As of today, Best Buy customers can use Apple Pay on their iPhone 6 or 6+ to buy electronics online, with the physical stores to follow later this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on today’s Apple earnings call and Best Buy confirmed.
This is kind of a big deal.
Best Buy was a huge booster of the not-yet-released CurrentC, a mobile payment service pushed by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) — a company created by big businesses like Walmart, 7-Eleven, and CVS drug stores that weren’t totally comfortable with how much control Apple Pay would give Apple over the burgeoning mobile payments market, not to mention the processing fees they were missing out on.
When CurrentC was first introduced back in late 2014, Best Buy threw all of its considerable weight behind it.
Where most mobile payment systems, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, only make you wave your phone in the general direction of the payment pad, CurrentC makes you scan a QR code displayed on your phone. If you’ve ever used the Starbucks app to pay for a cup of coffee, you’ve used a system very much like CurrentC.
But today, while mobile payments is still a very young industry, with relatively little adoption overall, the numbers of people who want to buy physical stuff with their phones is only growing.
And despite a late entry, Apple Pay is the far and away leader in mobile payments. CurrentC has been criticised as cumbersome and insecure.
Best Buy may not like it, but at this stage, it needs Apple Pay if it wants to keep up. And if other major retailers swallow the bitter pill, it could be a sign of things to come.
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