Apple Pay knocks Afterpay off top payments platforms list

Apple Pay Afterpay payments faciliator

Apple Pay has nearly doubled its share of Australian users over the last three years, according to new data from pollster Roy Morgan, becoming the third most widely used digital payments service in the country.

As of December 2023, the bigtech firm has captured a 17.7 per cent share of the Australian payments market – representing a 26 per cent increase in usage since December 2022, according to figures from Roy Morgan’s latest Digital Payments Report.

The payments service, accessible via Apple devices including its smartphones, smartwatches, and laptops, currently counts just under four million Australian users.

Since 2020, Apple Pay has nearly doubled its Australian user base, up from a 9 per cent market share in December 2020 to a 17.7 per cent share in December 2023. In the last year alone, the local user base has increased by 3.7 percentage points.

Last March, Apple Pay overtook rival payments facilitator and buy now, pay later (BNPL) specialist Afterpay as the third most widely used digital payments platform in Australia, with the latter capturing a 15.2 per cent market share, representing around 3.4 million users.

In the 18 months since June 2022, Afterpay’s local payments market share has effectively plateaued at between 15-16 per cent, the data showed.

Afterpay launched in the Australian marketplace in late 2014, just over a year before Apple Pay entered the Australian market late in 2015.

As the pollster noted, Afterpay’s usage rates grew strongly during the pandemic, jumping from 9.5 per cent of Australians in March 2020 to a high of 15.9 per cent of Australians in June 2023, before flattening out.

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

Apple Pay now sits third behind long-established and long-time market leaders PayPal and BPAY, which collectively capture around 40 per cent of the Australian payments market. However, as noted by Roy Morgan, neither of these platforms has experienced significant growth in recent years.

“The usage of Apple Pay has grown far more rapidly and consistently over the last five years than any other digital payment service,” Roy Morgan said.

Despite Afterpay’s drop from the top three, the payments service remains among the “standouts” of the newer payments services, the pollster added, easily sitting as Australia’s fourth most widely used digital payment service and BNPL.

Roy Morgan noted that overall awareness of BNPL services, including Afterpay, Zip and Klarna, is high amongst Australians, with the sector recognised as the “most well-known type of digital payment service”.

Around 86 per cent of Australians, representing 18.9 million individuals, state that they are aware of these services.

However, the data showed that despite this awareness, only 4.7 million Australians (21.2 per cent) have used a BNPL service in the year to December 2023, with usage still trailing well behind more traditional digital payment services such as ‘online payment platforms’ PayPal, Visa Checkout and Masterpass.

Among the payments services recorded in the Roy Morgan survey include PayPal, BPAY, Afterpay, Humm, Apple Pay, Zip, Google Pay, Post billpay, Visa Checkout, masterpass, Western Union, Kharna, fitbit pay, Garmin Pay, paywear, Samsung Pay, Commbank Tap & Pay, ANZ, NAB Pay, Bankwest Halo and Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Solana, Dogecoin, Ripple and Cardano.

According to Roy Morgan, its annual digital payments survey is derived from in-depth interviews with around 60,000 Australians each year.