That was quick: Apple Pay works with 90% of most-used bank cards

Even though in-store retail transactions for Apple Pay are only available for two handsets and rolled out in the past two months, Apple’s digital wallet is building momentum quickly. The company told the New York Times that its Apple Pay service now works with bank cards accounting for 90 percent of all transactions by purchase volume in the U.S. as dozens more payment cards now work with the service.

To be clear: That doesn’t mean [company]Apple[/company] Pay is used for 9 out of 10 purchases. Instead, Apple Pay supports the cards that account for 9 of every 10 dollars spent. However, it shows a building of support and potential use that earlier competing digital wallet products — [company]Google[/company] Wallet and Softcard come to mind — still don’t enjoy.

Photo by Tom Krazit/Gigaom

While Apple’s latest figure doesn’t provide metrics on overall purchase volume using Apple Pay, some retailer-specific data does, according to the Times.

Whole Foods processed 150,000 Apple Pay transactions in the first few weeks of availability, for example. And fifty percent of all tap-to-pay transactions at McDonald’s are now completed through Apple Pay. I’ve used Google Wallet with NFC and an American Express card with RFID chip for McDonald’s tap-to-pay since 2011, so the retailer is no stranger to this transaction type.

It’s not surprising to me that Apple Pay already accounts for half of these digital payments there because so few people realized that McDonald’s could have accepted them for so long. And that’s really where Apple Pay is differing from prior digital wallet solutions in the U.S., because let’s face it: Although there are some key implementation differences, Apple Pay uses NFC to replace the credit card swipe, just as other similar solutions do. It’s all about the marketing, both from Apple and the companies that accept Apple Pay.

Put another way and continuing the McDonald’s theme: My local fast-food joint didn’t need to add NFC terminals to its location because they’ve been there for years. Nobody knew they could use them. Now, an Apple Pay sign on the door, along with excellent new phones that have an NFC chip and supporting, is bringing in the digital dollars.