The US is far behind other countries in mobile payment systems. What Apple introduced as revolutionary last week, Japan, Korea, Shanghai, Taiwan, and Kenya have been implementing for years. While the average US consumer might not care, department stores have a vested interest in the death of the checkout line. An Economist study found that 30% of shoppers will not enter a store if they see a line at a register. And even before Apple unveiled its payments system, brands have been taking steps to make alternative payments available to consumers. Sixty-six percent of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Department Stores use tap-and-go credit cards while PayPal is the mobile wallet leader:
A few brands have made large investments in mobile wallets, despite the low adoption rates. (Google Wallet has half the users of PayPal and just 11% of department stores accept it.) El Corte Inglés has installed more than 5,200 contactless POS terminals and plans to make 60% of all its terminals contactless by the end of 2014.
Mobile app payments, however, could also be an alternative to the traditional cash register, as there was a spike in their usage in 2014. The process is twice as fast as the average credit card transaction, and Nordstrom saw a 15% increase in payment processing across its stores once it introduced contactless app payments.