Mobile wallets on the move. Today’s race: Apple Pay®, Samsung Pay® and Android Pay™
Three "pays", best known for their ability to pay by a quick tap or wave of a smartphone at a POS, are among the many mobile wallet offerings in the fast lane vying for leadership position in the marketplace: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google’s Android Pay.
If you own or operate a small-to-medium-sized business, and since they all seem to be somewhat similar, which should you offer to your customers? How do they compare? Is one better equipped to take the lead now? In the future?
First, before we discuss their differences, let’s stop to talk about what these three mobile wallets have in common. They are all are mobile-device-driven. Meaning, each service is only available on a particular type of hardware––Apple iPhone®, iPad® and new Macbook Pro® Samsung Galaxy phones; and all Android devices (which includes Samsung Galaxy phones and any phones that can run the Android operating system), respectively.
On the other hand, PayPal, Master Card, Visa, as well as many do-it-yourself retailers, have developed their own wallet apps that can be installed on just about any up-to-date smartphone. They can soup up, so to speak, your smartphone with a different (or additional) wallet.
Confused yet? Today, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on what matters most to your business. We’re only going to focus on the three mobile-device specific wallets.
The Racetrack Line Up:
Apple Pay vs. Android Pay vs. Samsung Pay
Lap 1: Starting Positions
Apple introduced Apple Pay in the fall of 2014. Samsung followed in the summer of 2015, and Google introduced Android Pay, whose base was found in Google Wallet, in fall of 2015. Research from Boston Retail Partners tags Apple as the early leader among retailers.
Apple devices, too, are loved by devotees, who are just that: devoted. Apple iPhones® have become a status symbol over other brands, even though in 2016 Samsung Galaxy had a slightly larger share of the smartphone market. However, in the fall of 2016, well reported issues with Galaxy Note 7 forced Samsung to focus its energies elsewhere.
At this point in 2017, the highest global share of smartphones by far are running the Android operating system (in the area of 80%), which gives Android Pay the ability to overtake competitors by sheer numbers alone.
Lap 2: Ease of Use
All three types of device-driven wallets have simplicity built in. That’s their essential benefit. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay all allow for easy bank verification, most banks accept them, most card networks support them (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.), and all it takes is a wave or a tap near a POS credit card terminal and a fingerprint ID to authorize them.
Depending on the POS device or if a particular Android phone doesn’t have fingerprint ID, a customer may still need to type in a PIN or add a signature, but the overall point of them is to tap and go. Customers and merchants alike should be able to process a payment easier than ever. And a lot faster, which is big benefit to all concerned.
Lap 3: Ubiquitousness
It’s a big word and an important word when it comes to mobile payments. Where can you use Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay? Here’s where the difference comes in, and what might determine who takes the lead around the corner.
You see, all three mobile wallets rely on near field communication (NFC) to securely transfer data between a mobile device and a POS. NFC uses a radio frequency that transmits a secure signal from one device to the other. Merchants who have already updated their POS to an EMV-enabled device most likely also have the ability to accept these NFC contactless transmissions from Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.
However, and this is a big point of difference, Samsung Pay currently has another ability that could turbocharge it––for now: Samsung Pay also works with older magnetic stripe card readers (aka magnetic secure transmission, MST). So, it can process a contactless payment just about anywhere a customer is buying with credit, even if a merchant has not updated to a new POS device.
Here’s another "however." Since the rollout of new EMV chip card technology, standards and the October 2015 liability shifts that came with them, more small-to-medium-sized businesses will continue to transition to EMV-enabled POS devices. Which means more merchants will be able to accept all three mobile wallets with ease in the coming months and years.
Lap 4: Security
All three of these device-driven mobile wallets are designed to accept more secure credit card payments. All use multi-layered security, including NFC secured transmission and/or MST, plus fingerprint ID authorization––although Android phones not equipped with fingerprint ID will need to verify with a PIN and/or signature.
All three use encryption and tokenization to guard against credit card data theft. However, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay have security built-in to the mobile devices themselves––Apple Pay touts its Secure Element (SE) chip and Samsung integrates its KNOX security software––while tokenization on Google’s Android Pay occurs within the cloud.
Lap 5: Rewards
Currently, hundreds of retailer rewards cards, from Walgreens to Panera Bread, can be used with all three in-device mobile wallet brands. Every time you purchase, you continue to earn your retailer rewards.
Samsung Pay revs up in the rewards category, though. It offers its own loyalty program. Each time you purchase with Samsung Pay, your earn Samsung Rewards.
In time, as digital wallets become more popular, consumers will have more choices. As we mentioned earlier, in addition to these three in-device mobile wallet options, there are others, including PayPal, that can be added to consumer devices as apps on a variety of mobile devices. As more digital wallets get into the race, the ones that offer the most (or best) loyalty rewards may end up the most popular.
Lap 6: Mobile Device Options
Of the three device-driven mobile wallets, which devices do they work on? Let’s just say, the most recent. Android Pay is available on most newer Android smartphones, including newer Samsung Galaxy phones. Samsung Pay is also available on the latest Galaxy smartphones and the Samsung Gear 3 Watch.
But take note all of you Apple devotees: Apple Pay is available on the newer models of iPhone and Apple Watch® and iPad®, as well as on the new Macbook Pro®, giving you even more ways to use this fast and easy payment system, not just in-store, but also online.
Lap 7: The Finish Line
In the last lap, what does a merchant need to know?
In-store: Samsung Pay will work with an older magnetic stripe POS devices, so you can accept this type of mobile wallet without changing your equipment or payments processor. All three brands work with NFC, which is available on most EMV-enabled POS devices, so if you’ve recently updated your equipment, you can likely accept payments from all three types of wallets.
Online: Apple Pay and Android Pay can be used both in-app and while browsing the web on a mobile device, Samsung Pay cannot. In addition, Apple Pay is now on the new Macbook Pro, making all online purchases simple. So, e-commerce merchants take note: for now, you will not be able to accept Samsung Pay.
|Apple Pay||Android Pay||Samsung Pay|
Because this technology is still fairly new, the race is not over yet. Ultimately, as more consumers adopt mobile payments, merchants who can cater to more mobile wallet options will make the most sales and will operate more efficiently. Consumers will also win-out with the added convenience and fast checkouts these wallets offer.
In the end, it may come down to smartphone loyalty. If your customer is iPhone loyal, they’ll likely use Apple Pay, and so on with the other brands.
Here’s one for sure, only time will tell which mobile wallet, if any, will take the proverbial victory lap. In the meantime, we suggest one thing: hedge your bets by being able to accept all of them.