Can Revamped Google Wallet Dethrone Apple Pay?

by Sohini Bagchi    Feb 24, 2015

mobile pay

Google and Apple have always been the biggest rivals in the industry whether they openly acknowledge it or not. Right from the days of mobile operating system where the fight started with Android vs. iOS  to wearables and driverless cars the tech giants are always set to oust one another. The latest in this space is payment services, where Google seems to be competing with Apple Pay.

Google has recently signed a deal with the biggest wireless carriers in the US - AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon - to get the Google Wallet payments app pre-installed on their phones. At the same time, Google is acquiring the technology behind Softcard, the mobile payments app backed by the same carriers. Experts believe the app could indeed be a formidable competitor to Apple’s offering. Google announced that its Wallet will run on the KitKat version of Android and also requires phones to have NFC (near-field communication) technology, just like Apple Pay.

The Samsung row

While Google’s Wallet was always available for Android partners, it never really took off owing to several reasons. As Gigaom puts it, “It’s been an inconsistent effort that has faced several roadblocks: Lack of worldwide support, new terminals needed and carrier pushback along with competing carrier payment solutions.” Google also never paid much attention to this service.

However, last week, Samsung’s purchase of LoopPay, which gives it a mobile payment platform of its own, have irked the relationship further between Google and one of its key partners. While Apple Pay already ignited fire, with Samsung’s new announcement, it is obvious that Google became more aggressive with its Google Wallet effort. 

A bite from Apple

Meanwhile, Apple Pay is continuing to grow in popularity, following its launch in the US last October.At the time of its launch, Apple Pay was available in stores such as Disney, McDonalds and Subway, and went on for some massive expansion.

According to official sources, Apple Pay is now used in nearly 50 global retail stores in the US. It is already confirmed that many more will join the bandwagon later in the year. Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed in January that the service now accounts for two out of every three dollars spent using contactless payments. Apple Pay is also slated to be released in Canada and several other parts of the world in the next 6 months.

Currently, retailers have to install special NFC sensors in order to support Apple Pay, but that hasn’t prevented the service from taking off, believe experts.

Conclusion

Experts believe in a way the revamped Google Wallet is a gain for Google. Its high quality mobile payments technology could convince at least some Android phone owners from defecting to Apple. It also could give Google data on offline transactions, which still comprise the vast majority of all commerce and could be used to target advertising to consumers even more effectively.

And Keeping the rivalries aside for a while, one can say these are exciting times in the payment industry, especially when e-commerce market it set to boom. Apple Pay, Samsung LooPay and the revamped Google wallet also leave more options in the industry and for customers and boost the mobile payments industry on the whole in the coming years.