- Apple Pay is the first mobile payment service to launch in France, with retailers Carrefour (supermarkets), Fnac (electronics) and Total (fuel) among the businesses accepting contactless option from Apple devices.
- Banks supporting Apple Pay's entry to France include Caisse d’Epargne, Banque Populaire and Carrefour Banque, while an upcoming mobile-only bank from telecom operator Orange also is expected to support Apple Pay.
- Apple Pay has been in the U.K. for about a year and launched in Switzerland in June, while competitors Android Pay and Samsung Pay are so far available in the U.K. and Spain, respectively.
In the U.S., Apple recently announced an expansion of Apple Pay from in-store contactless payments and onto the e-commerce checkout pages of several major retailers, putting it in the thick of a crowded market for alternative payment options.
In France, it doesn't appear to being going that far with retailers for now, starting with the in-store payments presence. However, being the first to expand mobile contactless payments into the virgin territory at least puts Apple ahead of other mobile payments players there. It will have the opportunity to build up market share before the other "Pays" arrive in France.
While the U.S. market remains Apple's core (see what we did there?), it has successfully expanded the iPhone around the globe, and now it's looking to do the same with Apple Pay. But it will run into new challenges along the way.
For example, extending Apple Pay into Europe at large means that in some cases Apple will land in countries where usage of contactless payments are already much further advanced than in the U.S. While contactless payment cards never took off domestically, around one in 10 card transactions in the U.K. alone involve contactless payment options. Time will tell if some of those card users are ready to start making contactless payments from their iPhones.