Apple Pay has today expanded its reach to Singapore, but only those with American Express cards will be able to use it on day one. The partnership is similar to that which allowed Apple to launch its mobile payments service in Australia and Canada.
Bringing a service like Apple Pay to new markets is incredibly difficult. Apple must reach deals with banks and other financial institutions before it can support their cards, and not all of them like to play ball. Apple has been getting around this with help from American Express.
Rather than working out deals with banks and credit card providers first — as it did for the U.S., the U.K., and China — Apple has launched Apple Pay in some markets with support for American Express only, and a view to add other providers later.
That’s exactly how Apple Pay has been brought to Singapore, but Apple says that it already has the support of Visa and some local banks — including DBS, UOB, and Standard Chartered — and will be adding support for those in the “coming months.”
Apple’s partnership with American Express will also help it bring Apple Pay to Spain and Hong Kong during 2016, but the company is yet to provide more specific launch dates for those countries. Like the Singapore launch, there’s a good chance they happen without warning.