The 21st global market to officially welcome Apple Pay is a big one, but unlike most of the others, Brazil has actually thrown its weight behind both Samsung and Google’s digital wallet solutions before supporting the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch-compatible mobile payment platform.

Only one of the many banks in South America’s largest country and the world’s eight-largest economy is accepting Apple Pay transactions at launch, although Itaú Unibanco Holding is the nation’s top private lender. Besides, the exclusivity period will run for 90 days, after which Cupertino is also expected to spread the love to customers of other local financial institutions.

For the time being, the money app’s regional website highlights Itaú Unibanco’s roughly 1.2 million card holders (using either VISA or Mastercard) can pay for stuff with their iOS handsets and “iWatches” at “thousands” of eligible locations, including Fast Shops, General Prime Burger restaurants, Starbucks coffee shops, and Track & Field sporting goods stores.

Plenty of local apps and websites also support Apple Pay right off the bat, including Hotel Urbano,, Mobly, Nextel, and Zazcar. Overall, this feels like a promising albeit very late start to Apple’s mobile payment operations in Brazil, but it remains to be seen just how fast the service can expand nationwide. The company may need to step up its global expansion efforts as well, given Samsung’s impressive recent progress on that front.

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