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.
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 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.