Apple Pay, the mobile wallet launched by Apple in 2014, has quickly become the universal mobile wallet of choice for smartphone users in the United States. As of 2022, it far outpaces the market share and user base of competitors like Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
What is a mobile wallet?
Mobile wallets are virtual wallets that store payment card information onto a mobile device. Like Google and Samsung Pay, Apple Pay is a universal wallet. This means consumers can use Apple Pay to pay at a broad range of merchants that accept it.
In addition to universal mobile wallets like Apple Pay, there are retailer-specific mobile wallets. These are exactly what they sound like: mobile wallets that can be used at a specific retailer. The most popular retailer-specific mobile wallet is the Starbucks app, which had the highest number of mobile payment users in the U.S. until Apple Pay surpassed it in 2019.
How many users does Apple Pay have?
Apple Pay is the top mobile payment player in the United States, with 43.9 million users in 2021. In comparison, Google Pay and Samsung Pay had 25 million and 16.3 million users, respectively.
Apple Pay is more popular in-store than online. According to Mercator Advisory Group research, 28% of consumers used a universal wallet for an in-store purchase in 2020, up from 20% in 2018. Apple Pay came out as the leading choice, with 14% of surveyed consumers using it to make a purchase in-store in 2020. In comparison, 8% of smartphone users in the U.S. used Apple Pay to make an online purchase.
PULSE’s 2021 Debit Issuer Study found that Apple Pay dominated the mobile wallet space in 2020 for debit transactions, accounting for 92% of all mobile wallet debit transactions in the U.S. in the previous 12 months. “According to Statista, in June 2021 apple iOS had a 53.66% market share. Parlaying that into a 92% share of ‘mobile wallet transactions’ is remarkable,” commented Mercator Advisory Group VP of Payments Innovation Tim Sloane in a PaymentsJournal article.
Where is Apple Pay accepted?
As of 2022, most major retailers and merchants accept Apple Pay. By 2019, five years after Apple Pay’s release, 74 of the top 100 U.S. retailers by revenue accepted Apple Pay. By 2021, Apple Pay was an available payment option at 97 of 100 major retailers; in comparison, just 64% of those same retailers offered Google Pay and 59% offered Samsung Pay in 2021.
PaymentsJournal compiled a guide highlighting which quick service restaurants, third-party delivery apps, big box retailers, grocers, and pharmacies accept Apple Pay (and which do not.)
Acceptance at Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs)
What to know: Most fast food and other quick service restaurants accept Apple Pay, apart from Burger King and Wendy’s. Apple Pay is compatible with the reloadable retailer-specific mobile wallets of options like Dunkin’ and Starbucks.
|Quick Service Restaurant||Is Apple Pay accepted in-store?||Is Apple Pay accepted online or via a mobile app?||More Information|
|Burger King||No||No||Burger King payment acceptance|
|Chipotle||Yes||Yes||Chipotle payment acceptance|
|Dunkin’ Donuts||Yes, via Dunkin’ app||Yes||Dunkin’ Donuts payment acceptance|
|Jack in the Box||Yes||Yes||Jack in the Box payment acceptance|
|KFC||Yes||Yes||KFC payment acceptance|
|Little Caesars||Yes||Yes||Little Caesars payment acceptance|
|McDonald’s||Yes||Yes||McDonald’s payment acceptance|
|Panera||Yes||Yes||Panera payment acceptance|
|Starbucks||Yes, in participating locations||Yes||Starbucks payment acceptance|
|Taco Bell||Yes||Yes||Taco Bell payment acceptance|
|Wawa||Yes||Yes||Wawa payment acceptance|
|Wendy’s||No||No||Wendy’s payment acceptance|
Acceptance at third-party delivery apps
What to know: DoorDash, UberEats, and Instacart all accept Apple Pay. This makes it possible to use Apple Pay to make purchases at restaurants or grocers that may not accept it directly.
|Third-party food delivery app||Is Apple Pay accepted?||More information|
|DoorDash||Yes||DoorDash payment acceptance|
|Instacart||Yes||Instacart payment acceptance|
|Uber Eats||Yes||Uber Eats payment acceptance|
Acceptance at big box retailers
What to know: IKEA, Target, and Costco all accept Apple Pay. However, Apple Pay must be linked to a Visa debit or credit card if you are using it at Costco. Walmart does not accept Apple Pay, as it is pushing consumers to use the Walmart Pay mobile wallet.
|Big box retailer||Is Apple Pay accepted in-store?||Is Apple Pay accepted online or via a mobile app?||More information|
|Costco||Yes, but only if Apple Pay is linked to a Visa debit/credit card||Yes||Costco payment acceptance|
|IKEA||Yes||Yes||IKEA payment acceptance|
|Target||Yes||Yes||Target payment acceptance|
|Walmart||No||No||Walmart payment acceptance|
Acceptance at grocery stores
What to know: While Kroger does not accept Apple Pay in-store, it is an Instacart partner. This means you can pay for your Kroger order with Apple Pay if you place the order through Instacart. Albertsons, Aldi, and Publix all accept Apple Pay in-store.
|Grocery store||Is Apple Pay accepted in-store?||Is Apple Pay accepted online or via a mobile app?||More information|
|Albertsons||Yes||N/A||Albertsons payment acceptance|
|Aldi||Yes||N/A||Aldi payment acceptance|
|Kroger||No||N/A||Kroger payment acceptance|
|Publix||Yes||N/A||Publix payment acceptance|
Acceptance at pharmacies
What to know: According to its website, CVS does not accept Apple Pay online or via its mobile app, but it does accept Apple Pay in-store. Apple Pay can be used at Walgreens, but not for photo orders that are paid for online.
|Pharmacy||Is Apple Pay accepted in-store?||Is Apple Pay accepted online or via a mobile app?||More information|
|CVS||Yes||No||CVS payment acceptance|
|Walgreens||Yes||Yes, but not for photo orders purchased online||Walgreens payment acceptance|
Acceptance at gas stations
What to know: You can reload your 7-Eleven mobile app using Apple Pay to make payments in-store or utilize the mobile “Pay for fuel” feature to authorize a gas purchase from your phone. Apple Pay is accepted at Speedway and can be used to reload the Speedy rewards app.