase is secure and offers all the same guarantees and benefits they’ve come to expect from using their MasterCard.”
And where MasterCard pontificates, can Visa be far behind? “Combining the trust, scale and security of Visa payments with Apple Pay will accelerate adoption of mobile payments,” said Charlie Scharf, Chief Executive Officer, Visa Inc. “We said from the beginning that token services would provide great new consumer and merchant experiences and you’re seeing it today in our efforts with Apple and there’s more to come.”
Wells Fargo took a little bit of a more broad position. “When we review mobile wallet providers, we look for payment safety, quality of service and ease of use for our customers. Apple Pay is a strong offering in those areas and we know our customers want and need this option as they live their increasingly digital lives,” said Jim Smith, head of Virtual Channels for Wells Fargo. “It is our priority to offer innovative technologies to meet our customers where they are – and for many, that’s on a mobile device. After all, a wallet may no longer be in your back pocket or purse – it’s in the palm of your hand alongside your GPS-enabled maps, camera, music, email, and social networks.”
Navy Federal spoke more about its members’ views than an industry take. “Our members live fast-paced and mobile lives. And they have enthusiastically adopted our mobile banking solutions. Now, with Apple Pay, they’ll be able to save time when shopping while having a safe and easy experience,” said Randy Hopper, vice president, credit cards and business optimization. “It’s an added layer of convenience and security that allows us to deepen our relationship with members.”
What’s in Capital One’s press release wallet? A lot of laser-focusing, apparently. “Working with Apple, were excited to bring Apple Pay to tens of millions of Capital One customers,” said Frank LaPrade, Chief Enterprise Services Officer, Capital One Financial Corporation. “We are laser-focused on the evolution of digital products and services. Our goal is to provide our customers with payment options that help them succeed and simplify their lives.”
U.S. Bank spoke of the massive coordination required to get this industry-wide support to happen. “Having been a part of a group of industry leaders paving the way to more convenient and secure mobile and online payments, it’s clear that Apple Pay is a tremendous step forward,” said Pamela Joseph, vice chair and head of the payments division at U.S. Bank. “Consumers are never far from their mobile devices, so making it safer and easier to pay with those devices is great news for our customers and for the industry. Combining Apple’s history of innovation with the scale and loyalty of U.S. Bank, Apple Pay has the ability to impact and drastically accelerate the adoption of mobile payments.”
And Citi was the only financial player to bring up music. (Remember when that was what everyone said when mentioning Apple?) “Citi has a long history of delivering choice and value through innovation that meets our cardmembers’ needs,” said Barry Rodrigues, Head of Enterprise Payments at Citi. “We are looking forward to delivering to our cardmembers another way to simply and quickly make payments for a broad range of purchases such as buying a coffee, groceries or purchasing digital music.”
But what would a payment mechanism be without merchants?
Staples was among the first to step up to the virtual podium. “Our customers will love the convenience of Apple Pay, which will offer an easier, faster and secure way to check-out at Staples,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president, global e-commerce, Staples Inc. “Staples planned launch of Apple Pay is the most recent example of our commitment to innovation that helps our customers make more happen with their business.”
Whole Foods, who rarely makes technology-oriented endorsements, made an exception for the fruit-named vendor and was the only retailer to mention the finger-touch element. “Our customers are going to love the convenience of Apple Pay, which will bring a faster, easier, more secure and private way to make purchases at Whole Foods Market,” said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. “We’re committed to providing innovative new choices and conveniences for our customers, and the ability to buy groceries with just a simple touch of a finger elevates convenience to a whole new level.”
Turning to the online-only world of merchants, OpenTable seemed to have no reservations (sorry about that) about the endorsement.”We’re thrilled to work with Apple closely to make our payment experience even more intuitive and seamless,” said Matt Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of OpenTable. “With Apple Pay, OpenTable app users can skip adding a card to their profile and simply settle their check with a single touch using iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, saving diners even more of their precious time.”
Tickets.com also weighed in: “We’re thrilled to again work closely with Apple as one of the first to implement Apple Pay,” said Joe Choti, CEO, Tickets.com. “With Apple Pay, millions of patrons will be able to check out with a single touch, making for a seamless, secure and convenient user experience.”
Groupon focused on the mobile aspects. “With nearly 92 million app downloads worldwide and more than half of our transactions occurring on mobile devices, Groupon is one of the largest mobile commerce companies in the world,” said Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky. “Bringing Apple Pay to the Groupon mobile app makes it easier than ever to find and buy the best things around you.”