target apple pay mobile payments

The demise of cash and plastic cards came further into view on Tuesday, as Apple announced that Target Corp. stores — every single one in the U.S. — will support the Apple Pay mobile payments system.

Target, which already accepts Apple Pay online and at select locations, will extend the payment method to brick-and-mortar shoppers across its 1,850 physical stores. The system allows tap-to-buy payments from smartphones and smartwatches.

In the retail giant’s own blog post, chief information officer Mike McNamara described the effort in terms of convenience: “Offering guests more ways to conveniently and quickly pay is just another way we’re making it easier than ever to shop Target,” he said.

Whether Apple Pay will do for physical retail what it did for e-commerce remains to be seen. But there’s reason to be optimistic. The ubiquity comes at a time when consumers for, say, wearables have been demanding mobile payment features, among others.

Either way, it’s a notable move, considering the big-box store’s early reluctance to embrace the tech sector’s payment push. In fact, in 2012, when the big tech companies were readying their solutions, Target struck an alliance with rivals Best Buy and Walmart on the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX. The approach was designed for and driven by merchants interested in separate and branded solutions. MCX is now a J.P. Morgan Chase property.

If Target had any reluctance to team with Silicon Valley, it seems to be gone now. In addition to Apple Pay, the retailer plans to deploy universal support for Google Pay and Samsung Pay as well.

Apple Pay also gets a boost from expanding support across national retailers — particularly in the food sectors. According to its official blog, Target, Taco Bell, Hy-Vee supermarkets, Speedway convenience stores and Jack in the Box are all on the bandwagon. With the deals, the post stated, “74 of the top 100 U.S. merchants now accept Apple Pay.”

Or will soon. Target and others plan to roll out support over the coming weeks.