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The following guest post is courtesy of Elise Blanford, Chief Analyst at regulated binary options broker anyoption.com.
The mobile payments industry is getting hot. With US mobile in-store payment volume forecasted to go from $37 billion in 2015 to $808 billion in 2019, there’s a reason why big tech companies are scrambling to gain a foothold in the industry.
Apple Pay was released a year ago, along with the iPhone 6 series, using tokenization to transact without ever passing the user’s credit card details to the merchant. Not only is it safer, but it’s more convenient. Google has already had its own mobile payment system for a while, called Google Wallet. Released in 2011, it was originally meant to take on PayPal. The idea is the same as Apple Pay, but one key difference — Google would pay the balance of the purchase then turn around and charge the user, so the transaction would be from Google, not the merchant. The process is also much slower with Google Wallet than Apple Pay.
Introducing Android Pay
Google announced on September 10 that it would begin to roll out its new-and-improved Android Pay. It all began when it announced it would be acquiring the intellectual property of carrier-backed competitor Softcard back in February. It works similarly to Apple Pay and will be available for use at NFC terminals.
Android Pay also has an advantage of Apple Pay now. It’s available on all Android devices that support tap-and-pay and run KitKat 4.4 or higher. While there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive list of what that covers, it’s sure to be a much longer list than the devices that support Apple Pay (iPhone 6, 6 Plus and an Apple Watch paired with an iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6 and 6 Plus) — not a lot of options there.
Android Pay will also offer a rewards program of sorts, supporting loyalty programs and giving special offers at the checkout counter. “For example, when you tap to buy a Coke at a vending machine,” says Pali Bhat, director of project management at Google, “your MyCokeRewards will be automatically applied. With Android Pay the contactless terminal not only receives your payment info, but also your loyalty programs and offers.”
While Apple is working on something similar, it’s not yet available.
Android Pay is a huge step for Google to compete in a budding industry. While the merchant list for NFC-supported payments is somewhat limited, it will likely continue to grow over time. With Samsung Pay launching toward the end of September, there will be plenty of competition between the three major phone/operating system manufacturers.
The big advantage for Android Pay right now is availability. It will likely be available on more phones than Apple Pay, giving it a much wider range of usability. Expect Apple to find a way to compete with that over time, but for the time being, Android Pay is exactly what Google needs to establish a strong foot hold in the mobile payment market.
Elise’s original article can be found at anyoption.