JPMorgan Chase & Co has been one of Apple Pay’s most vocal supporters, but that won’t stop it from rolling out its own version of the ‘mobile wallet’, which allows customers to make in-store payments with their smartphones.

Announcing its new product, Chase Pay, on Monday at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, the largest bank in the U.S. could have a very handy trump card on its hands: a premier partnership with some of the biggest retailers in the U.S.

Chase Pay, touted as the “better payments experience for in-store, in-app and online purchases” is backed by Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which includes Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Shell. MCX retailers together represent over 100,000 retail locations and process more than US$1 trillion annually.

Compare this with Apple Pay, which has found it harder to convince retailers to accept their payments. According to Reuters, a June survey with the top 100 retailers in the U.S. found that two-thirds did not plan to accept Apple Pay this year.

In a report released August, the Sydney Morning Herald also noted that Australia’s largest banks and financial institutions were not ready to shell out the hefty interchange fees for Apple Pay.

Apple is said to earn 15¢ on every US$100 of transactions in the U.S. The company seems to be asking an equal interchange fee in Australia that will see Apple earn $2 billion a year.

That’s not to say that Apple’s online wallet hasn’t been a success. In the U.S, the payment method is already accepted at Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Toys-R-Us, Sephora, McDonalds, Nike and Best Buy, and available at kiosks, vending machines, and apps such as Airbnb, Kickstarter, Uber and Groupon.

Many of these establishments also accept Google’s Android Pay, which was rolled out just six weeks ago and already has millions of account users. Samsung Pay recently crossed one million users, two months after launching in Korea.

However Gordon Smith, CEO of Consumer & Community Banking at JPMorgan Chase, believes that Chase Pay will be able counter merchants’ high costs of accepting ‘smart payments’ by offering a lower, fixed transaction fee.

"As merchants give us more business, we will give them better pricing," Smith told Reuters, although he did not detail an exact figure.

Another key point of difference for Chase Pay is its move away from near field communication (NFC) technology to process payments, which draws attention to the fact that the bank doesn’t have its own exclusive line of smartphones.

NFC technology – in the form of chips embedded in phones, tablets and watches – allows customers to “wave” their devices at point-of-sale terminals to make a purchase. Apple currently doesn’t allow third-party developers to build on the iPhone’s NFC chip technology.

Instead, Chase Pay will utilise the gift card-scanning technology that many merchants already have, allowing customers to use the payment method wherever CurrentC, an app built by MCX, is accepted.

With Chase Pay, users must generate QR codes on their mobiles, which will be scanned at a cashier’s terminal to initiate and verify a purchase, redeem offers and gain reward points.

It remains to be seen whether consumers will be willing to take that extra step, but Smith believes the new product will improve the customer experience since Chase Pay will not be bound by brand, but work on almost all smartphones.

Its tokenisation technology will also ensure security in a digital environment frequently subjected to hacks.

“Featuring Chase Pay within the CurrentC app…gives us an opportunity to simplify payments…and enhance the customer experience through added services consumers expect from a mobile application,” said Mike Cook, Walmart SVP & Assistant Treasurer.

Although JPMorgan is late to the game, with the product to only become available from mid-2016, its existing relationship with consumers and merchants is expected to bring long-term gains for the company.

At present, one out of every two households in the U.S. is a Chase customer, which accounts for 94 million credit, debit and pre-paid car accounts. On average, Chase users complete 34 million transactions a day.

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