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Apple Pay outpaces Afterpay in digital payments race

Technology

High awareness of buy-now-pay-later services fails to translate into user growth.

By Philip King 11 minute read

Apple Pay has overtaken Afterpay to become the third-most widely used digital payment service after Paypal and BPAY, according to the latest Roy Morgan data.

Its Digital Payments Report showed Apple Pay had grown strongly in Australia over the past three years while Afterpay and the two market leaders had stalled.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said Apple Pay had outpaced other digital payment services.

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“The usage of Apple Pay has grown far more rapidly and consistently over the last five years than any other digital payment service – from only 4 per cent of Australians in 2018, doubling to 8 per cent by 2020 and more than doubling again to 17.7 per cent of Australians in December 2023,” she said.

“This figure represents around 4 million Australians and means Apple Pay, which launched in Australia less than a decade ago in late 2015, is clearly Australia’s third most widely used digital payment service behind long-time market leaders PayPal and BPAY.”

Afterpay launched a year ahead of Apple Pay, but its user numbers peaked at almost 16 per cent of Australians in June 2023 and now averaged 15.2 per cent.

PayPal and BPAY, which were both used by over 40 per cent of Australians, had also experienced much slower growth.

“The usage of Afterpay grew strongly during the pandemic from 9.5 per cent of Australians in March 2020 to a high of 15.9 per cent of Australians in June 2023,” Ms Levine said.

“The latest figures show Afterpay is now used by 15.2 per cent of Australians – around 3.4 million people.”

She said overall awareness of buy-now-pay-later services such as Afterpay, Zip and Klarna was high but only 4.7 million people (21 per cent of the population) used one in 2023.

“The usage of ‘buy-now-pay-later’ services still trails well behind more traditional digital payment services such as online payment platforms PayPal, Visa Checkout and Masterpass.

“Over 10 million Australians (45.6 per cent) used an online payment platform in the year to December 2023.”

Roy Morgan’s survey of payment services takes in PayPal, BPAY, Afterpay, Humm, Apple Pay, Zip, Google Pay, Post Billpay, Visa Checkout, Masterpass, Western Union and others, including several of the most popular digital coins.

Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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