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Blackhawk Network Connects Merchants to Apple Pay

Blackhawk Network said Dec. 5 that it will “integrate gift cards, e-gifts, loyalty and rewards programs into Apple Pay,” a move that could make the mobile wallet more attractive to consumers.

Blackhawk said it would incorporate those value-added services on behalf of merchant clients. “Through our partnership with Apple Pay, consumers will now be able to pay using prepaid or gift cards loaded into their Apple Wallet right on their iPhone or Apple Watch, while simultaneously earning rewards and loyalty points at participating merchants through just a touch of their device,” said Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk Network.

The Blackhawk announcement comes amid significant growth for Apple Pay: Its transaction volume increased 500 percent in the company’s fiscal fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter in 2015. In fact, September brought more mobile transactions via Apple Pay than the whole of 2016, the company said. And now Apple Pay is set for growth in Australia, given that the country’s competition regulator recently denied a request by big local banks to collectively negotiate over the introduction of Apple Pay there.

Blackhawk has positioned itself to be a larger part of the growing trend of mobile commerce. Citing a Mercator survey, Blackhawk said that 53 percent of smartphone owners paid by mobile phone at checkout within the past year.

“The ability for a consumer to store all their loyalty programs in their mobile wallet along with any gift cards and checkout in one simple tap may be the impetus that digital wallets need,” said David Jones, general manager of global digital and e-commerce at Blackhawk Network. “We believe that the ease of our Apple Pay solution could also advance enrollment and use of loyalty programs for brands and merchants.”

Blackhawk announced in 2015 it would integrate with Samsung Pay, enabling cardholders to manage and spend their gift cards through the mobile wallet.

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