Best Buy Joins the Apple Pay Movement

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Add Best Buy to the list of retailers helping Apple Pay become the first mobile-payments system to catch on at cash registers in the United States.

The electronics retailer, with more than 1,400 stores in the United States and 200 more in Canada and Mexico, has announced that Apple’s card-free payment tool is now accepted on the Best Buy mobile app.

All U.S. brick-and-mortar Best Buys will begin accepting Apple Pay later this year.

“Today’s consumers have many different ways to spend their money and we want to give our customers as many options as possible in how they pay for goods and services at Best Buy,” the company said in a news release.

Looking to keep up with the wave of competition from online retailers, Best Buy plans to open a technology-innovation office in Seattle this summer “and will continue to implement new tools to enhance the customer experience in this important growth area,” the company said.

In addition to enabling one-touch payments through retailers’ apps, Apple Pay uses near-field communication technology, which lets users pay by simply waving their iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch near a sensor on a cash register outfitted to use the system.

With the announcement, Best Buy joins other major retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Disney, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Whole Foods and Walgreen’s. Companies that also plan to add Apple Pay support include Carmike Cinemas, Marriott, Regal Cinemas and T-Mobile, according to Apple’s website.

On Monday, Discover announced that its cards will begin working with Apple Pay this fall. Discover joins MasterCard, Visa and American Express in becoming Apple Pay-capable, meaning that all four of the major credit card networks in the United States will accept Apple’s payment system.

Launched in October, Apple Pay has an estimated 12 million-plus users — although nearly half tell researchers they’ve only used Apple Pay once, and many have encountered some difficulties finding places where it is accepted.

Growing pains aside, the adoption rate is impressive in the United States, where cardless payments systems have thus far failed to catch on at the same rate they have in parts of Asia and in other countries.

Google, which pushed into the space first, with limited success, with Google Wallet, reportedly is working on a new response to Apple’s success called Android Pay.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.


Image of Best Buy store in Mountain View, California, via iStock.