Is Apple Considering Using Charity to Push Apple Pay Use?

December 5, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

We all know about Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but Tuesday was also an event, though somewhat lesser-known, known as Giving Tuesday. Apple sent a load of emails out to its current customers, noting that they could put Apple Pay to work with this year’s Giving Tuesday. It promoted a slate of major charities from the American Red Cross to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, but could Apple actually put this concept to work to drive use of Apple Pay beyond Giving Tuesday?

That’s the notion advanced by a recent Business Insider report, which suggests that Apple could use charitable donations as a means to get more users interested in and actually using Apple Pay. The logic is built around a couple central tenets: not only is Apple Pay use sluggish, but it’s sluggish in an environment where mobile device spending is on the rise.

Mobile wallet adoption for Apple users is running about 25 percent. What’s worse, even that comparative handful that’s pulling out the wallet is only using it sporadically; users are seeing an average of 0.6 transactions per month. That’s a pretty weak user rate, and compares terribly to Samsung Pay, where the average transaction rate is about 1.3 per month. Still light, but vastly better than Apple Pay.

Rubbing salt into this particular wound is the fact that more people are using mobile devices for shopping. Purchases made on smartphones accounted for 40 percent of Black Friday sales, it was discovered this year—and that’s up 29 percent over 2016’s figures—which means people are clearly interested, but not so much in Apple Pay.

That could be a number of factors at work. People could be using the stores’ apps directly and routing purchases through a credit or debit card. People could be using the other mobile wallets out there—we’ve seen Samsung Pay’s doing almost double Apple’s business—or any of several other options. But Apple may be on to something by taking the concept of charitable donations and using these to fuel Apple Pay use.

It’s a noteworthy theory, anyway, and one Apple may put into practice. It’s certainly got to do something, lest it end up an also-ran in the market it had a hand in creating.