Mobile payment and digital wallet service Apple Pay launches in Israel next week. This will enable Israelis with an iPhone to use it as a digital wallet and pay at cashiers, something which Android smartphones have been able to do here for several months already.
In a few years' time this will likely become the standard way to pay. Digital wallets have been entering the Israeli market strongly in recent months, some of them using apps like Isracard's Anypay, Bank Hapoalim's Bit and Shufersal and Israel Discount Bank's Paybox. These latter two began as payment transfer apps but have recently added digital wallet capabilities. Other digital wallets in Israel include Bank Leumi and CAL's CallPay and First Int'l Bank's FibiPay. All these digital wallets only work using Android.
In the tradition of Apple, Apple Pay works as a closed shop. Only iPhone owners can use it because Apple's iOS is a closed operating system. Consequently, payment apps that aren't Apple Pay cannot be downloaded to iPhones and Android phones cannot download Apple Pay.
Because iPhone only has a 30% market share in Israel, most people have been able to use digital wallets for some months. However, according to Mastercard only 1% of payments in Israel are made in such a way compared with 20% in the EU.
Digital wallets have become popular following the maturation of EMV technology which allows 'smart transactions' via credit cards. Users must register with one of the digital wallets and enter their credit card details. It is advised to lock your smartphone with fingerprint identification or a code before loading the credit card details.
Google Pay, which works in the same way as Apple Pay, on Androids, is expected to launch in Israel before the end of the year.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 27, 2021
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