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Is Apple Pay really accepted at 1-out-of-2 retailers? Not in the real world

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Apple Pay[1] fascinates me. Because of the amount of travel my wife and I have been doing, we've been having some difficulties with credit card security. We've had a few instances now, in just the past year, where we've had to replace our cards.

While we can't be sure the hacks were due to skimmers, rather than just a breach at a retailer, Apple Pay (and its equivalent cashless tokenized transaction competitors) quite effectively remove one weak point in transaction security.

The only problem was that no one takes Apple Pay -- or at least that was my perception. Then, in January, Jennifer Bailey, Vice President of Internet Services, Apple Pay at Apple, speaking at a retailing show in New York, said that Apple Pay was accepted at one out of every two retailers[2].

I wasn't sure I believed that, so for the past few months, I've been putting that claim to the test. Since I'm not a particularly active shopper, it took me a few months to rack up a reasonable number of stores to test. At each store where I had a transaction to make, I attempted to do so using Apple Pay with my Apple Watch. Here's what I found out.

Costco[3]: No. The customer service person I asked told me they'd had a few customers ask about it, but, "Costco does things the way Costco does things."

Cost Plus World Market[4]: No. This is like a Pier One[5], with the addition of international snacks. When asked about Apple Pay, the cashier laughed and said the machines are old.


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