Insight: Apple Buys Mobile-POS Firm as It Seeks to Expand Acceptance of Contactless Payments

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In a move seeking to expand the base of merchants that can accept its payments service, Apple Pay, Apple has reportedly acquired Montreal, Canada-based mobile POS company Mobeewave, which could enable small shop owners, restaurants and street vendors, among others, to more easily accept contactless EMV cards and NFC mobile wallets.

Mobeewave’s technology would enable merchants to use Apple’s NFC-enabled iPhones as certified POS terminals. The mobile-POS technology was already being rolled out by Apple rival Samsung starting last October for its smartphones. Samsung, whose venture capital arm invested in the 9-year-old fintech, had launched a pilot in Canada earlier last year before announcing last October that it would roll out the technology globally. It noted that there are 5.5 million small merchants and 25 million micro-merchants globally that could benefit from the technology. Bloomberg first reported the Apple acquisition on Saturday, estimating the purchase price at around US$100 million.

The acquisition is one more step by Apple into the payments industry. The tech giant launched Apple Pay in 2014 in the U.S., and has since expanded it globally. It added its own credit card issued by Goldman Sachs last year. One limiting factor for Apple Pay has been uneven merchant acceptance of contactless EMV cards and NFC wallets. In the U.S., contactless has grown substantially in the past six years and now is accepted by at least 80% of the top 100 merchants in terms of number of transactions (though not transaction value.) But these merchants are part of large chains. Most very small merchants in the U.S. and especially in developing countries do not accept contactless.

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