In November 2016, JP Morgan Chase launched a new digital wallet, called Chase Pay. I know what you’re thinking – there’s already Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal… do we really need another digital wallet? Chase thinks so.
And if your customers start paying with digital wallets more often, Chase Pay could be a cost-saving option.
- What is Chase Pay?
- When did Chase Pay officially launch?
- What’s different about Chase Pay for consumers?
- Do all credit cards work with Chase Pay?
- What’s different about Chase Pay for businesses?
- How will Chase Pay cost less for businesses than other digital wallets?
- How can I accept Chase Pay at my store?
What is Chase Pay?
Chase Pay is a method of payment called a digital wallet. Offered by JPMorgan Chase, it lets customers use their smartphone to pay for purchases in a store instead of presenting a physical credit or debit card. Digital wallets can also be used to store information for quicker online purchases.
Chase Pay also partnered with LevelUp to offer order-ahead capability. Users can pay for food at the time they order it through the Chase Pay app. At the end of 2016, the functionality is only available in limited locations. However, Chase plans to roll it out nationwide in 2017 and beyond.
When did Chase Pay officially launch?
After a few delays, Chase Pay officially launched on late November, 2016. A limited number of businesses online, including 1-800-flowers, currently list Chase Pay as a payment option at checkout. Chase Pay has also lined up acceptance at Shell gas stations.
Chase has been aggressively courting businesses to accept the wallet. The company announced a partnership with coffee giant Starbucks. Approximately 7,500 Starbucks locations are expected to accept Chase Pay by the end of 2016. Chase Pay can also be utilized within the popular Starbucks app. Additionally, Chase Pay secured a deal with Phillips 66 to accept the mobile wallet at its gas stations and convenience stores, and with electronics chain Best Buy. In early November of 2016, Walmart announced that it would begin accepting Chase Pay in its stores.
What’s different about Chase Pay for consumers?
There are several key differences between Chase Pay and other digital wallets. The biggest difference is that Chase Pay is not a tap-to-pay wallet. With Apple Pay, Android Pay, and most other digital wallets, customers “tap” their phone to the payment terminal.
With Chase Pay, the app will present a QR code that the cashier scans to complete the transaction. On the one hand, customers may find it inconvenient to hand their phone to cashiers to scan. On the other hand, it could prove an easy way to pay at stores that don’t have contactless payment terminals set up to accept digital wallets.
Additionally, some customers may already be familiar with scanning their phone for transactions because of Starbucks’ barcode scanning option and Groupon redemption scanning. Pulling up a QR code on a phone might not be an inconvenience, especially to customers annoyed with longer authorizations from chip credit cards and looking for alternatives.
Another payment option allows customers to take a photo of a bill in order to pay. Chase Pay anticipates customers using this option when paying in restaurants.
Chase Pay will work on both Android and Apple smartphones, which is convenient for customers who don’t want to be forced to a particular device to use a digital wallet. Currently, some major digital wallets are restricted to one platform or the other. Apple Pay only works on Apple devices, while Samsung Pay and Android Pay only work on Android devices. Google Wallet and PayPal also work on both Android and Apple devices, however Google Wallet is undergoing a lot of shifts in capabilities, and PayPal is not yet readily accepted at most stores or restaurants. PayPal may have trouble overcoming its reputation as an online digital wallet and payment method.
Do all credit cards work with Chase Pay?
No. Only Chase credit and debit cards can be used with Chase Pay. According to Chase, there are currently 94 million Chase cards in the United States, and Chase leads the industry in total card payment volume with over $700 billion in sales each year.
What’s different about Chase Pay for businesses?
The biggest difference between Chase Pay and other digital wallets is how Chase Pay charges. While full pricing details are not yet available, Chase has stated that it will offer a fixed rate and that businesses will not have to pay usual processing fees. We’ll come back to this a little later.
