Who really wins with Apple Pay? Google Wallet.


We knew it was coming. Apple has an amazing way of glorifying new features every time they announce a new device. They even seem to take credit for discovering or inventing new features and technologies. In this case, Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless payments.

The technology behind tap to pay payments is not new. NFC is not new. Apple did not invent it. It goes back as far as 1983. But when Apple announced Apple Pay it was as though they did in fact invent the process of making a payment with your smartphone with just a tap to a terminal. NFC is not widely used in the US, Even though Google Wallet has been available on select Android smartphones since 2011 and Soft Card (formerly ISIS Wallet) is pre-installed in Android smartphones purchased from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, NFC payments has not taken off. Payment terminals at many major retailers already support NFC payments. I have personally used Google Wallet on my Android smartphones at Macy’s, Foot Locker, American Eagle, CVS/pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreens, McDonalds, and many more over the past 3 years.

Apple is not the industry leader when it comes to innovation. The strong brand and the brand enthusiasts (often referred to as “fanboys” “iSheep” or “Sheeple”) would lead many to believe Apple is the most innovative of all tech giants. The influence Apple has is great. When they add a feature, it is adapted quickly and widely. Apple Pay is even going to be available on the new Apple Watch.

While Android holds a 51.5% share of the US smartphone market, Apple Pay will still be adopted at a higher rate than Google Wallet has since 2011, due to their marketing and influence. Google Wallet tap to pay is not available on all Android devices. Apple Pay is not available on any iPhone models prior to the upcoming iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

But retailers will adapt to Apple. Consumers will too. Creating more places to use not only Google Wallet, but other NFC based payments as well. Security concerns aside, I welcome this movement!

Craig has been an Android user since the G1, perhaps that is why he tends to favor the HTC flavor when it comes to his Android devices. With 7+ years of mobile phone retail management experience, Craig is in touch with both the techie and the everyday consumer. Follow him on Twitter: @CraigP17

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