Why Isn’t Chase Pay Taking Off?

November 20, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

It wasn’t so long ago that JP Morgan Chase joined the mobile payments hunt with its Chase Pay system. Recent reports, however, suggest that the new offering is going over like a lead balloon, and isn’t drawing much in the way of a user base. Analysis of the overall condition suggests one root cause that may be to blame: customers just aren’t that interested in Chase Pay.

The same reports that suggest customers don’t care also go to some lengths to absolve Chase Pay; it’s not that it’s lacking in features, the word is, as Chase Pay has done quite well in presenting a mobile payments solution that allows users to pay with a smartphone. It works not only with brick-and-mortar stores, reports note, but also with online operations, making it a fairly complete solution.

Funding isn’t a problem either; JP Morgan Chase has dropped a reported $100 million into the development of Chase Pay, and JP Morgan Chase itself counted about 18 cents on every dollar of credit card debt—and about 60 million total customers—to its credit. It even staged a fairly impressive marketing blitz featuring tennis star Serena Williams playing ping-pong.

In pursuit of new interest, the company is actively pulling in retailer partnerships to get its brand front and center with shoppers. Even PayPal’s getting on board with this, in a deal that makes Chase cards easier to add to its app while at the same time allowing users to use Chase rewards points through PayPal.

Essentially, Chase is discovering what a bundle of other also-rans have also found by now: when you’re late to a party, you better have more than just what everyone else brought, or no one’s going to care. Chase has seemingly all the advantages: a hefty user base, a massive promotional bankroll, and the will to use both. But as long as Chase is offering little more than table stakes, it’s not going to draw users.

Chase Pay may be working to improve on that, but until it can make a significant distinction, it’s not likely to get out of the doldrums it’s currently in. It’s got to differentiate itself sufficiently to be worth paying attention to, even among its own user base, a good portion of which has likely been using something else for months anyway.