Chase Pay is also the only digital wallet that has secured a deal with the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a group of retailers. MCX businesses currently don’t accept rival wallets such as Apple Pay, which could potentially increase Chase Pay’s usage. However, those businesses will be free to choose to accept Apple Pay when the MXC exclusivity expires.
The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is a business-owned mobile commerce network made up of some of the largest retailers in the United States. Founded in 2012, it includes businesses like Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Banana Republic, Olive Garden, Dunkin’ Donuts, Best Buy, Publix, Rite Aid, CVS, Michaels, and more. MCX has been testing and developing its own digital wallet, called CurrentC, and most of the MCX retailers have so far resisted accepting Apple Pay and other digital wallets due to an exclusivity agreement regarding CurrentC. It’s expected that Chase Pay will be accepted anywhere that CurrentC is accepted.
As stated previously, CurrentC is MCX’s digital wallet. Like Chase Pay, it requires scanning QR codes to pay. However, CurrentC can only be used for paying from a checking account or gift card. It does not support bank-issued cards like MasterCard, Visa, or Discover.
Why would this MCX group partner with Chase Pay but not Apple Pay or Google Wallet?
Primarily, money. Chase Pay has promised MCX that it will cost businesses less to accept Chase Pay than other digital wallets. Additionally, Chase Pay is aggressively touting improved security, which is important to retailers.
How will Chase Pay cost less for businesses than other digital wallets?
Exactly how Chase Pay will cost less for businesses is a little complicated. Basically, Chase Pay eliminates interchange and assessments in favor of charging simplified rates.
In the official Chase Pay press release, Chase states that they will offer fixed pricing and no merchant processing fees or network fees. The only way that Chase Pay can offer no processing fees is if they aren’t going through the usual processing channels. However, Chase Pay can actually do that, due to an existing agreement with Visa.
Usually, a credit or debit card with a particular brand’s logo has to be processed on that brand’s network. So Visa-branded cards have to be processed on Visa’s network, MasterCard-branded cards have to be processed on MasterCard’s network, etc.
Chase and Visa
In 2013, JPMorgan Chase and Visa struck a deal in which Chase would pay Visa to license their own version of Visa’s transaction processing network, calling it ChaseNet. With ChaseNet, Visa-branded Chase credit and debit cards wouldn’t be processed on the Visa network, but on a Chase network. This allows JPMorgan Chase to determine the rates for transaction processing, promising one rate for Chase Visa credit cards, and one rate for Chase Visa debit cards. There are no additional rates and transactions are not broken down into further categories like they are in traditional interchange fee structures. By processing through their ‘own’ network instead of through Visa’s network, JPMorgan Chase (and Chase Pay) can choose not to charge according to Visa’s interchange and assessments table and charge according to their own rules.
Chase and Mastercard
However, it’s important to note that Chase has in the past also issued MasterCard-branded Chase cards. MasterCard-branded Chase cards would need to be processed on the MasterCard network, and couldn’t go through ChaseNet. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chase agreed to issue more Visa cards and move away from MasterCard as part of the 2013 deal with Visa. If Chase decides to issue Visa cards exclusively, then all Chase cards could be processed through ChaseNet and not be subject to traditional interchange and assessments. It’s important to note that processing a Chase card does not automatically mean you won’t be paying interchange and assessments. It just means that as of now, Chase Pay is stating that there will be no interchange and assessment charges when processing a Chase Visa card through Chase Pay.
How can I accept Chase Pay at my store?
Details on accepting Chase Pay are a little sparse right now. It’s likely that you’ll be able to accept Chase Pay if you accept MCX’s CurrentC. As CurrentC is also still in a test phase, it isn’t available to the general public at this time. It may be possible to accept Chase Pay even if you don’t accept CurrentC, but details on that are not yet available. Chase stated in their press release that they’re working with over a dozen technology vendors to make Chase Pay available to businesses that aren’t currently Chase clients.
Update: June 1, 2016 – CurrentC has been shelved, with little further information offered.