Thanks to Apple Pay, Google Wallet NFC use is growing fast. That’s a good thing

8 Comments

A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say, and that’s exactly what appears to be happening in the U.S. contact-less payments space. Now that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners are using Apple Pay for the first time, the use of Google Wallet is on the rise.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces Apple Pay. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

ArsTechnica has a source that indicates the number Google Wallet payment transactions are up 50 percent of late, while the number of new users has doubled in the month — which, not so coincidentally, is the same time period that [company]Apple[/company] Pay has been available.

Why the big boost in [company]Google[/company] Wallet users making payment with their NFC-enabled phones? Marketing of Apple Pay and general awareness of the feature in many Android phones are the likely culprits. It also helps that the exact same point-of-sale terminals are used for contact-less payments, something I noted in August when suggesting that now was a perfect time for Apple to enter the mobile payment market.

apple pay web site

Apple has clearly done a better job at marketing Apple Pay than Google has with its Wallet. Look at the iPhone page on Apple’s site and Apple Pay is highlighted front and center. Look to the Nexus 5 or new Nexus 6 sites and you don’t even see a mention of Google Wallet or NFC payments. That’s a shame, since the Galaxy Nexus from 2011 had the capability (and the Nexus S even before that), which I used then at the very same terminals Apple Pay users are visiting today. Other Android phone makers don’t do much to promote Wallet either.

It also helps that Apple has widespread support from card issuers, banks and merchants. Google tried to get the same but wasn’t as successful. And unlike Apple, it faced carriers that attempted to block the use of Google Wallet in order to give the operator-backed Softcard digital wallet service a chance.

Regardless of which payment system you prefer or which came first, this is ultimately all good news for consumers. By building momentum through Apple Pay, contact-less NFC payments in the U.S. are on the rise, which could lead to more businesses accepting them.

8 Comments

AJAY

Apple, Google, doesn’t matter. Where I live I’ve NEVER seen NFC payment as an option. Anywhere.

Gren

McDonalds and Subway take them. At Subway watch for the symbol to appear–it shows up on the screen when the merchant is actually ready to accept payment, which is kind of cool.

Eddie Whetzel

I got a Droid Mini last week which has Tap to Pay built-in. I’ve already used it with Google Wallet at Panera, McD’s, Shell (to buy snacks — hopefully buying gas won’t be far behind!), and Subway. Very cool tech that’s finally, maybe, perhaps, catching on.

mike

I think the way Google Wallet works they don’t need to be partnered with all those banks. I think Apple does because they are contracting to take a cut of revenue. For the purchase billing to work you only need to be in bed with Amex, Visa, Mastercard, etc…
So unless my understanding is wrong using Mastercard (for instance) through Google Wallet will work anywhere Mastercard is accepted – the underwriting bank is immaterial. Apple Pay, on the other hand, only works with specific underwriters – because Apple is charging them to use the service.
Or do I have this completely wrong?

Kevin C. Tofel

I think you’re pretty much spot-on, Mike. The merchants have to support Wallet too though; I used the service at many places in the past only to find out more recently it didn’t work, which was a bummer.

patrick

Kevin, not necessarily. The merchant doesn’t have to accept specifically wallet, they need to support NFC on their POD terminals. Basically all NFC enabled POD accept google wallet with any credit card. Apple pay works with any NFC terminal with only credit cards that have signed up with Apple pay. Google wallet is available on iPhone6. So why anyone would use apple pay over google wallet is beyond me.

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