Apple Pay Rolling Out in Czech Republic and Saudi Arabia

Apple Pay is rolling out to users in Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic, according to multiple reports from tipsters and posts across social media this morning.



Apple's digital payment system already appears to be active for a number of banks and financial services across both countries. In Czech Republic, users have so far reported successfully adding cards to their mobile wallets from Air Bank, MONETA Money Bank, Ceska sporitelna, and payments company Twisto.

When Apple Pay was rumored to be coming to the country in late February, support for the country's two largest banks Česká spořitelna and Komerční banka was mooted, so hopefully they'll also be added to the "active" list soon.

Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, Apple's regional Apple Pay website has gone live and lists Visa and Mastercard support for Al Rajhi Bank, NCB, MADA, Riyad Bank, Alinma Bank, and Bank Aljazira.

Apple said in October that Apple Pay would be "coming soon" to the country, and reports are coming in from users who have successfully registered cards with Apple Pay issued by the above banks.


Apple's website also lists several supporting outlets in the country, including Carrefour, counterpoint, KFC, Bershka, baby shop, MacDonalds, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, among others.

Apple Pay has been gradually expanding across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The service launched in Belgium and Kazakhstan in November and made its long-awaited debut in Germany the following month.

Apple Pay first launched in the United States in October 2014, and has since expanded to many other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Japan, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Poland, Ireland, and Ukraine.

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Apple Pay Holdout Kroger Launches New ‘Kroger Pay’ Service

Popular grocery store chain Kroger has launched a new mobile payments service called Kroger Pay, which it will be using in lieu of Apple Pay.

According to a WCPO, a local Cincinnati news site, Kroger Pay launched in Columbus and Colorado today, but will be expanding to all Kroger stores by the end of the year.


Kroger Pay is QR-based, so to pay, users need to open up the app and generate a single-use QR code that's scanned at checkout when making a purchase.

Kroger customers can link any major debit or credit card to the Kroger Pay app, and it also includes a Kroger Rewards debit card for earning fuel points and other rewards with purchases.
"Kroger Pay is one of the few mobile wallets that pairs loyalty and payment," said Mary Ellen Adcock, group vice president of operations. "The application of this exciting technology is another step in our front-end experience transformation."
With Kroger embracing its own payment solution, it looks like the grocery store chain has no plans to introduce support for Apple Pay. Kroger did test support for Apple Pay in stores that support contactless payments, but reportedly discontinued the program "due to little interest by customers."

Kroger in 2018 told a Reddit user that it did not have plans to implement Apple Pay in any of its stores.

Kroger has been working on its payments service for more than two years, and has been accepting the Chase Pay digital wallet since 2017.

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Apple Pay Expands to BNP Paribas and HSBC Banks in France

Apple Pay adoption received a big boost in France today as two major banks officially announced their support for Apple's mobile payment system.


HSBC officially launched a dedicated support page for Apple Pay, confirming an earlier discovery by French tech news site iphon.fr.

Meanwhile, BNP Paribas made good on an announcement last month to bring Apple Pay support to its customers by announcing the compatibility of its Visa bank card with Apple's digital wallet on compatible Apple devices.


BNP Paribas and HSBC join 25 other banks that support Apple Pay in the country, although Apple has yet to update its European Apple Pay bank partners page to reflect the change.

Apple Pay first launched in the United States in October 2014 and has since expanded to many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Japan, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Poland, Ireland, and Ukraine.

(Thanks, Adrian!)

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Target Begins Apple Pay Rollout at Select Locations

Target last month announced that it would begin accepting Apple Pay at all of its stores in the coming weeks. That rollout has now begun.


MacRumors readers have shared photos of NFC-enabled payment terminals at select Target stores in the Northeast and Midwest, including the White Plains, New York location below. The updated interface indicates that Apple Pay is accepted along with Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and contactless credit cards.


The blog Appleosophy also ran a story about the rollout that was picked up on Reddit, where some commenters said that Apple Pay was not yet available at their local Target stores, so this appears to remain a work in progress.

A spokesperson for Target confirmed with MacRumors that REDcards cannot be added to Apple Pay as part of the rollout, although future support is not ruled out. REDcards are Target-branded credit and debit cards, offering an automatic five percent off most purchases at its stores everyday.

Target was one of the largest Apple Pay holdouts in the United States. The retailer was initially committed to the failed CurrentC platform alongside other large chains such as Walmart, Best Buy, CVS, Rite-Aid, Publix, and 7-Eleven.

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Apple Pay Promo Offers 20% Discount on Fanatics Purchases

Apple today sent out its latest Apple Pay promo, which is offering Apple Pay users a 20 percent discount on a purchase of $25 or more from the Fanatics app or the Fanatics website in celebration of the upcoming Super Bowl.

Fanatics is a site that offers up team-themed gear for sports fans. The site has partnerships with the NFL, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, NBA, and more.


To get the 20 percent discount, customers will need to make a purchase of $25 or more in the Fanatics app or the Fanatics website using Apple Pay, and the code "APPLEPAY" will need to be used at checkout.

The discount will be available until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on February 3, and certain brands and merchandise will be excluded.

Apple's email also references other game day-themed apps, including DoorDash, Gametime, and Little Caesars.

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Los Angeles Metro Transit System Plans to Support Apple Pay This Fall

The Los Angeles rail and bus transit system should allow iPhone-owning members of the public to use Apple Pay for fare payments before the year is out.


MacRumors can confirm that LA Metro, the transit agency that manages integration of the TAP card system in the Los Angeles Area, said it is working with Apple to support mobile payments for iPhones, with rollout scheduled for this fall. The information was obtained in a public information request under California law.

