New Ad Highlights Apple Pay Adoption Among Small Businesses

Soon after Apple Pay was activated last month, it quickly became apparent that not everyone was ready to embrace the new mobile payments system. Many merchants that support a competing mobile payments system called CurrentC have refused to accept Apple Pay, with some retailers even removing the Near Field Communications (NFC) readers required for Apple Pay from their stores. CurrentC is being developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a consortium of merchants that wants a mobile payments system that eliminates or reduces the fees paid to credit card networks. Apple Pay still allows credit card companies to collect their usage fees from merchants every time a purchase is made.

As a result, many large retailers have refused to adopt Apple Pay, even while the credit card industry has been urging customers to use the new mobile payments system. Last month, MasterCard released several television commercials promoting Apple Pay by offering Major League Baseball-related perks. MasterCard’s series of “Priceless Surprises” commercials revealed that baseball fans who use Apple Pay could win World Series tickets, or have a chance to meet legendary sports figures like Tommy Lasorda, Mariano Rivera, and George Brett.

Now, in a new marketing campaign described by advertising industry news site AdAge, Chase is also starting to promote Apple Pay. As seen in the video above, Chase created a commercial that shows indie pop band Bleachers using Chase’s Freedom credit cards via Apple Pay in various small businesses, including a barbershop, a guitar repair shop, and a restaurant. As noted on Chase’s website, small merchants that need a contactless point-of-sale system can acquire an Apple Pay-compatible terminal called Future Proof from the financial institution.

“We’ve been working with Apple for a long time — over a year — on this partnership,” Chase Chief Brand Officer Susan Canavari told AdAge. “We thought about their values as well as ours, and we both focus on our customers.”

While the ad was created by creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi, the company noted that Apple had final say on the commercial’s content. “Our concepts went to Phil [Schiller], our storyboards went to Phil and someone from the brand team was on the shoot, so they were involved there too,” said Canavari. The ad agency said that all of the small businesses featured in the commercial are actual Chase customers that now accept Apple Pay.

While the growing number of merchants and financial institutions listed on Apple’s website show that Apple Pay is steadily gaining support from large businesses, Chase’s marketing campaign demonstrates that the new mobile payments system is also acquiring support from small business owners. Apple Pay will likely be adopted by even more small businesses next year, when Square plans to update its register hardware to accept NFC-based forms of payments, Square CEO Jack Dorsey recently told CNN.

Both initiatives could help give Apple Pay a major share of the burgeoning mobile payments industry that is expected to be worth $721 billion and have more than 450 million users by 2017, according to market research firm Gartner.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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