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Apple Pay service arrives in Russia

Nearly a month after Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller spoke of plans to expand its mobile payment service further across Europe and Asia, Apple Pay finally arrives in Russia.

Remember Apple’s promise of taking Apple Pay to Russia amidst the hype of iPhone and Apple Watch product announcements last month? Well yesterday, the tech giant finally followed through with the launch of Apple Pay in Russia. The move continues the international expansion of its mobile payment service.

The company has partnered with Mastercard and Sberbank for the initial rollout and hasn’t yet announced any plans for expanding the service to other banks or credit providers.

Opportune timing for Russia
Apple’s decision to launch Apple Pay in Russia comes at a time when the country’s mobile payments market grew by almost 40% in 2015, to €1bn according to Payments.com. But data from AC&M Consulting points to it still being just a small portion of the €9.3bn e-commerce market last year.

Only 20% of smartphones connected to Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) used NFC technology at the end of 2015, according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti. However, an MTS representative, Dmitry Solodovnikov, predicts that percentage to increase by over 30% next year, with contactless transactions amounting to €688mn.

And Russia makes 10
The expansion now makes Apple Pay available in 10 countries since launching in 2014, including the US, UK, China, Australia, and Canada. Samsung's competing service, Samsung Pay, launched in Russia last month, and is available in nine countries. Google's Android Pay, which launched in the US in 2015, has expanded to the UK, Australia, and Singapore, and will soon be available on the mobile web, according to a recent blog post.

Apple Pay began rolling out across the web with the release of iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. The tech giant also has its eye on a greater push to bring Apple Pay into more Asian countries according to Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller. Specifically, Apple previously reported an anticipated Japan debut of Apple Pay in October with support for most Japanese credit and prepaid card brands, including those offered by AEON, Credit Saison, JCB, Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos, Orient Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Card, Toyota Finance, UC Cards and View Card.

Tags: payments, Apple Pay, Russia

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