This article originally appeared on ABACUS China is addicted to QR codes: The weird black-and-white square powers the country’s mobile payments, allowing people to buy everything from groceries to train tickets . It’s one of the main reasons why Apple Pay -- which uses NFC instead -- has been struggling to catch on in the country. But Apple is forging ahead anyway -- introducing its payment services to commuters on trains, buses and ferries in Beijing and Shanghai. 苹果中国区官网更新了 Apple Pay 公交卡的相关说明，连 Apple Pay 都不需要打开，直接放到读卡机就可以，明天要去试试看！[二哈] https://t.co/4p6mCuXeaf pic.twitter.com/VJtktlg9V8 — 李大锤 (@Lizexi1992) March 29, 2018 Apple Pay landed in China in 2016, but today more than 90% of consumers paying with their smartphones still use either Alibaba or Tencent’s QR-based services . Fewer than 3% use Apple Pay or other apps. (Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.) Cost is a major barrier: NFC requires special and often expensive hardware for shops, and a high-end smartphone for consumers. But QR codes are much simpler. All a consumer needs is a phone with a camera. And all a shop needs is the code itself! But phone makers haven’t given up on NFC -- a far more secure technology than QR codes . Xiaomi, for example, has supported NFC payment on public transport since 2016. Today, it’s available not only in Beijing and Shanghai , but also Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chongqing, and eight other regions across the country. CEO Lei Jun even touted the function on its latest flagship phone during an event last week . Similar features are also available on handsets from Samsung, Huawei and a few other Chinese brands. Despite NFC payment’s growth, Apple is facing a few issues. On social media this week, a number of people are complaining about what looks like a common problem with Apple Pay on transit: Being charged the wrong fare. “I used Apple Pay for four days, and was overcharged on two days…Are you assuming all iPhone users are rich?” said one Weibo user . Another wrote , “My Apple Pay experience on the bus has been awful...I’ve gone back to using my physical transport card.” Apple Pay is currently accepted on public transit in five countries -- including Japan, the UK, and parts of Russia and the US. For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters , subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast , and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report . Also roam China Tech City , an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus .