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Apple Pay will be available in a total of twenty-two countries by the turn of the year

Apple Pay will be launched in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates by the end of this year, Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri revealed on Tuesday last week. The announcement was made in passing between reports on the company’s third quarter financial results. Specific dates for release and names of cooperating banks are yet to be released.

Approximately three years ago, the United States became the first country to allow payments with Apple Pay, and since then several other countries and regions have followed lead. Soon thousands of residents in Finland might also be able to pay for purchases with their Apple device. In essence, Apple Pay works like your contactless bankcard, but instead of using a plastic credit or debit card you pay with your mobile phone and use either your fingerprint or a passcode to verify the payment.

Apple Pay uses digital wallet technology, which allows users to link their bank account directly to their Apple device. While this technology is already available to many Android users through mobile applications such as Nordea Pay and OP Pivo, the launch of Apple Pay will, for the first time, allow iPhone and Apple Watch users with Finnish bank accounts to complete in-store payments with their devices.

Most countries and regions where Apple Pay is available sport different regulations for its usage. Some require a PIN-code for purchases over a specific price, while others do not allow payments with Apple Pay after certain thresholds. While the specific regulations in Finland are yet to be revealed, the payment limit for Apple Pay is likely to be comparable to the national 25EUR threshold that is currently in place for contactless payments. Yet, regulations everywhere might well be subject to change; in the UK, for example, a majority of retailers are now accepting limitless payments with Apple Pay despite a national limit of 30GBP for contactless transactions.

When using Apple Pay, you are not paying more than you would if paying with any contactless debit or credit card. Instead of having the customer pay an extra fee, Apple derives a small percentage of the profit made through the interchange fees levied by the debit and credit card issuers on retailers. Once Apple reaches a deal with banks about adopting Apple Pay, all merchants with a payment terminal that supports near field communication technology and thus contactless payments can accept transactions via Apple Pay.

A study by Juniper Research estimates that Apple Pay will reach 86 million users by the end of this year. This means that Apple Pay will make up approximately 57 per cent of the overall market for digital wallets. As for Finland, it is yet to be seen whether Apple Pay will be a success story. Its success will partly depend on what the payment ceilings for in-store purchasing with Apple Pay are going to be. Until payments are unlimited, the dream of a wholly digital wallet remains restricted.

Kauppalehti was the first Finnish media outlet to report on the potential launch of Apple Pay in Finland.

Nicole Berglund
Helsinki Times