The support comes as part of a major update to the TAP system currently underway, which includes upgraded fare boxes across the transit system that will receive real-time data about fares purchased by the public online, a new TAP mobile app with TAP Wallet support to debut in late summer, and eventual support for Android phones with NFC, although the timeframe for the latter is unknown.

Apple Pay support would enable commuters to hold a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch near a TAP card reader to pay their fare on buses and at turnstiles in subway stations throughout the TAP system.

The process is similar to using Apple Pay for in-store payments. Depending on the iPhone, that means double-pressing the home button or side button, authenticating with Touch ID or Face ID, and holding the device near the card reader. Apple Watch payments are also activated by double-pressing the side button.

Los Angeles would join a handful of cities with transit systems that already support Apple Pay, including Chicago, Portland, and Salt Lake City in the United States, Beijing and Shanghai in China, and other global cities like London and Tokyo.

LA Metro's introduction of Apple Pay support is expected to increase public use of the transit system, which despite offering good accessibility, has seen its ridership figures wane in recent years.

A 2016 study by the University of Minnesota found the LA Metro to be the third most comprehensive system in the entire United States. However, in a metropolitan area of 13 million people, only about 360,000 people use rail on an average weekday, and just 855,000 ride the bus.

By contrast, in New York City, which has a population of around nine million, about five million people ride the subway on an average weekday.

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Apple Pay Users Can Get 10% Off Purchases in Under Armour App This Week

The latest Apple Pay promotion offers 10 percent off Under Armour purchases.


The 10 percent offer will automatically be applied in the Under Armour app at checkout with the use of Apple Pay through January 31, 2019 in the United States, according to Apple. The offer is not valid at Under Armour retail stores.

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Apple Highlights Apple Pay Cash in New YouTube Videos

Apple today uploaded several new videos to its YouTube channel, each one designed to show off the Apple Pay Cash feature available on iOS devices.

Each 15 second video demonstrates the process of requesting and spending money using Apple Pay Cash in the Messages app, and then using the Apple Pay Cash card in Wallet to make purchases.




This isn't the first time that Apple has highlighted Apple Pay Cash, which was first introduced in iOS 11.2. The feature lets iPhone and iPad users send peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments to one another using the Messages app.

Money received via Apple Pay Cash can be used for Apple Pay payments or deposited in a bank account, similar to other mobile peer-to-peer payment services like Venmo.

Apple Pay Cash is limited to the United States at this time, but the feature has been popping up for users in countries like Canada and Australia, suggesting Apple is working on expanding it.

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Target Confirms Apple Pay Rollout Won’t Include REDcard

Target yesterday announced that all of its stores will begin accepting Apple Pay in the coming weeks, but it still won't be possible to add its store-branded REDcard debit or credit cards to the Apple Wallet app. REDcard is Target's loyalty program, offering an automatic five percent off most purchases everyday.


"REDcards cannot be added to Apple Pay as part of this rollout," a Target spokesperson confirmed with MacRumors today.

This means paying with a REDcard will still require inserting the physical card into the payment terminal or adding it to Target's mobile app and having the cashier scan a barcode at the checkout. The latter method requires opening the Target app and tapping on the Wallet tab to access the barcode.


Both options are less convenient than Apple Pay, which requires a quick double-click of the side button and authentication with Face ID on the iPhone X and newer, or briefly resting your finger on Touch ID on older iPhones.

Target already suggested that REDcards would not support Apple Pay on Twitter, but its "at this time" phrasing wasn't entirely clear.

Of course, Target could decide to allow REDcards to be added to the Apple Wallet app in the future. The retailer had avoided accepting Apple Pay entirely for several years until reversing course with this week's announcement, so it might be only a matter of time before it changes its mind again.

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Australia’s Commonwealth Bank Now Supports Apple Pay

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) today implemented support for Apple Pay, making it the second of Australia's "Big Four" banks to offer the payments service. CBA is the biggest retail bank in Australia and was a notable Apple Pay holdout.

Multiple MacRumors readers in Australia have reported being able to add their Commonwealth Bank cards to Apple Pay, and Commonwealth Bank is listed as a partner on Apple's Apple Pay site in Australia.


Commonwealth Bank first announced plans to support Apple Pay last month, giving in to consumer demand after a years-long dispute with Apple over fees and access to the NFC chips in iPhones.

When announcing Apple Pay support, Commonwealth Bank Group Executive of Retail Banking services Angus Sullivan said that the bank had heard many requests from customers asking for Apple Pay, leading to its implementation.
"We are committed to making changes that benefit our customers and simplify our business. We will continue to look for more opportunities to innovate and listen, to ensure our customers get the best experience when they bank with us. Responding to customer demand for Apple Pay underscores our commitment to becoming a better, simpler bank.
Commonwealth Bank, along with NAB and Westpac, tried to collectively bargain with Apple to attempt to force Apple to open up the iPhone's NFC capabilities to support other digital wallets, like those offered by the banks themselves.

Apple said that this would be harmful to consumers and would stifle innovation, a position that Australian regulators agreed with when denying the banks authorization for collective bargaining.


ANZ was the only one of the four major banks in Australia to support Apple Pay when it launched in the country in April 2016. Other smaller banks later implemented support, but Commonwealth, NAB, and Westpac continued to hold out amid negotiations.

It's not clear if NAB and Westpac will implement support now that Commonwealth Bank has done so.

Bankwest in Australia is also now supporting Apple Pay, along with ASB Bank Limited in New Zealand and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Canada. Multiple smaller banks in the U.S. have implemented Apple Pay support as well, with a full list available on Apple's website.

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