May 7, 2015
When Apple Pay was launched in October last year, Apple had cited the official launch of the mobile payment system in collaboration with some merchant partners. The Apple Pay FAQ page also cited information on where Apple Pay can be used as highlighted by the following illustration.
As the above illustration shows, Home Depot was also among those merchants where Apple Pay had done its branding. But as highlighted in this FAQ snapshot, Apple had also cited that it’s not necessary that Apple Pay would work at all the point-of-sale terminals branded with Apple Pay symbol. And this was the case for Home Depot as well since it was unclear whether Home Depot does officially support Apple Pay or not.
While merchants like Rite Aid and CVS had turned off their NFC terminals, some of the Home Depot stores did have active NFC terminals where customers were able to use Apple Pay, as reported by Bloomberg. But Home Depot recently made some changes to its NFC payment protocol and as of now, customers are not able to use Apple Pay at the stores where they usually did, as reported by AppleInsider. Moreover, Home Depot also accepts other mobile payment systems such as PayPal mobile.
But recent reports have revealed that Apple Pay does have the intent to officially deploy its service to more than 2,000 Home Depot stores. Home Depot is apparently going through some policy changes for NFC payments and is evaluating new payment methods. It can certainly be expected that Apple Pay is amongst those. However, the retailer hasn’t specified any particular dates for the official launch of Apple Pay. It might be the case that some work has to be done at the back-end system of the stores since Apple Pay was unofficially working at a limited number of stores.
According to Home Depot’s POS terminal portfolio, it uses 55,950 terminals across 2,238 stores. The terminal hardware suppliers for Home Depot include NCR and IBM. A particular model of IBM terminal that Home Depot uses is IBM 4694, but it doesn’t support NFC technology. Considering NCR, Home Depot uses the NCR RealPOS suite of terminals, some of which do include NFC capabilities. It can be speculated that Home Depot will be able to effectively manage a large-scale adoption of Apple Pay as an NFC-enabled mobile payment system.
Apple Pay recently claimed Best Buy to be one of its new supporters. Best Buy has already updated its official app to support Apple Pay and the physical stores would also start accepting Apple Pay later this year. Best Buy was a big catch for Apple Pay since the merchant is an MCX member (the consortium of retailers formed to support CurrentC as the sole mobile payment system). Home Depot is indeed another major retailer to get on the Apple Pay bandwagon, and its revenue already surpasses that of some of the other retail giants in the US.