Apple Pay is making headway in the digital payments market and looks set to overtake Afterpay in the next few months.

Afterpay is used by over 3.3 million Australians, just ahead of Apple Pay, with just over 3.2 million people, according to a new Roy Morgan Digital Payments Report.

Roy Morgan CEO, Michele Levine said the rapid growth of Apple Pay and Afterpay is increasing challenges to traditional systems such as PayPal and BPAY.

“The two newer digital payment services are clearly the standouts amongst newer players. The digital payment services market is a competitive one as we have seen recently with both Latitude Pay and Openpay exiting Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) market in recent months as interest rates increased and competition in intensified,” she said.

Overall awareness of BNPL services such as Afterpay, Zip and Klarna is high with 18 million Australians now aware of them, however only 4.3 million Australians used a BNPL service in the year to February 2023, Levine said.

Use of BNPL still trails behind more traditional online payment platforms such as PayPal, Visa Checkout and Masterpass.

“A large factor in the huge difference in the usage of the three services can be put down to time in the market. Both PayPal and BPAY launched in the late 1990s, while Afterpay, Apple Pay and other newer rivals have been in the market for under a decade,” she said.